Not many people spend 40 years working in television in the San Francisco market. James Sudweeks did. “Suds,” as his friends called him, died in December, 2019 after a brief illness, just months after being inducted in the NATAS/NorCal/SF Silver Circle.
Suds began his career in the early 1960s at KMPH in Fresno and then moved to KTVU in 1964. A couple of years later, he took a job at KGO. Suds knew the TV business. He worked in several positions and understood the inner-workings of a television station, but made his name as an editor.
“This was a man who stayed with the craft from cropping film to saving digital clips,” said longtime KGO reporter Wayne Freedman, who spent more than a decade editing stories with him. “Best, most seamless, two track editor with whom I ever worked. You never saw his hand in the work. Just the story.”
He is a character who could come across a little gruff on the outside, “…until he got to like you …usually about five minutes,” said Freedman. “He always wore expensive cowboy boots. You could hear him coming down the hall.”
The family will hold a memorial service for James Sudweeks on January 11, 2020 at the Bistro Boudin Bakery Museum along Fisherman’s Wharf. That bakery was his favorite place to eat.
Until the end of his life, Suds remained active in his union, serving as an executive board member representing KGO for NABET/CWA, Local 51 in San Francisco. “He was a caretaker,” said Freedman. “That union, those members? A big part of it. And also for the people with whom he worked. He kept my file reels. Nice of him to build that archive. His handwriting on all of those slugs? Flawless.”