Maryland’s WBOC-TV Founder Tom Draper Dies at 76

Tom Draper, the person responsible for building Maryland’s WBOC-TV, one of the most popular stations in America, died on Friday. Draper, 76, was involved in a bicycle accident near his home in Delaware.

He succumbed to his injuries.

Draper took a daily bicycle ride on Thursday morning before being hit by a pick-up truck. The driver of the truck remained at the scene of the accident and called 911. Draper was taken to Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital before being transferred via helicopter to the University of Maryland.

He did not survive the night.

Draper was in good health on Sunday, celebrating his 50th anniversary in broadcasting on September 3. he purchased WTHD in 1967 before purchasing WBOC-TV and the two radio stations tied to the channel at the time.

Police continue to investigate the bicycle accident and have no cause to believe that drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash. Police have not filed charges against the driver at this time.

The accident occurred on the eastbound side of Slaughter Beach Road. The driver of the 2013 Ford F-150 is a 37-year-old Lewes man. The driver was not injured in the accident.

“You see him riding up and down the road. You see him riding to the beach from time to time,” says Memorial Volunteer Fire Company Chief Terry Jester. “I’ve known him all my life. He’s just a good old Sussex County boy.”

Slaughter Beach Road remained closed for three hours after the accident.

The DSP Collision Reconstruction Unit is investigating the accident. Draper is said to have been a cycling enthusiast who practiced daily.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the WBOC family. He was an amazing businessman, a trendsetter here on Delmarva, but I think more importantly than all of those things in my mind is that he was a family man, he loved his family, and he was patriot, he loved this country and he loved Delmarva,” Councilman Arlett said. “He was very passionate about doing things to serve this area, to serve this community, and to serve this country, and those are just the fond memories that I will cherish with him and many others.”

Laura Baker, Chief Operating Officer of Draper Holdings, says that Tom Draper’s legacy will live on through his children and his company, Draper Holdings. Tom wanted his business to continue on after his death, according to Baker. All of his four children learned the business and worked at WBOC at some point.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.