With great sadness that I’m sharing the news of Great Uncle Colin’s passing on November 28, 2013 just before 4pm at St. Pat’s. His daughters, Glenna, Robyn, and Nancy have been home in Newfoundland for the last little while, and have been by their father’s side through everything with the support of family.
Times like these are melancholy, but also filled with reflection and I have been no exception to that rule over the last number of days. When I was young, Glenna’s son and I were very close – we spent summers together in Swift Current, we were a trick or treating duo at Halloween, and also got into the occasional mischief.
I vividly remember sleepovers that usually included renting a VHS, a fun-style supper, and pumping up an air mattress to watch the film on in the middle of the living room. Uncle Colin and Auntie Joan were often there in the background – smiling and always pleasant – they shared one of the most genuine connections and love that I’ve ever seen. I remember Uncle Colin always sitting in a comfy chair, much the same as I imagine my grandfather would have been, taking in the warmth of the family scene.
He was quiet, and in those times – being a child – I didn’t take pause to really develop what you’d consider a deep connection. But, as I got older that changed. I got into the habit of religiously looking for and picking up new issues of 50 Plus, a newspaper that Uncle Colin edited and published for years, every time I was at a supermarket. I was in my early teens and hardly the target audience, but I sought it out with a sense of pride because was a publication my very own Uncle produced and even recall showing it off and telling others about it because of that.
Our relationship further evolved when I started research for the documentary I’d eventually make about his brother, my grandfather. I knew the two of them had been involved in the inner-workings of operating CJON, but I learned so much more through that process. The hour and a half that we shared conversing about our family for that film will always be a treasured time for me, and I’m sorry that it was so late in life that it occurred.
He told me about how they were interested in drama and theatre when they were young, and how he would produce plays my grandfather wanted to be in. Uncle Colin talked about their days of making News Cavalcade together, the behind-the-scenes preparation, and his memories of my grandfather during those times. Uncle Colin loved the thrill of broadcasting, he was wholly invested in publishing, and enjoyed theatre as a young man. I learned we had way more in common than I ever imagined.
I trust that both he and Auntie Joan are now reunited. The two of them probably have dinner plans with my grandparents, Barbara and Don – breaking out the brandy and sherry, sharing a cigar and many great memories.