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KPRC sends off Bill Balleza with bittersweet retirement party

Bill Balleza thanks KPRC Channel 2 Vice President and General Manager Jerry Martin for his service as he retires after 49 years serving KPRC.
Bill Balleza thanks KPRC Channel 2 Vice President and General Manager Jerry Martin for his service as he retires after 49 years serving KPRC. (Ana Gonzalez)

HOUSTON – The KPRC family came together on Friday to celebrate longtime anchor Bill Balleza who is retiring after 49 years of service.

Close friends, former co-anchors and family celebrated Balleza his journalism career with gifts, videos, barbecue and Whataburger, his favorite restaurant.

“A lot has changed since then, technologically," Balleza said as he addressed about 100 people in the KPRC lobby. "We tell our stories in different ways, the one thing that will never change is our responsibilities, being unbiased in our reporting, maintaining our finest ethics, and being as accurate and factual as possible.”

Vice President and General Manager Jerry Martin led the festivities by presenting him a video compilation featuring his colleagues and family members along with a few surprises including NBC Nightly’s Lester Holt and Jose Luis Barat of Telemundo.

“I remember when Harvey hit in 2017,” said Martin, “he (Balleza) was so anxious to get in the studio once the floodwaters receded. His suit was taped up, floating through the floodwaters. That’s the kind of leadership Bill brought every day to this news station.”

Balleza received numerous gifts from KPRC, including a framed photo of his evening news team with signatures from his colleagues. He also received a custom golden axe engraved with his name from the Houston Firefighters Association for his philanthropy towards first responders, and custom cowboy boots courtesy of Whataburger.

“This is a wonderful send-off,” Balleza said, “I’m glad the station remains in good hands. When I go home and watch, I hope to see the same integrity, and the same standard.”

Honoring & wishing the best for Houston & KPRC2 / Click2Houston legend KPRC2 Bill Balleza on his last day at work as he...

Posted by KPRC2 Keith Garvin on Friday, January 31, 2020

Congratulations on your retirement, KPRC2 Bill Balleza! You will be missed by the all of us at KPRC2 / Click2Houston and Houston at large. #kprc2 Three Brothers Bakery

Posted by KPRC2 Eric Braate on Friday, January 31, 2020

END OF AN ERA: station gathering for KPRC2 Bill Balleza as we wish him well on his retirement, he’s an industry icon and happy to say a great friend as well 🙂 📺

Posted by KPRC2 Jonathan Martinez on Friday, January 31, 2020

Happy retirement Bill! 49 years in TV news, incredible career

Posted by KPRC2 Taniya Wright on Friday, January 31, 2020

Happy retirement to this broadcasting legend and community leader. Cheers Bill! Well done sir. KPRC2 / Click2Houston

Posted by KPRC2 Andy Cerota on Friday, January 31, 2020