While addressing an audience of about 300 in McInnis auditorium, legendary Philadelphia radio broadcaster Irv Homer suddenly collapsed.
On June 24, Homer was scheduled to introduce author G. Edward Griffin for a program by The Big Talker 1210 AM when he suffered a massive heart attack.
Standing at the podium, Homer appeared to be in good health. With the loud and strong voice of a radio personality, he easily commanded the attention of the crowd.
After opening with a joke, he began to recount his service in the Air Force during World War II.
As he described an air show that he did at the end of the war, his breathing became labored. One of The Big Talker’s staff members brought Homer water, arriving just in time to catch him as he collapsed.
Over the gasps and the shrieks of the audience, the staff member demanded that someone call 911. Someone else cried out, “Is there a doctor in the house?”
A woman responded by immediately running to the stage and checking for a pulse. After discovering that Homer did not have a pulse, she began performing CPR and requesting that someone get a defibrillator. The radio station’s staff frantically searched McInnis for the device, but was unable to find one.
After about a minute and a half of CPR, campus security arrived at the scene and escorted one of the staff members to the security office where the defibrillator was held.
Another minute passed before the staff member returned in full sprint to the stage.
It took the paramedics another five minutes to arrive. Homer had yet to be revived by the staff, even with the help of the defibrillator.
Entering from the back of the stage, the paramedics quickly took control of the situation. They placed Homer on a gurney and wheeled him out of the auditorium, doing CPR along the way.
Homer was taken to Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Although the paramedics were able to revive him briefly, Homer was later pronounced dead at the age of 85.
[Editor’s note: Bryon Calawa works with the Instructional Technology Support Center and was in the auditorium when Homer passed away this summer. This is his first-person account.]