HAMILTON, Donald M.E.
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March 13, 1932 - December 2, 2012
Career Broadcaster, Conservative
Don passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 2 in Victoria with family by his side. Don started out life in Pembroke, Ont., the eldest of two children of Manford, a civil servant, and Stella (Ross), a nurse. The family moved to Toronto, where Don attended Lawrence Park Collegiate and completed the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson Polytechnic. Following early posts as a radio announcer at CFCH in North Bay and CJKL in Kirkland Lake, Don's industriousness, combined with a brash and exuberant personality, soon marked him for a rapid rise to the upper ranks of Canada's broadcast industry. The path included eight years at CKOY in Ottawa, where he rose to Director of Advertising and Sales. He married Pat Kenny, the producer and congenial voice behind the station's flagship morning show, Jay and Ginger; soon afterward a first son, Jeffrey Ross, arrived. Next stop for the family was London, where Don excelled as General Manager of radio station CKSL, and a daughter, Leslie Anne, was born. The year 1961 saw a big move west with Don's recruitment by the Prairie-based Moffat Broadcasting group to its fledgling station in Vancouver, CKLG. The family set down new roots in North Vancouver and welcomed a third child, Russell James. For two decades Don developed and led CKLG and its sister station, CFOX FM, to unprecedented success in Vancouver's competitive rock music market, establishing a profitable base for the expansion of the Moffat group into television and cable acquisitions.
Don's business and media acumen were not limited to broadcasting, but underscored a lifelong engagement in community and national affairs. He served multiple terms as vice-president of the Progressive Conservative Party's national executive and as BC campaign chair for Robert Stanfield in 1972, Joe Clark in 1979, and Brian Mulroney in 1988. He was instrumental in the formation of Broadcast News, a subsidiary of Canadian Press dedicated to radio newscasting, and was for several years the Canadian delegate to the Uruguay-based Inter-American Broadcasters Association.
At the end of the 1970s, Don left CKLG and formed his own consultancy, General Communications, which led to exciting posts with BC's Open Learning Agency, Knowledge Network, the Vancouver Centennial Commission, Expo 86, the 1994 Commonwealth Games, Lotto Canada, numerous corporate boards, and the launch of his own station, AM-1040, which he sold a few years later. From 1989-95 he served on the CBC Board of Directors.
Above all he will be remembered as an affable, kind, and proud Canadian, bursting with creative energy, who loved to share his experience in stories, speeches and his extensive written memoirs. He endured tragedy with the loss of his beloved Pat in 1983 and son Jeff in 1987. A second marriage to Moneca Litton ended amicably after fourteen years. Don is survived by sister Susanne (Guy Bauer) of Guelph, daughter Leslie (John Meredith) of Victoria, son Russell (Carolyn Sevos) of New York, grandchildren Marlon, Colin, Corey, and Ashley, and great- grandchildren Alice and Theodore.
The family extends its profound appreciation to the fine staff at Selkirk Place in Victoria, where Don spent his final happy years. A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, January 19, in Vancouver. For details, please contact the family at firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of BC.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Dec. 13, 2012