Sign-Offs

Joe Schlesinger, 90, on Feb. 11.

Joe Schlesinger
Joel Schlesinger

Born in Vienna, Schlesinger spent his early childhood in the former Czechoslovakia. As the Third Reich rose to power, Schlesinger’s parents decided to send an 11-year-old Schlesinger and his brother Ernie, 9, to a study program in Britain for Jewish children in 1939. Their parents were later killed in the Holocaust. Schlesinger and his brother returned to Czechoslovakia after the war, where he took a job with The Associated Press in Prague in 1948. In the era of post-war Communism, Schlesinger inevitably ended up in Vancouver in 1950 as a refugee. He took work as a waiter and construction worker before enrolling at the University of British Columbia, where much of his time was spent at the campus newspaper. Eventually that led to a job with the Toronto Star, followed by UPI London, and the Herald Tribune in Paris, before he returned to Canada to work with the CBC in 1966. While he worked his way up to management, Schlesinger made the decision to return to field where he would go on to cover many key events of the 20th century as a foreign correspondent including Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China, the Iranian Revolution, the Contra war in Nicaragua, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and the first Persian Gulf war, among many others. Schlesinger retired in 1994, but continued to contribute to CBC as a correspondent and an occasional columnist for CBCNews.ca until 2015. He was inducted into the CBC News Hall of Fame in 2016.

Mike Cleaver

Mike Cleaver, 72, on Feb. 10, of kidney disease.

Cleaver started his broadcasting career in his hometown of Kelowna right out of high school where he developed a passion for radio early on and was part of the Radio Drama Club. From 1961-67, Cleaver worked as an announcer, news reader and engineer at CKOV. From there, he made the move to CJOC Radio and TV Lethbridge, moving on in 1970 to read morning news at CKXL Calgary. Cleaver joined the newsroom at 1050 CHUM Toronto a year later where he’d stay until 1976. That was followed by an eight-year run at CJCA/CIRK-FM Edmonton, before he returned to CHUM as the news and assignment editor in 1984. Cleaver held that role for 10 years, before joining CFRB and later CFTR Toronto, eventually making the move to the CHUM Group in Ottawa in 1999. He returned to the West Coast in 2001, joining CJNW and CKNW Vancouver as a news anchor, up until 2005. He also held roles as a news writer at CTV Vancouver and was an instructor in the radio program at BCIT. He passed just days ahead of his 73rd birthday on Feb. 19.

Harris Sullivan

Harris Sullivan, 80, on Feb. 7 of cancer.

Born in Richibucto, NB, Sullivan began his journalism career while still in his teens, spending the summer months in the newsroom of the Moncton Times-Transcript. He joined the paper full-time in 1956 as an editor, reporter and columnist, and by the age of 19 was named news editor. Sullivan moved to Halifax in the 1960s, getting his feet wet as a sportscaster, reporter and producer at CJCH Radio and Television. He also hosted and executive produced daily supper hour news program “ID.” He went on to work briefly with CFCF-TV Montreal, before joining CBC TV in 1974 where he spent eight years as a reporter, host and field producer in Halifax and Toronto. In 1982, he joined ATV (now CTV) Halifax as Executive Producer and was eventually named Director of News and Public Affairs. He retired to New Brunswick in 1992, finding a new outlet as “The Bongo Poet.” He published three books of poems: Taking Notes, Voices and Good Intentions, accompanying himself on bongo drums during his live readings. He also released a CD of his live poetry.

Robert ‘Bob’ Bliss Manship

Robert ‘Bob’ Bliss Manship, 88, on Feb. 5.

Manship grew up in Antigonish, NS and after completing high school and a year at St. F-X University, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Ultimately his passion for radio led him to  seek out a career in broadcasting with stints at CJFX Antigonish and later CBC, CJCB and CHER in Sydney. With a lifelong interest in electronics, Manship was also an avid ham radio operator.

Lawrence (Laurie) Mills

Lawrence (Laurie) Mills, 80, on Feb. 2.

Mills was an announcer with CBC for 35 years, starting in 1964 at CFPR Prince Rupert, BC.  He moved to CBC Calgary in 1973. Among the programs he hosted was “Country Style” on CBC Radio One. He retired in 1996 and remained active with a number of volunteer organizations including the Calgary Boxing & Wrestling Commission, Calgary Vintage Motorcycle Group, and the Foothills Bluegrass Society.

Tom Houston

Tom Houston, 85, on Jan. 22.

Houston was a long-serving engineer with CBC, initially at the public broadcaster’s engineering headquarters in Montreal, before joining CBC Vancouver as a senior technician in 1966. He retired after 32 years with the station. Houston died aboard his sailboat “Toroa,” while moored in Mazatlan, Mexico.

David Zand

David Zand, 86, on Jan. 20 at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.

Zand graduated in the early 1950s with the first Ryerson Radio and Television class. He initially landed a radio job on-air in Sault Ste. Marie, but returned to Toronto to pursue advertising and marketing. Zand joined Vickers & Benson as the firm’s first sales promotion manager, with clients from Mattel to 7-Up. He later joined Brooks Advertising as vice-president while also teaching Media at Sheridan College one day a week. He went on to form his own company Zand Advertising with clients that included Bulova, Trivial Pursuit, Aurora Toys, Laura Secord, the Heart & Stroke Foundation, and Honda, among others. The business evolved into FC&D Advertising when son Carl and daughter Fern joined the firm, eventually joined by daughter Cindy and wife Rose. Zand built a reputation for quick wit, creative flair and the ability to entertain his clients, who inevitably became friends – among them Bill Evanov of the Evanov Radio Group.