They say it comes in threes, but they never said it would all happen in the same week.

Our hearts were broken last Monday to hear about the unexpected death of our beloved J.R. Reitz, a local radio icon on FUN107 and WBSM. On the same day, our wonderful Gail LeBlanc, former general manager and longtime sales executive for both stations, passed away.

Over the weekend, I heard from former New Bedford resident Lynn Crowl, who shared the sad news that her loving dad, David "Cuzzin Dave" Williford, passed away on Friday in League City, Texas. He was 83. Three radio station deaths in one week!

Everyone loved "Cuzzin Dave." From his early days on WBSM, opening his show with a warm, southern accented "Howdy Neighbor" to his days entertaining the SouthCoast in his clubs, Dave Williford surely made his positive mark on the area and on the local political scene. Getting elected to the New Bedford City Council as a populist candidate, "Cuzzin Dave" showed there was a pragmatic side to his southern hee-haw entertainment side. If you were around for 1983's special mayoral election that featured 18 challengers, you saw candidate Dave Williford hang in there with some of the tried and true political names of that era, even though he lost.

His daughter is gathering some photos and memoirs so we can give him a proper tribute, but for the time being, know that "Cuzzin Dave" made our area a happier place because of who he was. May he rest peacefully in a place where there no longer is discomfort and struggle. I'll truly miss my wonderful friend.

Please feel free to share your memories of one of the SouthCoast's most animated legends under this story on the WBSM Facebook page.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.


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