Roger Triemstra, longtime WGN meteorologist, dies at 92
Roger Triemstra blended scientific know-how with folksy humor in his reports, becoming one of the most trusted radio and television personalities in the Chicago area.
Longtime Chicago meteorologist Roger Triemstra’s love of climate and weather stayed with him through his last days.
At age 92, decades after retiring from broadcasting, he would give complete weather forecasts while riding in the car, his daughter Cheri Triemstra said.
“Naming the clouds, he would tell me exactly what weather was coming up over the lake and when it was going to rain,” she said. “To be able to remember and predict a full weather forecast when sometimes he couldn’t remember what day it was, it was pretty impressive. He still had it.”
Triemstra, who delivered forecasts for WGN on television and radio for 33 years, passed away peacefully Friday, his family said.
Triemstra blended scientific know-how with folksy humor in his reports, delivering more than 50 forecasts and updates on weather each week, and becoming one of the most trusted radio and television personalities in the Chicago area.
“Roger was a respected, trusted and beloved voice on Radio 720, providing credible weather information and contributing his unique brand of humor,” WGN Radio 720 said in a tweet.
He was raised in south suburban South Holland and earned an engineering degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He served as a meteorologist for the Air Force during the early years of the Cold War.
After spending three years guiding warplanes around the world from a command center in Ohio, Triemstra returned to civilian life in Chicago. He married Geraldine Triemstra and started a family, according to an obituary posted on the Smits Funeral Home website. His wife passed away in 2020.
He worked as an engineer for Amoco Chemical and Standard Oil, but his love of climate and weather were always with him. Eventually, his military forecasting experience led him to fill-in roles at WLS-TV Channel 7.
He joined WGN-AM and WGN-TV Channel 9 in 1965. In 1982, he became full-time meteorologist for the radio station. Triemstra retired in 1998.
But Triemstra wasn’t just a weatherman. He operated a restaurant called Pipes and Pizza in Lansing and operated a roller rink in Lynwood at one point, his daughter said. “He always had something going on.”
Triemstra became an author at the age of 90, writing a memoir titled “Cooler By The Lake.”
His former colleague and current WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling wrote a tribute to Triemstra on Facebook.
“Rog’s was a wonderful life which included a beautiful family — and a fascinating and varied career as a military and broadcast meteorologist but also as an engineer and businessman,” Skilling wrote.
Triemstra is survived by four children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“He was a bigger-than-life personality, he loved his family,” Cheri Triemstra said. “He will be deeply missed.”