'Papa Joe' Chevalier dies at age 62

Armand "Papa Joe" Chevalier, a longtime Las Vegas resident who built a wide following with his local and syndicated sports talk radio show, died Friday from complications of a stroke at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas. He was 62.

Chevalier, popular for expressing views that largely represented the average sports fan, suffered a stroke in late March that resulted in paralysis to his right side. His speech and cognitive processes were not affected.

"You know how people say I've fallen and I can't get up? Well, I've fallen and I can't get up," Chevalier said April 7 at Desert Springs Hospital.

Although he was in good spirits then, family members said Chevalier grew despondent over his situation and the long rehabilitation ahead.

"I don't know if he had given up or what," said Art Chevalier, Joe's brother. "He just wasn't eating enough, wasn't sleeping enough to keep going after it."

Former Las Vegas sportscaster Ron Futrell worked alongside Chevalier at Sports Fan Radio Network, which broadcast from 1996 to 2001 in Las Vegas, and considered Chevalier a close friend.

"What I really liked about him was that his view was the fan's view, and he took great pride in that," Futrell said.

"When I think of Las Vegas sports talk radio, I think of Joe and Lee Pete. They were the legends, and within the last two years, we have lost them both."

Chevalier was born and raised in Pittsburgh but made his name in Las Vegas. He eventually moved to Chicago, where "The Papa Joe Show" was nationally syndicated by the Sporting News Radio Network until 2005.

Before returning to Las Vegas, Chevalier became known for "Bite Me Wednesday," in which he would encourage fans to call in and air grievances, and his show was featured in "Sports Talk: A Journey Inside the World of Sports Talk Radio," a 2001 book by Alan Eisenstock about the genre's growing popularity.

Art Chevalier said his brother was the same person off the air as on it, which resonated with his fans and friends.

"He didn't mince words, and that's why people loved him," Art Chevalier said. "You might not agree with him, but you knew where he stood."

Joe Chevalier was single and lived alone in Las Vegas. Plans for a service or memorial are pending.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.