Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Knowlton Nash a 'Great Journalist,' 'Believer in Public Broadcasting'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Knowlton Nash a 'Great Journalist,' 'Believer in Public Broadcasting'

Article excerpt

Knowlton Nash celebrated at funeral

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TORONTO - Revered anchorman Knowlton Nash was remembered Wednesday as a devoted family man and top-notch journalist who always had time to help a colleague and steadfastly believed in the CBC.

Peter Mansbridge, Lloyd Robertson and Sen. Pamela Wallin were among the broadcasting stars who attended a funeral for the man known affectionately to viewers of "The National" as "Uncle Knowlty." Nash died Saturday at age 86 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

"Knowlton chose to share his life with his family," said his grandson, Rev. Jesse Parker, adding that although Nash once braved war zones to deliver the news, he was even braver in real life.

"That braveness lives on in our lives, in the life of the CBC, in the life of Canada, in all the lives that Knowlton chose to share his life with."

Others who packed Grace Church on the Hill in the city's leafy Forest Hill neighbourhood included CBC journalist Alison Smith and former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson.

At the front of the church, a framed photo of Nash sat next to a pale blue broadcast video box containing his remains. Outside, Mansbridge said that it took some time to find the vintage box, but it was the broadcaster's wish.

"As a friend, as a colleague, as a mentor, all of those things, he was an incredibly kind person. He was willing to share his time and knowledge with not just me, but with anyone who wanted it," he said.

Mansbridge, who also acted as a pallbearer, said it was like a "hall of fame" inside with all the CBC personalities who had come to pay tribute. He said Nash had thought hard about the future of the struggling public broadcaster in the final years of his life.

"He's going to be remembered as a great journalist, a real believer in public broadcasting and the CBC," he said. "That never left him. He was passionate about the corporation in the good times and the difficult times."

Nash started his news career before the age of 10, when he created his own weekly newspaper and sold ad space to local merchants in exchange for bubble gum and chocolate. By the Second World War, Nash was hawking the Toronto Star and Telegram on a Toronto street corner.

He went on to have a 37-year career with the public broadcaster, including a stint as a Washington correspondent in which he interviewed Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. During his years helming "The National," between 1978 and 1988, the news program became an unassailable jewel in the CBC's lineup.

Nash's large family, including wife Lorraine Thomson-Nash, as well as children and grandchildren, warmly welcomed supporters inside the church.

Parker recalled one night when a complete stranger embraced Nash, yelling, "It's Knowlton Nash, the Walter Cronkite of Canada!"

Nash quickly quipped back, "Well, at least I'm the Knowlton Nash of Canada. …

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