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With a warm smile and kind eyes, Eddie Flores charmed his way into Rio Grande Valley hearts and homes as one of the area’s leading news anchors, bringing stories from around the world into local living rooms with grace and friendliness. He was remembered just as fondly this week by those who called him their friend and mentor, all who returned the favor by bringing his story to the world.
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn’t consider Flores worthy of such acclaim. An affable gentleman who may have intimidated at first but won over people later could light up any room he was in, those close to him have said.
That feeling resonated with local TV news viewers who followed Flores’ career as an anchorman who didn’t just work in the Valley but all over Texas.
These memories and insights, however, come under tragic circumstances.
Flores died Tuesday after a 10-year battle with cancer, his wife of 28 years, Sara Gomez Flores, announced via social media that day. He was 60 and in hospice care at the time.
“Through it all, he was a tough Marine and a faithful Christian. His wife, children, grandchildren, mother and sisters ask for our time to reflect. I will always love and remember you, my love. Rest in peace,” she said on Facebook.
A Marine Corps veteran, Flores garnered the respect of the communities he covered as a journalist with more than 30 years of experience.
In the Valley, he may have been best known for the 12 years he anchored KRGV’s weekend newscasts, a stint he began in 2003, according to the station.
He then moved on to CBS 4 in 2015 and anchored the evening broadcasts before moving three years later to Midland, where he was the main anchor at KMID.
But Flores was more than that, according to Sara, who said Thursday that he “had a big heart” and was a “compassionate and funny person” who “never passed a homeless person without giving them something out of his wallet.”
“He would always stop to ask them their name and tell them God loved them and promised to pray for them,” Sara said in a Facebook tribute to her husband. “He used his platform in television news to help so many people; veterans, the elderly and especially cancer patients.”
She went on to highlight his professional achievements, including accolades from the Edward R. Murrow Awards, and the time he qualified for the Olympic trials as a boxer for the Marines, and how he loved to play the drums, performing in their church choir for more than 15 years.
“He only lived for 60 years on this earth but he did so much and loved with all his heart,” she added.
Kristine Galvan, news anchor for KRGV, recalled working with Flores at Channel 5 between 2003 and 2005 and, like many journalists who spoke of him, remembered his nurturing and encouraging presence.
“Eddie came to Channel 5 from a station in Austin, but before then he worked for a majority of the 90s at a station in Corpus Christi and I remembered him as a time as a reporter in Corpus Christi,” Galvan explained. “And when it was announced he was going to come and work for us, I was a baby reporter with two and a half years experience, so it was exciting to see a veteran reporter come in.
“He taught me how to control my voice when voicing my stories, and he said when you think it’s too much it’s probably just right. He was just a great writer too, and the way he would talk to you about his stories, it almost made me feel like you were there with him and I wanted to tell a story like that.”
Galvan also described Flores as a “great, great, great journalist” with a dry sense of humor that brought levity to the newsroom.
Jim Danner, the senior meteorologist at CBS 4, worked with Flores in 2015 and stayed in touch with him after he left because “he was a really good person.”
Danner’s memories were more focused on simple moments spent with Flores — the time the two had dinner at Luby’s on Flores’ last day at CBS 4, for instance.
But, like Galvan, Danner also remembered Flores being funny and hardworking.
“He was serious and he was a good anchor, but in order to be a good anchor you had to be a good journalist,” Danner said. “He knew how to find a good story and work them. I think a lot of that came from his time in the military, the structure with the marines.”
In addition to Flores’ humor and work ethic, Danner also recalled Flores looking the part.
“He was one of the most well-put together people. …He was Mr. GQ, man,” Danner added. “Oh my God, there’s not going to be a hair out of place. The guy was always dressed to the nines and was very well-buttoned-up.”
A Christian, family man, and salt of the earth, Danner sang similar praises of Flores as others who spoke of him, recalling how he was willing to help new journalists and anyone who needed a hand.
That was especially evident when Danner first came to the Valley eight years ago.
“When I came down here in 2015, I didn’t know anybody here,” he said. “Eddie would ask if there was anything I needed. He gave me his cellphone number … I can’t think of anything bad to say about the guy. The guy would give you the shirt off his back.
“His legacy for this industry, which is what I would relate it to, is that he wanted to help. He wanted to see people succeed, he wanted to teach and pass along his knowledge. He could impart a lot of his wisdom and knowledge and expertise, and I think people will never forget that.”
For Marco Ramirez, the morning news anchor at CBS 4, working with Flores was an opportunity to meet the anchor he grew up watching.
The two met in the Odessa and Midland area in 2018 and worked together two years later. But Ramirez is from McAllen and remembered watching Flores, calling him a good storyteller and mentor who helped influence him, a self-described “big news junkie growing up as a kid.”
As others have shared, Ramirez was left in a state of grief after learning of Flores’ death, and wanted more time to work with him but the opportunity was cut short.
“I only got to work with him for two or three months, because of his illness he had to walk away,” Ramirez said. “Unfortunately it progressed to a point where he couldn’t work anymore. That was heartbreaking to see. He had so much more time to commit and contribute to this business, and the fact that he had to step away the way he did was heartbreaking. He had to take care of his health and be with his family, and seeing the news was heartbreaking.”
Now back in the Valley and working at a local news station, Ramirez hopes he can continue Flores’ legacy.
In fact, he called the chance to anchor a newscast back home “amazing,” and imparts knowledge that was passed on to him from Flores to young reporters today.
“On his last day he kind of pulled me aside and kind of gave me some pointers. He said, ‘Here’s what you should do: Don’t talk as fast, slow down and find the human element, people will relate to you more.’ I tell that to our reporters too. It’s not easy but get that human element,” Ramirez said of Flores’ influence.