John W. Lucas, lead reporter for The Capitolist, died this week while on vacation in Arizona, his family confirmed today. He was 60 years old.
Prior to joining The Capitolist, John worked in the communication offices of the Attorney General and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Before that, John spent three decades working as a broadcast journalist, including 16 years as a reporter covering state government for the Florida News Network and the Associated Press.
As the news of his passing spread throughout the state capital on Thursday, friends and colleagues showed an outpouring of support.
“John was the kind of friend that would do anything for you,” said colleague and friend Alia Faraj-Johnson. “He was a great reporter who loved covering state politics and although he spent many years on camera, he never sought out the limelight. What was important to him was telling the story. He had a great sense of humor and always saw the best in people. He loved his family, his friends and especially his pets unconditionally. Rest in peace my friend, your Tallahassee family will be missing you.
Tim Fordyce, another former colleague and close personal friend to John, posted a tribute on Facebook, used here with persmission:
When I wrote this 60th birthday post to you just two months ago, I had no way of knowing it would be your last with us. Jamela and I will miss you every day. You taught me so much about life, love and what’s truly important through your compassion for animals and those less fortunate.
However, I’m comforted knowing 35 years of joyous, often humorous memories will carry me through.
For the past three years, John covered Florida politics and policy for The Capitolist, including the 2018 Florida governor’s race and the 2019 legislative session. He joined our team within the first year we launched, helping grow our readership and news authority with his professional experience and reputation as a fair but diligent reporter. He quickly established himself as our go-to state politics correspondent, covering press conferences and other news events unfolding inside Florida’s capitol complex, garnering interviews with state leaders and news-makers from around the Sunshine State.
His experience as a television reporter led to a stint in Washington, D.C., developing and coordinating a special Gulf Coast video feed for the AP that provided storm aftermath and recovery video to television stations in areas along the Gulf Coast that were impacted by Katrina.
A West Virginia native, John graduated cum laude from West Virginia University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He moved to Florida in 1984, when he became part of the news staff at WTXL-TV, the Tallahassee ABC affiliate.
Among some of his most memorable stories he covered were the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, the first shuttle launch following the Challenger disaster, and the 1988 Republican National Convention.
John was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee. Details of a memorial service in Tallahassee have not been released.