Former ABC 7 reporter Paul Meincke recovering from heart surgery

Paul Meincke

Paul Meincke, the legendary former Chicago television newsman, is on the mend in Los Angeles after undergoing emergency surgery for a torn aorta.

"This was most certainly one of those unexpected bumps in the road," he told me Thursday. "And I’ve learned again that life is precious. Every day is a treat."

Meincke, 69, said he was visiting family in L.A. when he was stricken just before going to bed. "I suddenly felt the proverbial elephant on the chest," he recalled. "Tests the following day revealed a torn aorta - aortic dissection, I’m told - so the knives were administered and repairs made."

With his new bovine aortic valve, Meincke joked: "I now rejoice in being part cow."

After what he expects to be a long recovery in L.A., Meincke said he plans to spend the rest of the winter at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, before returning to Chicago in mid-April. "I’m not fond of inactivity, but I’m getting good advice, counsel and insistence from my wife, sons and their wives," he added.

After 30 years as a top reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, Meincke retired in 2015. Calling him “the gold standard,” veteran anchorman Ron Magers said at the time: “Every journalist who ever worked with him or near him could have learned valuable lessons just by watching him work. I know I did and I’m grateful for it.”

Earlier that year Meincke was inducted in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Thursday’s comment of the day: Arthur Holland: No mention of B96 beating Kiss FM in the ratings for the first time in a while, a long while?