Geri Smith, 60, on March 2. Smith’s broadcasting career got underway in 1983 with a stint at CFTJ in Cambridge, ON as a DJ. She went on to work in Kitchener, before joining the Canadian Press (CP) in June 1988. Smith would go on to a 35-year career as a newscaster and editor with the wire service, with her voice recognizable to radio listeners across the country. Smith was on leave from CP at the time of her passing.
Helen Donnelly Hutchinson, 89, on Feb. 21. A year after her graduation from University of British Columbia, a young Helen Donnelly married CFL player Jack Hutchinson. The couple moved to Saskatchewan and later Winnipeg where Jack accepted a position with CBC Radio following the conclusion of his football career in the late ‘50s. Helen joined the public broadcaster as a book reviewer in the late 1960s, the start of a long broadcast career that led her to be dubbed “Canada’s answer to Barbara Walters.” Helen was one of the first Canadian women to build national recognition in television news, hosting CTV’s Canada AM from 1973-79, alongside Norm Perry, and later W5 from 1979-87, with co-hosts Henry Champ, Jim Reed and Bill Cunningham. She also made history as the first woman to conduct game night interviews on Hockey Night in Canada when she was drafted by Executive Producer Ralph Mellanby to be part of the broadcast. In 1975, she won an ACTRA award for Best Public Affairs Broadcaster. It’s estimated she travelled to 89 countries during the course of her broadcast career.