MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The News 2 family is mourning the loss of a leader, colleague, and a friend.

For many years, those who have worked at WCBD News 2 were greeted with laughter and stories told by P.J. Ryal. He was a great man who wore many hats in our building; not only as general sales manager, but also a mentor, chief story teller, or perhaps being the “unofficial mayor of Charleston.”

The stories he could tell — they ranged in topic from working in the television industry throughout the decades to those of past experiences that would leave you roaring with laughter by the end.

His impact on our staff was great. He was loved by all. Not one day would go by where P.J. did not make his rounds saying hello to employees in each department.

Even after retirement P.J. would stop by the station just to say his hellos and offer a laugh.

“It is not common when you have trudged the career path for three decades to still have someone who can still shape your intellect, interest, and passion. But P.J. Ryal kept me fired-up about being a broadcast journalist, said WCBD Anchor Carolyn Murray.

Murray worked alongside Ryal at another television station in the 90s, and again a short time later after both joined the WCBD team.

“He tapped me on the shoulder to co-anchor the (10 p.m.) broadcast. I was only a couple of years into my broadcast career but that single move bolstered my confidence on the anchor desk,” she said.

“PJ Ryal was a good man, a faithful husband, a loving and caring father, and an amazing grandfather,” said WCBD Chief Meteorologist Rob Fowler. “He loved and lived life to its fullest, and will be missed terribly by all of us who had the honor and pleasure of working side by side with him every day.”

“He was my co-worker and golfing buddy but  most importantly, my friend,” said WCBD Anchor, Brendan Clark. “I have many stories about PJ Ryal. One that involved a garbage disposal on Hilton Head or his leap over the hedges in Murrells Inlet. But it was the stories he told that were best and filled with the most laughter.”

Clark went on to say, “I learned a lot from PJ over the years and won’t forget those lessons or him…ever.”

To echo the words spoken by Carolyn Murray, P.J. Ryal was the life of the party. He kept us as a station moving. Handed out nicknames to those he loved. Offered support when you needed it, or didn’t know you needed it.

Most of all, he was our friend. And we will miss him.

For the end of nearly every conversation came a single phrase uttered by P.J., one we end this story with that: “…as you were.”