Harold Dow: A friend and colleague remembered

"48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Peter Van Sant on Dow and his legacy on the first anniversary of his death

It was a Saturday, August 21, 2010. I was out driving when I received a phone call from the office. Our executive producer, Susan Zirinsky, wanted to break some sad news to the "48 Hours" family.

I was told to pull over. Our beloved colleague, Harold Dow, had passed away. The shock still hasn't worn off.

Those of you who watched Harold's work over the years truly did get a sense of the real man. He cared deeply about people. He had a passion for his work, for his family, for life.

Harold was an absolute original, an IMAX theater on two legs. He was the Chris Rock of television news - funny, insightful and brilliant. He had that voice - a big baritone that could cut through a crowded news conference or soothe a troubled soul.

Video: "48 Hours" tribute to Harold Dow
Photos: Harold Dow remembered
CBS News Correspondent Harold Dow dies

I loved going into this office to hear Harold's latest take on world events. He was also gifted at giving advice, whether it was about your career or your life.

Harold's career started in the late 1960s at KETV in Omaha. He was a pioneer, the first black television reporter in Nebraska history. Harold would later laugh about it, saying that after his first report, "...those Cornhuskers wondered, what the hell was that?!?"

He received death threats. His news director, Lee Terry, started carrying a gun to work. Each night, Terry would escort Harold - gun at his side - to his car.

But no one could ever - would ever intimidate Harold Dow.

At CBS News, Harold was known for his versatility. He could talk to anyone from kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst (a huge world exclusive) to movie stars and politicians. The famous and the infamous were all drawn to this brilliant man.

Along the way, Harold helped blaze a trail for other African-American journalists to follow. He inspired. He led by example.

Harold's office still sits empty. Once and a while, I'll stop and just stare at his door, waiting to hear that booming laugh come from the other side.

After his death, a "48 Hours" viewer wrote about Harold, "Sleeping with angels, living with God, resting in peace and joy for all eternity. You will truly be missed."

We miss him every day.