Miami-Dade County

Laughs and love: Friends, family celebrate Local 10 reporter Todd Tongen after suicide

Family, colleagues celebrate life of Local 10 anchor Todd Tongen

Family members and colleagues gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of veteran WPLG Local 10 journalist Todd Tongen, who died Monday after taking his life. The 56-year-old spent 30 years with the South Florida news station.
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Family members and colleagues gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of veteran WPLG Local 10 journalist Todd Tongen, who died Monday after taking his life. The 56-year-old spent 30 years with the South Florida news station.

A crowd of friends, family members and colleagues gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of veteran WPLG Local 10 journalist Todd Tongen.

Tongen, a fixture in South Florida for 30 years as a reporter and anchor, was remembered for his quick wit, empathetic nature and knack for storytelling. The 56-year-old was found dead Monday at his home in Southwest Ranches. On Wednesday, WPLG announced the cause to be suicide.

“Maybe you thought the world would be better off without you,” his brother Scott said during Saturday’s memorial service in Pembroke Pines. “You were wrong little brother.”

Tongen, a native of Minnesota, is survived by his wife, Karen, sons Tyler and Ryker, and brothers. In lieu of flowers, his family asked that a donation be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.

The family said Tongen believed he may have had the beginning signs of the progressive disease that claimed their mother in 2017.

In honor of the joy and laughter Tongen brought into his colleagues’ lives, speakers were encouraged to lighten up the somber occasion with funny stories or remarks.

Neki Mohan, Tongen’s weekend co-anchor, appeared onstage in a turkey costume while Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” played. The two had worn turkey costumes during a charity food drive last year.

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Neki Mohan recounts her time as a co-anchor with Todd Tongen during a memorial service held in his honor Saturday at the Charles F. Dodge City Center in Pembroke Pines. Mohan dressed as a turkey as a reference to a Thanksgiving-themed broadcast she and Tongen co-anchored. Jennifer King jking@miamiherald.com

“Days like today remind me why I’ve loved working at WPLG for so many years. Having faces from the past and present come together to remember Todd. It was beautiful,” tweeted WPLG sports director Will Manso. “Also, many people from other local stations made it out. Shows the impact Todd made.”

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