Michael Blythe KESTERTON

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KESTERTON, Michael Blythe Michael Blythe Kesterton, 72, passed away December 5, 2018, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Toronto after a long battle with pneumonia and Parkinson's Disease. Michael retired from the Toronto Globe and Mail in 2013 after 23 years as the editor of the column Social Studies, a daily miscellany of information. The column spawned two books, dedicated to "brain snacks": Social Studies (1996) and The Twelve Best Months of the Year (1997). Michael was born April 12, 1946 in Hythe, Hampshire, England. His father, Maurice (Mike) Hughes Kesterton, a Canadian RAF radar technician had met and married Irish-born, Kathleen Mary Marshall, a WAAF, the previous year. Mike Kesterton was released from the Services first, and forced to leave his pregnant wife behind in England. Maurice's brother, Wilfred, an officer in the Canadian Army was still serving overseas, giving him the chance to watch over the young bride and her child. Wilfred would eventually become a founding member of Carleton University's Journalism School, known for his books, A History of Journalism in Canada and The Law and the Press in Canada. Kathleen and the 5-month old Michael, left Liverpool on the ship Empire Brent, destined for Halifax in the company of other war brides and their infants. Michael spent his first 10 years in Regina, Saskatchewan, his family later moving to Michigan for 3 years before returning north of the border to Toronto. Influenced by his grandfather, Ernest Harold, Manager of Underwood Typewriter in Regina, his father Mike, a photojournalist and magazine editor, and his Uncle Wilfred, a journalist and later Professor of Journalism, it was natural for Michael to sharpen his writing skills at the U of T before moving on to The Globe and Mail, first as a proofreader, then a computer operator, later a contributor to The Report on Business. A Eureka moment for Michael's editor, Bill Thorsell, moved Michael into the role as editor of his own column, Social Studies, where he nourished a wide following of readers with daily "brain snacks" dedicated to anything strange, amazing and curious. Some suggested that the topics actually meant something. Readers turned first to Michael's column at the back of the first section to get their grey matter warmed with the delights of never-ending obscure and thought-provoking trivia. There had never been anything like this before. After retiring in 2013, Michael was overcome by ill-health. Developing Parkinson's Disease in 2015, he spent his time reading, writing and tending to his extensive library. Michael is survived by his brother, David and sister-in-law, Pilar, both of Toronto. Friends may call at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W. (east of the Jane subway) on Saturday, December 15, 2018 from 2 p.m. until the time of the service at 3 p.m. in the Chapel. In memory of Michael Kesterton, donations to Parkinson Canada would be appreciated.

Funeral Home
Turner & Porter Funeral Directors - Yorke Chapel
2357 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M6S 1P4
(416) 767-3153
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Published in the Toronto Star on Dec. 10, 2018
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