Bittersweet announcement: Mary Baer and John Gaughan to retire from WJXT-TV after 30 years

John Gaughan and Mary Baer (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVLLE, Fla. – 1992... the year Bill Clinton was elected president, the Olympic games were held in Barcelona, Jay Leno debuted on The Tonight Show and John Gaughan and Mary Baer joined the team at WJXT-TV, Channel 4 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mary Baer came to Jacksonville after working as a news anchor and reporter in Columbus, Ohio. She started her television career at KTVL in her hometown of Medford, Oregon. Mary is a graduate of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism.

John Gaughan came to Jacksonville after working as the Chief Meteorologist at WFTV in Orlando. He attended the University of Maryland and was an intern at WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. John landed his first on-air job as Chief Meteorologist at WOLO television in Columbia, S.C.

READ: Mary’s memoir after 30 years at WJXT | John’s memoir after 30 years at WJXT

Both Mary and John have made an impact in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia that cannot be measured. Their work in the community and on TV — serving viewers during times of triumph and tragedy — are many.

Mary and John raised their families here and fell in love with the people and places in and around Jacksonville.

Professionally, John Gaughan was impacted greatly by his work with George Winterling, someone he admired and continues to admire. George retired in 2009.

Richard Nunn, George Winterling and John Gaughan at the JBA luncheon

Mary Baer followed Deborah Gianoulis on the anchor desk when Deborah retired in 2003. Mary Baer and Tom Wills have sat next to each other ever since.

By the 1990s, Mary Baer joins Rob Sweeting on the 5:30 newscast. George Winterling, Deborah Gianoulis, Tom Wills and Sam Kouvaris become the longest-running anchor team in America.

When asked what she will enjoy most in retirement, Mary said, “Going to bed early! Actually, I’m really looking forward to spending time with my husband, Marty-- also, traveling, drawing pictures with my grandson, riding my horse and volunteering with our therapeutic riding program at our farm! You could say I’ll be riding off into the sunset! I plan to spend more time with my family and volunteering at our church. And while evenings spent at home will be a new experience for me, it’s all a bittersweet change. I know I will miss bringing you the news.”

John said, “Retirement? Forget that! I’m just getting started!”

To call this a bittersweet moment for everyone here at News4JAX is an understatement. We are filled with mixed emotions. Happy for our friends, John and Mary, sad that we won’t see them every day.

“The impact John and Mary have left on this community for the last three decades has been immeasurable,” said Vice President and General Manager Terri Cope Walton. “They have been part of the fabric of North Florida and South Georgia and helped to lay the foundation for excellence and commitment to community that The Local Station is committed to providing. They will truly be missed by the entire News4JAX family.”

We want to wish both members of the Channel 4 family a Happy Retirement.....we will see you around!

Mary Baer and John Gaughan will officially retire on May 31, 2023.

Watch the on-air announcement below:

About the Author:

Marilyn has been Digital Director since October 2021. She supervises Jacksonville's number one news website and most trusted source for local news.