Tragedy struck on Tuesday when Kathy Berman, wife of legendary ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Connecticut. Kathy and Chris had been married for over 33 years, having first met in the late 1970s, when Chris was just beginning his career as a sportscaster.
A People profile from 1993 captures what that first meeting was like. According to that article, Chris Berman had noticed “an attractive woman” driving ahead of him one day in Waterbury, Connecticut. He followed her, then faked car trouble in order to gain the chance of speaking to this woman, who turned out to be Kathy. When she asked him what the issue was, he responded by asking her to breakfast the following day. Of course, she said yes.
Kathy Berman later shared her reasoning for why she accepted the offer. As she put it, “He was tall, dark and handsome and looked harmless enough.”
She told Sports Illustrated in 1990 that she was embarrassed about how well Chris’ car hoax had worked on her. “It’s embarrassing,” said Berman. “He probably did this every day, and I was the one who fell for it.”
Kathy and Chris got married four years later, and soon had two children, Meredith and Douglas.
Chris would go on to become a hero in the world of sports broadcasting, earning the nickname “Boomer” as a consequence of his booming voice. Certain verbal mannerisms of his, such as his chanting “back, back, back, back…Gone!” to describe the progress of a baseball soaring into the stands for a home run, became synonymous with Berman’s style of commentating. In January, Chris stepped down from his role as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, which was a post he had held for 31 years.
Kathy Berman’s death came on the day before Chris’ 62nd birthday, while he was attending a baseball game at Citi Field.
The car crash on Tuesday brought not only Kathy’s life to an abrupt end, but also the that of the man driving the other vehicle, Edward Bertulis. According to a police account of the crash, both Kathy and Bertulis’ cars veered off the road after Berman’s car had struck the rear of the SUV Bertulis had been driving.
Numerous tributes have been steadily flooding in from pro athletes, NFL teams, and colleagues of Chris Berman, who send out their love and prayers to the family in light of this tragedy.
David Ortiz tweeted early Wednesday morning, “Sending my love to the Berman family this morning…we’re here for u Chris.” Jordan Crawford wrote, “Wanna send Chris Berman and family my prayers!”
The Buffalo Bills shared an image of Chris Berman on Twitter, along with a heartfelt message that underlined their support for the ESPN icon in these difficult times. “Chris Berman has been a friend of the Buffalo Bills for many years and we are all heartbroken to learn of the passing of his wife, Kathy. Today more than ever, we will circle the wagons for Boomer and his family.”
The loving tributes have not gone unnoticed by Chris, Meredith, and Douglas Berman, who released a statement on Wednesday night expressing their gratitude for the kind words people have shared with them.
“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and sympathy from so many folks we know, and so many others we look forward to knowing,” the statement said. “Kathy Berman had a huge heart, and this would have warmed hers beyond belief. It certainly warmed ours. All of us need to keep the family of Edward Bertulis in our thoughts and prayers as well.”
Kathy Berman had been 67, and Edward Bertulis 87.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]