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Lawrie Joslin, a retired associate editor of the Calgary Herald and one-time city editor of the Victoria Daily Colonist, died in Victoria, B.C. on November 6, 2012 at age 91.
His 50-year professional career took him to newspapers in Toronto, Calgary and Victoria, starting as a reporter with The Toronto Daily Star. Next stop The Colonist in Victoria.
As a Colonist reporter he wrote a series of articles that resulted in establishment of the city manager office at city hall. Later while still covering city hall he uncovered a plan to use an old brickyard where Mayfair Mall is now located, between Douglas and Blanshard Streets, as a site for a city garbage dump. The plan was eventually abandoned after widespread opposition developed.
Before leaving the Colonist in 1963 Joslin was appointed city editor and subsequently news editor. He joined the Calgary Herald as an editorial writer. He retired in 1986 as associate editor after helping steer the paper's editorial policies for the previous ten years in collaboration with successive publishers Frank Swanson and Pat O'Callaghan.
Joslin's byline appeared weekly for 23 years on a personal-opinion column on the Herald's editorial page. In 1983 he became the only Canadian to be elected president of the then Washington, D.C. - based National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW), an organization dedicated to improving the quality of newspaper editorial and op-ed pages across North America. He accepted as common sense that Canada's business and political well-being, national security and even sovereignty is tied inevitably to friendly relations with the United States. But he credited his U.S. professional associations with strengthening his Canadian roots.
Calgary became a focus for U.S. editors in 1977 when Joslin brought the NCEW to Calgary for its annual meeting, it's first outside the U.S. It has met since in Vancouver and Ottawa. Joslin arranged a meeting agenda to give American editors a fuller understanding of Canada's history, politics, culture and industry and their importance to the U.S.
Joslin was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and received his early education in nearby Leduc. He graduated in Arts from the University of Alberta, majoring in English and British history. He joined the Toronto Star after leaving the Canadian Navy at the end of the Second World War. A journalistic bent showed as a youth when Joslin began writing reports about student activities at Strathcona Composite High School for The Edmonton Journal. Following retirement from the Herald he wrote a weekly column, year-round, for seven years about Canadian affairs for The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, California.
Joslin's survivors are his daughter Jodi Thomas (Terry), grandchildren Bill Thomas (Eneida) and Julie Thomas (Mike Harris); great-grandchildren Mark, Amelia and Katie Thomas and Evan and Emily Harris of Sylvan Lake and Red Deer, Alberta; daughter-in- law Dorothy Field and grandson Matthew Joslin of Edmonton; sister, June-Ray Matthews-Pulford of North Vancouver. He was predeceased by his wife and best friend of sixty years, Janetta, a brother, Bev, and sister, Marion Hedley.
Jan and Lawrie lost their son Mark to lymphoma cancer in 1996. A gifted artist, he was a well-known art gallery curator in Edmonton and Calgary.
Among survivors are extended family in Victoria: niece Heather Frost and husband David; grandnephew Jason Frost, his wife Sheilah and their son Grayson, grandniece Jana Sexton and her husband Steve, and their son Tyler, grandniece Jodi Thompson and her husband Mike, and their daughters Laila and Madeline.
Lawrie will also be missed by his friends at Berwick Royal Oak, most notably Esther Mitchell.
Following retirement in Victoria Joslin volunteered in various years for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Navy Museum in Esquimalt, Friends of B.C. Government House, Sail and Life Training Society and Victoria Downtown Tourism Ambassadors.
A celebration of life was held on Thursday, November 8, 2012 in Victoria, BC. In lieu of flowers remembrance donations may be made to a charity of choice or the Mark Joslin Memorial (bursary) Award, c/o Ms Beverly Sawchuk, Grant MacEwan University, City Centre Campus, 10700 - 104 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 4S2.
Published in The Calgary Herald from Nov. 9 to Nov. 10, 2012