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1940 - 2013
Neil passed over on May 19, 2013 peacefully and surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife, Donna Jacobs, their daughter Jessie (Arthur O'Neil) Reynolds and his daughter and son, Deborah (Tom) Kirkland and Warren (Holly) Reynolds, from a previous marriage to Connie Grass Bradley. He also leaves five grandchildren: Kate, Michael and Annie Kirkland and Chesley and Joshua Reynolds. Predeceased by his brother Glenn and Glenn's his first wife, Reta, he leaves Glenn's second wife, Joy, his brother Dale, sister-in-law Joan and their two daughters Carla Reynolds and Brenda Magel.
He was born May 28, 1940 in Kingston, Ontario to a Free Methodist minister, Verona- born Clarke Wallace Reynolds and Margaret Luella Martin of Holleford. Neil was the youngest of three sons. The family moved many times (Westport, Tichborne, Peterborough, Kingston, Newmarket and Toronto). He attended elementary and secondary schools in Kingston and Newmarket. Neil met his first wife, Connie, in high school at Lorne Park College in Toronto. They were married in 1959 and one year later, his daughter, Deborah, was born. Two years later, his son, Warren, was born. In 1982, he married Donna Jacobs, a fellow Kingston Whig-Standard journalist, and they have a daughter, Jessie. His family grew to include his five terrific grandchildren.
Neil always loved the written word, particularly those involving history and politics. As a boy, he not only delivered newspapers in Kingston (The Whig-Standard and the Toronto Star). He started the Macdonald Dial at the Sir John A. Macdonald elementary school in Kingston - writing, selling advertisements, printing and distributing the paper himself. Pierre Berton visited the school and his praise for Neil's newspaper further inspired him to pursue journalism. He continued, with newspapers such as Newmarket High School's High Times.
Spanning half a century, Neil's journalism career equally spanned the country. Working his way from The Whig-Standard and Toronto Star newspaper delivery boy in Kingston, to editor-in-chief of several of Canada's largest newspapers, he was a hands-on newsroom editor. He started his newsroom career at the Sarnia Observer (where, at age 17, he interviewed Prime Minister Diefenbaker) and the London Free Press. He moved to the Toronto Star as an editor and left as deputy managing editor for the Kingston Whig-Standard.
At The Whig, under publisher Michael Davies, for many of the 15 years (1978-1992) he worked there, he was editor-in-chief. His time there yielded many journalism awards and many honours to the paper, including seven nominations for The Governor- General's Award (the Michener Award), Canada's highest award for public-interest journalism. In the early 1980s, Neil accepted leadership of the Libertarian Party of Canada. After his one-year venture into politics, he returned to journalism, having much missed it, by rejoining The Whig-Standard.
Then, moving from Ontario to New Brunswick, he was appointed by JK Irving as editor and then editor and publisher of New Brunswick's provincial newspaper The Telegraph Journal and the Saint John Times Globe. When he returned to Brunswick News in 2009, he worked for JK's son, Jim (JD), who by then assumed, from his father, oversight of the full media business, Brunswick News Inc. During this time, Neil held the title of editor-at- large providing editorial oversight for the company, as well as providing guidance and mentoring Jim's son Jamie, who is now serving as Vice President and Publisher at Brunswick News. During his time there, The Telegraph Journal was awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Excellence in Journalism Award.
Back to Ontario, Neil picked up the reins at the Ottawa Citizen as the paper's editor-in- chief from 1997-2000. He was hired by Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel to turn the paper into, said Mr. Black, one worthy of the capital city of a G8 nation, and re-launched it to critical acclaim. During his term there, the Citizen was awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Excellence in Journalism Award.
Moving to the country's west coast, he became the editor-in-chief of The Vancouver Sun. After an informal retirement, Neil resumed work in Ottawa. He became co- publisher, with his wife Donna Jacobs, of Diplomat and International Canada magazine, working with editor Jennifer Campbell and magazine designer Paul Cavanaugh. And Neil began work as a columnist for the Globe and Mail, eventually writing for both the Report on Business and OpEd page.
Neil said he felt "honoured" to work for these outstanding publishers and for Globe editor John Stackhouse.
Neil and his family want to extend a heartfelt thank you to family and friends, as well as the doctors, nurses, technicians and aides whose help skill and support gave Neil more time (a true gift) to spend with those he loved and who loved him.
Thank you first to the truly outstanding medical staff that provided Neil with care and treatment over the past year: Dr. Judith Nixon, Dr. Pasteur Rasuli and his fine team, Dr. Tanya Di Valentin (and nurse Fatima), Dr. Rafael Chan (and nurse Olga), Dr. Tim Asmis (and nurse Carol), Dr. Lisa Aldridge and Dr. Beverly Thompson. Also, thank you to the supportive, capable and kind nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy and desk-staff team at 5 East, Ottawa General Hospital. The dozens of superb staff members know how deeply grateful Neil felt towards them. His sincere thanks also extended to the Bayshore Home Health nursing and care team, including Claire, Marie and Curt, as well as to OT Krista Fine and the CCAC, particularly Amanda McClelland.
Visitation and fellowship at the Trousdale Funeral Home in Sydenham, Ont., 4374 Mill Street, will be held this coming Thursday, May 23, from 5-6 p.m. for family, and from 6-9 p.m for both family and friends.
A brief graveside funeral service for family will be held at the Verona Cemetery in Verona, Ont., 6804 Main Street (County Rd #38), at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 24. It will be followed at 12 noon by visitation and fellowship, with refreshments, for both friends and family at the nearby Verona Free Methodist Church.
Instead of flowers, if you wish, Neil asked for donations to one of the following: Nature Conservancy Canada, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, the Ottawa Humane Society and the Verona Free Methodist Church.
IN THE CARE OF TROUSDALE FUNERAL HOME
4374 MILL STREET, SYDENHAM ONTARIO
Online condolences available at www.trousdalefuneralhome.com
Published in The Ottawa Citizen on May 22, 2013