Alec Gifford, a former news director at both WVUE and WDSU in New Orleans, died last week. He was 85.

Gifford joined WDSU, the New Orleans NBC affiliate, in 1955 after serving in the U.S. Navy. In 1966, he joined NBC News in New York, where he worked for one year before returning to New Orleans as news director, anchor and reporter at Fox affiliate WVUE. He returned to WDSU in 1980 and continued there until he retired in 2006.

“If today we enjoy a measure of respect and have earned the trust of our viewers, it is in large part due to the extraordinary work Alec Gifford did to establish WDSU as a news organization,” WDSU president and general manager Joel Vilmenay said in a statement. “We continue to honor Alec’s work every day in our effort to report stories with the same sense of dedication, integrity, talent and passion as Alec did.”