Wednesday, August 3, 2016


The news came in the form of an email last week from my favorite boss.  Tommy Sifuentes was dead, natural causes.  He was just 58.  I anxiously waited on an obituary and all I've seen is the announcement for his viewing and funeral.  Tommy and I shared something very important and I feel compelled to write about him.

Thomas Sifuentes, Junior started working at WDAF TV in the late 1970's.  He was just a teenager.  A young Latino, a barrier breaker, like his co-worker Joe Arse and a handful of other Latinos working at KMBC like Ralph Siguera.  Tommy learned how to become a videographer.  Back then it was back breaking work.  Here was this little guy lugging around 70 pounds of gear.  He worked hard.

Tommy wasn't an artist with the camera.  But he cared deeply about his work.  I remember going out with him for a shoot at Royals Stadium in advance of a special story I was working on.  Tommy did everything I asked of him and more.  He was always careful to throw his hand in front of the lens so you couldn't use a shot that he felt wouldn't be up to snuff.  Tommy didn't want second class work making it to air.

Tommy and I both battled the same personal demons and we leaned on each other.  We learned how to be better people from each other.  I owe him more than I think he ever realized.  And I wish that he had known how often I thought about him.

Last year he parted company with WDAF TV.  I can only imagine how hard it was for him to walk away from the only job he had ever known.  I know he was unhappy.  I know that he wanted so much more for his life and for his children that he loved so much.

Losing Tommy caused me to think about all of my television friends that passed too soon over the last 40 plus years that I had the joy of working alongside.  It gets harder as you get older.  The list keeps getting longer and I want those folks remembered, because they all contributed to my life in so many ways.  God bless you Tommy, I pray that you are at peace.


  1. Sorry John to hear the news about Tommy. During my years as a KCTV reporter in Kansas City, I'll bet I crossed paths with Tommy hundreds of times covering the same stories. He was always kind, worked hard, and cared deeply about his profession. My condolences.

  2. John, what a beautiful tribute for Tommy.

  3. I don't know you Sir; but I knew and loved Tommy Sifuentes! I started working at WDAF in 1975 and he was (if I'm remembering right)...the lst guy I met in the station's lunch room. Always the perfect "Gent" and with a quiet beautiful smile every time I saw him...can't believe it will be no more. This was a good tribute to our Friend. Thank You - Sheila Moore

  4. He was a good co-worker, he will be missed.

  5. Thank you for the kind words. My Father loved his job and was great man! We will miss him greatly.

  6. Very nice tribute..
    I think Tommy might be surprised by so many kind words and how many will truly miss him.