Bo J. Spates
WLLR personality Bo Jeffrey “Bo J” Spates died in his sleep Sunday. Listeners who felt they knew him lost a friend; third-shifters lost a “morning” coffee buddy; his daughter lost a father.
Many of those listeners, fans and friends shared condolences across several WLLR social media posts Monday.
“It’s not unbelievable that people feel this way, but the outpouring is unbelievable,” said Jim O’Hara, Spates’ supervisor at WLLR, said on the air Monday night.
He was on during Spates’ normal timeslot.
“I think the thing about Bo J is he was exactly like the guy next door,” O’Hara said on the phone before going back on the air to talk traffic. “He was into the same things your friends and neighbors are into. The same things that ticked them off ticked him off. You could tell that on the radio — he was just a real genuine guy.”
While Spates had worked at WLLR only the last four years, O’Hara said they’d known each other for more than 20 years, when they worked at rival stations.
“I was so impressed by how hard he worked for them,” O’Hara said, remembering watching Spates work an event. “I always said, ‘That’s one guy I’d love to have wearing our jersey.’ ”
Spates’ coworkers have started a GoFundMe to raise money for a college fund for his daughter, Charly Heber Spates, a student at Rock Island High School.
“He really was a good dad and wanted to be a good dad,” O’Hara said. “... That’s the thing he took the most pride in.”
Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday.
“The Quad Cities lost a real friend — a guy who was just like them,” O’Hara said. “That’s what drew people to him.”