Opinion

Hodge: Two deceased Okanagan pioneers fondly remembered

Last month was tarnished (for me) by the sad news that Kelowna has lost two more quality characters in Graham Takoff and Myrtie Reid.

Both top notch people of pioneer Okanagan stock.

While Takoff was certainly better known by the public as the publisher of the Capital News, both of them touched a lot of lives—despite their almost opposite experiences and lifestyles.

It was my true pleasure and honour to know them each on a personal level.

Takoff, the hardworking son-in-law of Capital News founder Les Kerry, spent the majority of his life as assistant publisher and then publisher of this newspaper. While many attributes and stories about Graham have already been penned, let me add a few personal thoughts here of my own.

Graham was a quality character who loved his job as publisher and, unlike the majority of newspaper publishers today, kept his nose out of the newsroom and let editors run the news end of things. However, he was also fearlessly loyal to all of his staff, from the backshop and press workers to the advertising sales people and layout department to the wackos in the newsroom.

I had the pleasure of being the first full-time reporter hired at the Capital News (after Graham worked for his father-in-law in that role briefly), and the Capital News crew back then were truly family to me. It was largely due to Graham that we all felt so close and there was little staff turnover.

Naturally, we always complained about the boss, because that’s what employees tend to do, but we always knew Graham was there for us no matter what. I drove him crazy, of that I am confident. Despite my unpredictable antics and numerous law suits, Graham always welcomed me back into the fold during my four or five (even I have lost count) separate departures and returns to the newsroom.

When I think of Graham, I will always recall his wry smile as I would unravel some tale of why I was late, hung over, paying another parking ticket, in court instead of covering court, or discovered sleeping in the office. In all truth I probably aged the man greatly.

Thank you ‘Mr. T.’

Myrtie Reid was a kind, quiet, unassuming woman who put her family before anything and everything else. A true gem, Myrtie loved to have company visit her humble home and cluttered farm in the Okanagan Mission area and her gentle persona was always a warming and calming influence.

She had to be, as she raised four real character boys Wally, Archie, Keith and Frazer.

The true glue of the infamous Reid clan, Myrtie was loved by all who had the good fortune to meet her.

She passed away Dec. 15 at age 97. A memorial celebration will be held sometime this spring.

•••

On a more pleasant note, my dear friend and talented singer/songwriter Jane Eamon has put her artistic skills into a different genre of late and her hard work has paid off.

Recently, Eamon had the thrill of seeing her words published in a book format rather than song lyrics.

Titled The Songwriter’s Voice—Conversations with Contemporary Artists, the 176-page paperback creation published by Manor House is an interesting delve into the world of song writing through the eyes and brains of 26 professional songwriters from Canada and the U.S.

Included in the question and answer format read are local musicians Barry Mathers, Norm Strauss and Andrew Smith.

•••

With Super Bowl weekend ahead of us (Tez watches for the commercials), it’s only natural that we should all be concerned with the big news out of the Canadian Football League.

The ultimate question on everyone’s mind, (of course) is what should the expansion team in Ottawa be named?

Since the green and white guys in Saskabush have long been tagged the Roughriders it seems silly for the reincarnated Ottawa club to use that team tag yet again.

Apparently Ottawa pigskin pushers are not keen on Ottawa Red-Black, Ottawa Rush, or Ottawa Voyageurs. Hmm…imagine that.

My suggestions include Ottawa Government That Doesn’t Work, Ottawa Hull-Bashers, or Ottawa Goes To Sleep at 9 p.m. Feel free to make a suggestion, although in the true spirit of what Ottawa really thinks, remember they don’t really care what you think.

 

 

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