Longtime Elkhart radio host Bill Darwin dies at 80

Darwin, Allen Strike and Jack Lorri were the top personalities at WTRC 1340 radio for decades.

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 5:23 p.m.

ELKHART — Elkhart has lost another piece of history.

Bill Darwin, an iconic morning radio and television voice in northern Indiana for more than 40 years, died Wednesday, May 7. He was 80.

"Bill was in love with radio and he was in love with his listeners," said Vince Turner, who worked with Darwin from 1983-97. "It really was a relationship he had with the people he saw or imagined beyond the microphone."

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Born William Vilmure on Jan. 10, 1934, Darwin became the standard for much of Elkhart County's morning news in the 1970s and '80s after he came to Elkhart in 1967. He retired from radio in August 2009 after 42 years with the station.

"For years, he was the voice of Elkhart, along with Allen Strike and Jack Lorri," said John Dille, president and CEO of Federated Media, which owns WTRC and Truth Publishing Co.

Lorri, who was WTRC's sports director from 1967-1985, was the morning deejay at 1340 when Darwin arrived from WKZO in Kalamazoo, Mich.

"Bill was the kind of guy where people just drew to him," said Lorri, "He was the first thing you heard in the morning when WTRC was a great personality radio station."

"During my 34 years of doing 'Sound-Off,' the only other person that was a host was Bill Darwin," said Strike, who started at WTRC in 1965. "We were it. We were the local 'go-to' radio station.

"We were basically all you had. We were Elkhart."

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