Devon Walsh is a local gal if there ever was one. Born at Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, a graduate of McGill-Toolen High School, and the University of Notre Dame, she is the epitome of a Southern woman who has a bright, outgoing spirit and loves everything about the people and the area we call Scenic 98 Coastal.

Devon’s parents met in California when her father, a Mobilian, was in the Navy and was an anesthesiologist working at the Oakland Naval Hospital. Her mother was from Queens, New York. Her parents returned to Mobile to practice medicine and raise their family after her father’s military service ended.

In 1995, Devon met her future husband, Tim Hecker, also a student at McGill-Toolen. She was smitten at first sight and confessed that she used to drive by his house. “I was 16, and we started dating in high school. I made sure to ask my parents if I could date him. Around here, you never know who might be a relative!”

After graduation, she enrolled at Rollins College in Florida but soon transferred to Notre Dame where she graduated with a BA degree in American Studies. During college, she interned with the late Congressman, Sonny Callahan in Washington DC. It so happened Tim was studying at Catholic University in DC at the same time.

One summer, Devon interned at a place where she eventually caught the news bug: WKRG. ”I was like a sponge, soaking up knowledge from mentors like Mel Showers, Peter Albrecht, and John Nodar.” She knew her personality was suited to the news business. “I liked the fact that this job allowed me to talk to a lot of people, to write a lot, and learn something new every day.”  

In 1997, her Junior year at Notre Dame, she had the opportunity to intern with Ted Koppel at ABC Nightline. That was the year the Monica Lewinsky story broke. “I knew about it two weeks before, but couldn’t say anything to my roommates.”

Devon and her husband Tim dated for eight years. Following college, Tim completed his MD/PhD at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He now practices neurology at Coastal Neurologic Institute in Mobile. 

Tim and Devon dated long-distance for a few years before marrying in 2002. Devon was anchoring at WKRG in Mobile and eventually transferred, after the wedding. to another station in Birmingham. The two spent six years in Birmingham while Tim finished his Neurology residency. They couldn’t resist the Gulf Coast and decided to move home, to be closer to family. 

Upon returning to Mobile, Devon was hired as the morning anchor at WKRG News 5 This Morning for 7 years before transitioning to weekday News Anchor in 2015. She hosts News 5 at 9, News 5 at Noon, and News 5 at 5, winning numerous awards including Alabama’s Best News Anchor by the Associated Press and Alabama Broadcast Association.

Devon has two accomplished sisters, one is a local physician and the other is in corporate life with U.S. Foods in Atlanta. She and Tim have two children, Sam 15, and Janie, 12, and they are a close-knit family spending much of their free time at her parents' bay house in Fairhope.

“I remember spending every summer there from Memorial Day until school began again after Labor Day. All our relatives lived nearby and it was ideal.  We didn’t have a TV and spent just about every day in the Bay until our hands and feet were wrinkled”. 

“There was a big rope swing in the front yard, and every Saturday we had lunch with all the cousins. We had Jubilee watches, and played Marco Polo, Hide and Seek, and Submarine-Catalina off the pier. We have a tight-knit family.”

While Devon has previously worked the late evening and early morning shifts, her life now resembles a more normal schedule. As far as free time? “The kids dictate our free time.” Her son, a sophomore at McGill is his class’s SGA President, plays McT and club soccer, and plays piano. 

Of their daughter, she says, “She is my little ray of sunshine.” Janie dances, cheers, and takes piano as well. ‘Do you play?’ I asked. “I took 14 years of classical piano and still play some.” She says her life revolves around her family and her community. “Despite our busy schedules, Tim and I spend a lot of time with our kids. My favorite view is my own backyard.”

For the past 15 years, Devon has hosted a Pet of the Week segment on WKRG. “We work closely with the Mobile SPCA to find good homes for homeless pets. “We have placed 100s of dogs. It’s very satisfying to hear from people who have found their forever pet.  Devon also found her “third child,” Polly, the poodle mix at the Mobile SPCA. “We feel like she was dropped from heaven. She’s a wonderful dog.”

Devon truly loves everything about her job. “We have a long reach and we can make a difference in people’s lives.” She tells me she likes writing stories that positively impact people. “We can bring attention to a problem and get answers.” 

She considers her coworkers as friends and family. “We have a genuine relationship with one another. So many people have a hand in our broadcasts. We really do have a talented team and work together well. It’s a big family. Our General Manager, Jesse Grear, is great. He is a leader who lets us do our job. Gene Kirkconnell is the best. He is our News Director and places so much trust in us.”

About her daily schedule, she tells me she is always excited about the next story. “I love talking to people. I love hearing about people’s lives. I love to write, so a typical day includes picking a topic, taping an interview, writing the story, and bringing it to the newscast.” Devon is also busy working on special projects.  “I like the fast-paced environment. I’m a busy journalist and a busy mom, and wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

She is especially active with public engagements. She has served as the Mistress of Ceremonies at the Baldwin County Distinguished Young Women for the past 20 years. She loves doing promotional presentations at schools to help encourage children to read.

Devon tells me that she feels fulfilled in every way here along the Gulf Coast. She and her husband are truly a team, and they place their love of God first. “You can’t get enough of Jesus.” She strives to stress the virtues of kindness and compassion to her children.

We conclude by talking about the Scenic 98 Coastal area. “It’s the Gulf Coast. People go away and have different experiences, but in the end, everybody wants to come home. Southern hospitality, Southern charm, it’s real. People care about one another, and that’s just the best way of life.”

“The thing I remember the most growing up are the flowers on the streets in Fairhope. When it comes to this area, the secret is out. The area is more diverse than ever with people coming from all over the United States.” Moving forward, she says, managing the growth responsibly is extremely important.

Thank you, Devon. You represent all that is good in our Scenic 98 Coastal communities and we wish you continued success in all your endeavors!

Dec 6, 2023
People & Business Profiles

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