A sad day for broadcasting in this province and this country. Media pioneer Geoff Stirling has passed away. The founder and Chairman of the board of Newfoundland Broadcasting passed away peacefully overnight. He was 92. A star athlete, Geoff Stirling's career in Journalism began the 1940's. He founded the Sunday Herald in 1946, spawning what would become a media empire in this province, which also included NTV and OZ FM. He is a legend in the industry, and was a key political player as the province wrestled with confederation. He will be remembered as one of the country's most innovative media and business figures. Geoff is predeceased by his daughter Kimberly Stirling and his brother Bruce Stirling. He leaves to mourn with so many loving, happy memories, his wife of 56 years, Joyce Cutler Stirling, Children: Scott Stirling (Judy), Anne Stirling, Greg Stirling, Shawn Stirling Schuck (Kevin), Jean Fox Stirling; Grandchildren: Jesse Stirling, Geoffrey Stirling Jr., Lydia McLaughlin (Doug), Kaitlin Schuck, Hannah Schuck, Weston Schuck, Abbey Joy Stirling, Aiden Stirling, Luke Stirling; Great grandchildren: Stirling & Maverick McLaughlin; Brother: Rex Stirling Sister: Enid Jones; Brother in Law: Craig Cutler (Victoria). Special thanks to a loyal, devoted and deeply appreciated friend LANEY SMITH. Mr. Stirling wanted to specifically express his appreciation and gratitude to the loyal employees of Stirling Communications; each and everyone had a place in his heart. Geoff Stirling will be best known for his pioneering work in radio and for bringing commercial television to Newfoundland and Labrador . He does however cast a much longer shadow than that. In the 1940's in Newfoundland he was a track and field star and introduced a new high jump technique known as "the western roll" to the sport. When the great debate over Responsible Government and the future of Newfoundland began Mr. Stirling campaigned with Ches Crosbie and Don Jamieson in a movement that sought an economic union with the United States. When Newfoundland decided to go in the direction of Confederation with Canada Geoff Stirling turned to the communications business. He partnered with Don Jamieson to open CJON radio in 1950 in premises on Prince of Wales Street in St John's . In 1955 Newfoundland Broadcasting opened CJON Television which has become the current NTV Network . As part of that broadcasting career Geoff Stirling was involved in the groundbreaking National Film Board feature Waiting for Fidel in which a journey to Cuba with his friend Joseph R. Smallwood in search of an interview with Cuban Premier Fidel Castro was documented. Mr. Smallwood and Mr. Stirling often appeared on television to discuss the issues facing the province. It was in television where Geoff Stirling pushed the boundaries of broadcasting . He began innovative and experimental work in 24 hour television, an idea that has become industry standard today. He also the opened doors of his television network to political debate in a way never seen before in the province. He himself often spoke out on late night television on matters of public concern . Always in the vanguard of technological advance Geoff Stirling also brought to Newfoundland the first FM radio station when he opened CHOZ known today as OZ FM Radio. In his life Geoff Stirling had many careers . He was an athlete and a publisher, a political activist and a broadcaster all of which were duly recognized by his induction in the Canadian Halls of Fame for broadcasting, sports and business as well as the Royal St. John's Regatta Hall of Fame. When he was awarded the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador John Crosbie , a one time political foe said of him …Geoff Stirling left deep footprints in the Newfoundland landscape. Resting at Carnell's Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, visitation will take place on Thursday January 2, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Friday January 3, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Funeral Service will take place from St. Thomas' Anglican Church, 8 Military Road on Saturday January 4, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Geoff's memory to the Janeway Children's Hospital. To send a message of condolence or to sign the memorial guest book, please visit www.carnells.com
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Published in National Post on Dec. 28, 2013