By Robert Feder
Colleagues are remembering Bob Petty as a pioneering African-American news anchor, reporter and public-affairs host at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7for more than three decades. Petty died of lung cancer Tuesday at his home in Hyde Park. He was 79. “Bob Petty was an outstanding journalist, giving voice to thousands of important Chicago stories during his 31-year career at ABC 7,” said Jennifer Graves, vice president of news at ABC 7. “He handled both anchor and reporting duties with poise, professionalism and grace and paved the way as one of the first, full-time African-American anchormen in Chicago.” Petty, who retired in 2002, was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and in the Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame at Arizona State University, his alma mater. The Memphis native also served a William Benton Fellowship at the University of Chicago.