Radio personality Ken Beatrice dies

Ken Beatrice, a fixture in Washington sports talk radio for decades, died Dec. 6 at a hospice center in Aldie at the age of 72.

A funeral Mass will be offered Saturday, Dec. 12, at noon at St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton with a reception to follow at 1 p.m.

Beatrice was the host of WMAL's "Sports Call" program from 1977 to 1995. He briefly worked at what is now ESPN 980 before retiring in 2005. He is best known for his "You're next!" catchphrase and uncanny ability to recall rosters and stats.

Beatrice lived with his wife, Lyn, in Haymarket, and used his vocal talents by proclaiming the word of God as a lector at St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton.

"I feel very strongly about people proclaiming the word," he said in a 2011 interview with the Catholic Herald.

Born in Boston in July 1943, Beatrice attended Boston College, where he majored in political science. After a college football injury ended what he called a "mediocre" sports career, Beatrice took his passion for athletics and transferred it to the radio. For a good portion of his 40 years on the air, Beatrice hosted "Sports Call," during which, he said, he wanted to help people better understand, and therefore better appreciate, the world of sports.

"The more you know about something, the more you can enjoy it," he said. "I figured if I can teach one person one thing that helps them enjoy the game a little more, I've done my job."

Beatrice approached lectoring with the same passion. Through tone of voice, inflections, pace of reading and preparation, lectors have the responsibility of conveying the word of God to parishioners, he said.

Officially a parishioner of St. Katharine Drexel Mission in Bull Run, Beatrice also lectored at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville and St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg.

Beatrice also helped train fellow lectors at St. John the Evangelist. Drawing from his on-air experience, he advised lectors on appropriate annunciation and pace, the importance of breathing and word inflection, and the value of changing the tenor of their voice to reflect emotion.

More than anything, Beatrice stressed the importance of solid preparation.

"If going over it twice is good, going over it four times is better," he said. "When I'm lectoring, even if I've read a particular passage 15 times, I still go over it six to eight times before I do it.

"When you want to address the two apses, you gotta turn your shoulders," he said. "That I got from doing … (the talk show) from restaurants where there's chaos and babies crying and people dropping glasses. You have to stay on mic."

For Beatrice, serving the church in this way came naturally to him. "It's a way I think I can give back," he said. "Nothing more than that."

In addition to his wife, Beatrice is survived by two children, Robert Beatrice of St. Louis and Lisa Driscoll of Washington.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015