"Sheriff Bob" dies at age 90

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Friends, family, and fans of "Sheriff Bob" Dawson are remembering his life and legacy. Bob Dawson, known to many here in western Wisconsin as 'The Sheriff’, died early Monday morning at his home in Eau Claire. He was 90 years old.

From 1954 to 1978, Bob Dawson played host of the famous 'Sheriff Bob' show on WEAU.

“He had all different kinds of cowboy suits and us little guys were all about cowboys,” George Utphall, fan of the Sheriff Bob Show said.

Back in the 1950's there were cowboys and Indians. Big names like the Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy. Then there was the sheriff that stole the hearts of the Chippewa Valley.

“I'm probably best remembered as a cowboy,” Dawson said in an interview in November of 2013.

“He convinced me that there should be a little cowboy in everyone and I bought a horse later in life,” Utphall reminisced.

Utphall remembers the days of coming to the WEAU studio for birthday parties and as a cub scout. Getting his five seconds of fame and a few treats on the Sheriff Bob Show.

“You got the chocolate milk and the Peter’s hot dogs,” he remembers.

The studio lights were a lot hotter back then at WEAU and they shined down on Bob Dawson, the man the Chippewa Valley came to know as Sheriff Bob.

“With Bob it was never about making the kids look cute. It was just about talking about what was going on in their lives and he was a hero to us guys,” Utphall said.

Behind the scenes and outside the studio Dawson became known for more than just his six-shooter and his cowboy hat.

“He visited me in the hospital when I had a stupid accident as a kid when I scraped my elbow,” Utphall said.

In his free time the sheriff spent countless hours visiting kids in local hospitals, bringing smiles to their faces.

Even after the curtain came down and the show went off the air in the late 70's the sheriff was making an impact beyond the small screen.

“Genuine people like that they are few and far in between,” Eau Claire Sheriff Ron Cramer said.

Sheriff Cramer attributes where he is today in part to the "other" sheriff in town.

“I needed a ten second commercial on WEAU and it was Sheriff Bob showing people how to put in a write in vote,” Cramer explained.

Cramer says an ad, ran on WEAU helped him win his bid for sheriff in 1996.

Jump forward eleven years after that, in 2007 Cramer and the Eau Claire county board recognized Bob Dawson for his impact in the community. Finally giving the sheriff the badge he deserved.

“He really deserved that badge and sometimes we forget about people who do so much for our community and we want to recognize them for what they do,” Cramer said.

Despite all the recognition, Bob Dawson stayed humble to the end. His final message to his fans might be summed up best by one of his last interviews with WEAU back in 2007.

“I had a good time in my lifetime and being on the air and I hope that all of the kids who are adults and grandparents enjoyed all of it," Dawson said in an interview with WEAU in 2007.

Since WEAU first announced the news of Bob Dawson's passing dozens of viewers have shared their memories of Sheriff Bob. You can share your stories with us in the comments section below. _______________________________________________________

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- The man thousands of WEAU 13 viewers remember as 'The Sheriff' has died.

Bob Dawson, known to many people across western Wisconsin as 'Sheriff Bob' died after a brief illness early Monday morning at his home in Eau Claire. Dawson created the Sheriff Bob character in 1954. That was not long after he started at the station, and WEAU went on the air. He always told us it was all because he owned a cowboy suit. The show ran for about 25 years. The children, or 'buckaroos', made their way through the studio just to be on his show. Dawson also visited children in area hospitals boosting their spirits and making them smile.

Besides being 'The Sheriff,' Dawson hosted several other programs at WEAU 13. He also got the chance to interview John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. There was no word on funeral arrangements on Monday. Bob Dawson was 90.

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