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John William Arguello, Journalist. Died June 15, 2019 at age 61. He leaves behind two children, several grandchildren and a 24 Hour News 8 team that considered him family. Reflecting on his 43 year career, he wrote, “as a poor kid from South Dakota I never expected to have the kind of life experience I was able to enjoy. . .“ He dropped out of school in the 9th grade and set out to make his way in the world on his own terms. “I traveled the country for both business and pleasure. It fed my love of history and my quest for knowledge.” He wrote.
His self-acquired knowledge of history, music and movies and his phenomenal memory made him an essential resource for his friends and colleagues. Before there was Google there was John Arguello.
He began his career in the WOOD TV8 mail room, learned how to shoot video and became a staff photographer. In the mid-90’s he joined the Target 8 Investigative Team as a producer, photographer, researcher and editor. His compassion for people who had been wronged drove his determination to expose the bad guys, the flaws in the system and seek justice. Colleagues remember that he once spent a week watching the home of a man suspected of scamming heart-broken pet owners who had to give up their animals by promising to re-home them for a fee. John shot video of the man abandoning a dog on a rural road, was able to rescue the pet and put a stop to the con. One of John’s proudest moments came when he was able to convince a witness in the murder of a 16-year old girl to come forward, resulting in the conviction of the killer.
In the last decade, he moved to the newsroom assignment desk where he gathered information everyone else relied on and provided high, and sometimes stern, ethical guidance in making decisions about news stories. As a colleague wrote in a tribute, “He minced no words and suffered no fools. But behind the intimidating exterior was a gentle man who nurtured young journalists, ego-checked anchors and exhibited unmatched patience with viewers.” He was a mentor to many. He was also a gleeful trickster, he teased and pulled pranks on his co-workers with a memorable giggle. His sarcasm knew no bounds.”
“I have been fortunate enough to meet and photograph five sitting US Presidents.” John wrote. “As a photojournalist I covered major national political events including national conventions and the Iowa caucuses…not something I ever dreamed of. I knew US congressmen, governors, and many local politicians on a first name basis…pretty heady stuff for a poor kid, a high school dropout from Rapid City…”
John married the love of his life, Taya, who died in 2004. “Too soon,” John wrote, “but our time together was magnificent. Hard sometimes but I wouldn’t change a thing but how it ended.”
John is survived by his daughter Jennifer, son Justin and grandchildren McKenzie, Cowan, Noah and Jonah.
“Don’t mourn my death, celebrate my life.” John wrote. Friends and family will do that Friday, June 21, 2019 from 2pm-4pm and 6pm to 8pm at Memorial Alternatives 2432 Fuller N.E., Grand Rapids, MI and later at Putt Putt’s 1148 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI