Sign-Offs

John Skelly

John Skelly, 89, peacefully on June 8.  Skelly spent several years in the family farming business with the Skelly Tomato Cannery in      Kamloops before taking a job as an all-night Saturday DJ, in addition to sales, at CJCA Edmonton in 1957. In 1959 he bought CKYL Peace River, then CKNL Fort St. John. He went on to found Radio NL (CHNL-AM) Kamloops and served as its president and GM from 1970 to 1982. Skelly’s Sunday Showcase radio show allowed him to indulge in his love of jazz, swing and big band music and play homage to his idol Frank Sinatra. Before retirement in the late 90s, Skelly spent eight years in real estate sales and served as an alderman on Kamloops City Council from 1984-88. Among the accomplishments he was proud of while on council was helping bring Sunday shopping to Kamloops.

Don Cameron

Don Cameron, 82, on June 7 after a brief illness. Best known as the longtime voice of the Kitchener Rangers, Cameron was born to a family of 17 in Summerside, P.E.I. He got his start covering local senior hockey team the Summerside Aces for CJRW in 1956. He then moved to CKTB St. Catharines, where he covered the Jr. A Teepees. Cameron arrived in Kitchener in 1958 as sports director for CKCR and later CKKW, covering the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen. The Ontario Hockey League Rangers franchise landed in Kitchener in 1963 and Cameron went on to call 4,000 games and two Memorial Cup titles on 570 News (CKGL-AM), before he retired in 2015 after half a century in the press box. Referred to as “The Legend” or “Cammy” by fans, he continued to return for the odd game. His final call was last season’s 4-3 overtime win for the Rangers against Sault Ste. Marie in Game 6 of the OHL’s western conference final.

Menno Friesen

Menno H. Friesen, 72, on June 9. Friesen worked for Golden West Broadcasting, based out of Altona, MB, for nearly 30 years and played a vital role in the company’s growth. He retired in 2010 as VP of Sales and Marketing. Friesen was involved in many community causes, including the local sports scene. He was part of the Altona Maroons organization of the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League as a both a player and member of the team executive. He was also involved in fundraising for seniors housing and one of the driving forces behind the construction of a new community ball park.

James (Jim/Kiwi) Macdonald

James Macdonald, 87, on May 29. After working briefly at the Shell Oil Company, Macdonald was hired by CHWK Radio Chilliwack, writing commercials and playing piano “live” at noon. He worked his way into the newsroom and got a scoop in Dec. 1956, when acting on a tip, he reported that fuselage wreckage from the Trans-Canada Air Lines crash had been discovered by a mountaineer on Mt. Slesse, near Chilliwack. He was promptly hired away by CKWX-AM. After covering the crime beat and working as a city hall reporter, Macdonald became a talk show host and interviewer known for his ability to use the pregnant pause to get his guests to open up. He went on to become a familiar face on Channel 8. Macdonald eventually returned to Chilliwack and co- founded the Answer Cabaret with Bill Wosk. After selling the business, he became a food and beverage executive with the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel for 14 years. Later, he was manager of the Lougheed Hotel in Vancouver and opened the Suites at Conference Plaza. Macdonald had been retired to Ladner, BC since 2000.

Victor Hayes

Victor Hayes, 70, on May 23. Hayes was a veteran journalist who worked as a wire service editor with the Canadian Press and Broadcast News from 1978-88. He went on to teach public relations at Humber and Seneca Colleges after working as the director of public affairs for the Canada Chinese Business Council.

Gary Bell

Gary Bell, on June 4 after a battle with cancer. Bell aka “Spaceman” was the longtime host of “A View From Space,” his long-running Saturday night conspiracy show that aired on Talk Radio AM 640 (CFMJ-AM) Toronto. Corus Entertainment pulled the show in November after Bell delved into material that Corus deemed anti-semitic. Bell’s show ran Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. during the NHL season, and from 8 p.m. to midnight in the off-season. He was also known for his on-air work at CFTR-AM Toronto where he worked as a late night jock from the late 1970s to the early 90s. Prior to CFTR, Bell was at CKGM-AM Montreal.

Walter Hartwig, 88, on June 7 in Kelowna. Hartwig was the longtime director of photography at CFRN-TV Edmonton, dating back to the darkroom era. He joined CFRN in the late 1950s.