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‘Salty’ Brine dies at age 86

The local on-air personality was as Rhode Island as quahogs

The local on-air personality was as Rhode Island as quahogs

Walter L. “Salty” Brine, a well-known Rhode Island radio and television personality who spent many of his retirement days boating around Narragansett waters, died Nov. 2 at the age of 86.

Brine was perhaps the Ocean State’s most famous resident — as Rhode Island as quahogs, clam chowder and Dell’s lemonade. He even has a state beach named in his honor, located at Point Judith.

Brine’s voice graced the Ocean State’s airwaves for more than 50 years, beginning in 1942. One of his signature phrases was “No School Foster-Glocester” — a phrase he would utter with a mellifluous drawl to alert residents that school was canceled in an area of the state notorious for heavy snowfall. The phrase somehow became synonymous with Brine, and so he named his boat, an American Tug 34, No School Foster-

Glocester. He even had snowflakes painted on the hull.

Brine also hosted a popular children’s television show, “Salty Brine’s Shack,” which aired on local Channel 12 from 1958 to 1968. With a captain’s cap snug on his head, Brine would tell stories and remind his young audience to say their prayers and brush their teeth. For youth growing up in Rhode Island, he was as influential as Captain Kangaroo and Mister Rogers.

Brine loved all things Rhode Island, and particularly loved boating around Point Judith Pond. “Boating is in my blood,” he said during a 2001 interview aboard No School. He owned many boats through the years but he was particularly fond of the American Tug, which he bought new in 2001. “I’ve had a lot of fun on that boat, had a lot of great people aboard,” he said during a 2004 interview.

Brine was as warm and compassionate as his TV and radio personalities. He bubbled with youthful enthusiasm, despite his advancing years, and was quick and witty. He had many close friends and, with his twinkling eyes and warm voice, made strangers feel as if they were longtime friends. Everywhere No School went, people waved from other vessels and the shore.

Brine lived in a house overlooking Narragansett’s Harbour Island. Through the years, Brine remodeled what once was a summer cottage into a comfortable home featuring an enclosed sun porch overlooking the water.

“This is my pond,” Brine said one day, as he gazed out the windows during a recent visit.

Born in Nova Scotia in 1918, Brine lost his leg as a youth while attempting to hop a freight train. He never let his disability get in the way, and was quite active in sports. Brine was an avid Red Sox fan and even threw out the first pitch during one of the home games this year. Friends say he was thrilled that the team won the World Series, noting that Brine was born the year the Sox last won the series.

Brine began his radio career in Boston, where he garnered the nickname “Salty.” He says the name fit because it captured his love of boating and the sea.

He retired from broadcasting in 1993 but continued to do voice-overs and local commercials. Brine was also active with several charities and traveled. He met his second wife, Roseanna, while on a trip to Ireland and married her in a simple ceremony in 2003. Brine’s first wife, Marion, also known as Mickey, died in 2000 after a long illness. They were married for 56 years.

In addition to Roseanna, Brine is survived by his son, Walter “Wally” Brine, co-host on the “Loren and Wally Morning Show” on Boston’s WROR radio station.

A private funeral was held. n