Rufus J. Pederson Jr.
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Rufus J. Pederson, Jr. A longtime member of San Francisco's television community - and mischievous teller of humorous stories - passed peacefully at his home on February 1, 2008. He was 77. Born August 2, 1930 in Oklahoma City, Rufus was raised in Richland, WA. In 1952, shortly after graduating from Washington State University with a B.S. in broadcasting, Rufus was drafted into the Army. At the training camp in San Luis Obispo, he directed and occasionally performed on the first Armed Forces TV station. He was then transferred to Washington, DC, to serve in "the code room" at the Pentagon. In 1955 Rufus began his television career, first at KCOP in Los Angeles, then KATU in Portland, OR, and finally at KGO in San Francisco. Rufus was an accomplished television director. He directed news, sports, variety and documentary programs, including "AM San Francisco," Channel Seven News, "Dr. Edell's Medical Journal," "The House Doctor" and the Emmy-winning "Front Row Video," as well as segments for ABC's Good Morning America. Rufus was a founding member of the San Francisco Coordinating Committee, a local body of the Directors Guild of America. An alternate on the national DGA board in the mid-1980s, Rufus was a key player in labor negotiations, averting a 1984 directors' strike. In 2001, Rufus was recognized for his dedication, service and contribution to the Guild. In 2007 Rufus received the Larry Sturhahn Memorial Award for his commitment, leadership and devotion to the DGA and "for his magnificent sense of humor." The plaque bore a jumping bass, a nod to Rufus' love of fishing. A lesser known aspect of Rufus' life was his passion for playing trombone in the What's Up Band, a swing orchestra. More than directing, fishing and music, Rufus loved people - all people. He would wade out into the water without fear, and that's the way he'd approach people. He'd cast his line, set the hook and reel you in with his blue eyes and warm smile. Rufus will be remembered for his cheerful outlook, his warm embrace of friends and family and his generosity of spirit. Rufus is survived by his wife Daneen; sister, Beth; son, Paul; daughters, Joy and Karen; step-daughters, Holly and Shelley; and six grandchildren: David, Noah, Gus, Sarah, Tyler and Nyla. A Celebration of Rufus' life was held February 9. Rufus' television colleagues are planning another memorial in early March to be held at KGO. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Rufus' favorite causes, listed on his memorial website: www.rufuspederson.tv

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 24, 2008.