Peter Watts, 68, on Jan. 18, following an aneurysm in December. Born in Kingston, ON, Watts attended Queen’s University, where while studying history and politics, he found himself in the booth at campus station CRFC, while also managing the university football and hockey teams. Watts would go on to positions at CKWS-TV Kingston, hosting news, weather and sports, and host CKLC radio show “Kingston Today.” He arrived at CBC Sports in Edmonton in 1977 where he reported on the Edmonton Eskimos Grey Cup runs and the arrival of Wayne Gretzky to the Oilers. He joined TSN’s SportsDesk as one of the original anchors, starting in 1984. In 1998, Watts landed at the Corus Radio network and 770 CHQR Calgary where he produced and hosted provincewide weekend morning show The Alberta Morning News, which also aired on 630 CHED Edmonton. He would go on to a 20-year run with the show, always signing off with “go out and make it a safe and happy day.” The Calgary Flames paid tribute to Watts before their Friday night game against the Detroit Red Wings with a video tribute and moment of silence.
Marion Schwarz, 92, on Jan. 11 of pneumonia. Schwarz was the host of “The Bubbie Break” on CHEX-TV Peterborough from 1991-96, a show featuring the Jewish grandmother dispensing advice and welcoming guests. Despite the fact, it was slotted against NFL Football on Sunday afternoons, the show flourished. A huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan, Schwarz put in requests to interview players and their grandmothers which led to episodes featuring Doug Gilmour and then-coach Pat Burns. She did the same with the Blue Jays. ”The Bubbie Break – A Grandmother In Any Language Means Love” also aired in a more limited run on The W Network and in some U.S. markets. Raised in Toronto, Schwarz moved to rural Ontario when she married Joe Schwarz of Schwarz Brothers Livestock. In 2011, the Oshawa resident created and voiced an audio book of stories for children based on memories of their farm.
Ernest Tucker, 87, on Jan. 3. Born and raised in Bermuda, Tucker relocated to Toronto at age 14, with his older brother who had won a teacher-training scholarship. He went on to become the first black graduate of the journalism program at Toronto’s Ryerson University in 1954. Unable to find work in Canada, he wrote for the Bermuda Recorder and later The Royal Gazette. One of his pieces caught the attention of an editor at the Toronto Telegram, which brought him back to Canada where he joined the CBC Toronto newsroom in 1961, believed to be the public broadcaster’s first black journalist. Tucker was famously on the desk alone when John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963 and wrote the breaking story that went to air. His quick work ended in a promotion. He later moved to CBC Montreal, covering the FLQ October Crisis, among other big stories of the day, eventually retiring in the mid-1990s. He continued teaching at John Abbott College for 36 years, up until 2008. He authored two books, Underworld Dwellers, published in 1994, and Lost Boundaries in 2004, which tackled the subject of police harassment of black Montrealers.
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