Frank Dolphin


DOLPHIN, Francis (Frank) Joseph
September 13, 1928 – February 5, 2013

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of a great and gentle man, Frank Dolphin, of Edmonton.

Frank lived all his life in Edmonton, though he saw many parts of the world. Frank entered the seminary as a young man, then became a journalist. He worked in radio at CHED, CKUA and CBC, and was founding editor of the Western Catholic Reporter. Many will remember him as the legislative reporter for CBC television. He was also author of several works of popular history. One of his greatest achievements was winning the F.P. Galbraith Award in journalism in 1975.

It was in his vocation as a family man that Frank found his greatest calling. Through God’s grace he met Margaret Hutton and with her as his unfailing partner in life, he surrounded himself with family. Frank was surrounded with family when he peacefully passed away.
Frank was an easygoing, quiet living man who loved children, animals, watching, reading or listening to the news. His was a life of modest example; he practiced what he preached.
Frank is survived by Margaret, his loving wife of 56 years; daughters Berni (John) Martin and Maureen; sons: Tom (Dianne), Pat (Colleen), Paul (Tina) and John; 21 grandchildren all of Edmonton.

Frank was predeceased by his father Thomas, brother John and mother Victoria. Frank was a man of many communities, and had colleagues, acquaintances and friends too numerous to count.

Frank’s family would like to extend grateful thanks to the staff of the University of Alberta Hospital and in particular the extraordinary staff of Capital Care Norwood for their excellent and compassionate care.

A Mass of Christian burial and celebration of Frank’s life will be held at St. Joseph’s Basilica, 10044 – 113 Street N.W., Edmonton, on February 11, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. A viewing will precede the service at 9:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Marian Centre, or a charity of your choice.

“O Master, grant that I may not seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Edmonton Journal, February 8-9, 2013

Passing of Frank Dolphin

by Bill Laing

I knew I’d have to write this unwelcome news at some time, but I had no idea how difficult it is to write about the loss of a long time friend and colleague who has been such a special person to so many of us who knew Frank Dolphin.

Frank passed away just after midnight this morning, February 5th. Marg and many of Frank’s family were with him at his bedside in the University Hospital.

Frank had been hospitalized four times over the last month with pneumonia.

I first met Frank when he and I worked in the newsroom of CHED radio in Edmonton in 1959.  Frank was already a veteran in the Press Gallery at the Alberta Legislature.  We worked together on the Lamont tragedy when a train hit a school bus at a level crossing on a frigid minus 40-degree morning in January 1960, killing 16 students.

Frank was one of the originals in the CBC newsroom when CBXT-TV Edmonton signed on in October 1961.  Frank is the most honest, caring and helpful person I know.  I think everyone who knows him will say the same thing.

Over the years he covered just about every beat and type of story.

I’m sure for him the highlight of his professional life was an assignment to do some stories in Israel.  Frank’s faith wasn’t just a Sunday thing, it guided him every moment of each day.

When Canada repatriated the constitution, Frank was sent to London, and managed to get into the tower of London and get pictures of the original British North America Act, an Act of the British government setting up Canada as a sovereign Dominion in 1867.  He chuckled when he told us about it.  Frank had been denied Access to the document, so he and the cameraman went to the Tower as tourists.  He asked one of the guides where the BNA document was, and the man took him to a desk in the Tower, pulled out a drawer, and left Frank and the cameraman to handle The Original and take whatever pictures they wished!

As a TV journalist, Frank had a great gift for telling compelling stories.  And the people he interviewed always said afterward how they appreciated his fairness, discretion and sensitive reporting.

He also had stints as Editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, and after retiring from CBC, set up a private writing service where his work included the writing of books for clients, including a former cabinet minister.

Frank turned 85 last September.  He is survived by his wife, Margaret, four sons, two daughters and many grandchildren.

Funeral service will be at St. Joseph’s Basilica in Edmonton, on Monday, February 11th at 10:00 a.m.  There is a viewing at 9:00 a.m. and a reception will follow the service. Long time family friend Father Mike McCaffery will officiate.

from an e-mail dated February 5, 2013,
used with the permission of the author


After being raised on the radio version of Hockey Night in Canada, Frank decided he wanted a career in broadcasting. His first job was at CJCA in 1952, writing commercials and radio shows. After about four years, he moved to CKUA as an announcer-operator. CHED opened within a year and Frank accepted an offer to join the news department.

He moved to the CBC when the TV station opened in 1961, doing news reporting and documentaries until 1965. After eight years of using his reporting talents at the Western Catholic Reporter, Frank returned to CBC news, mainly covering the Alberta Legislature.

He worked as a radio and TV news reporter, for the most part covering city and provincial politics, and also as a documentary reporter and producer.

After retiring from the CBC Frank continued to freelance for CBC Radio. He also has written five books about Alberta historical figures and organizations, including a history of the Alberta Legislature.

He found the most interesting aspect of his broadcasting career was being on the scene when events were happening. Such occasions included the visit of Pope John Paul 2 to Edmonton, travelling down the Mackenzie River on a tugboat to film a documentary, and chatting with fascinating people, including the Queen Mother.

Among the lighter moments of his coverage of provincial politics was when Frank went to Montana with a cameraman to report on a meeting between Premier Peter Lougheed and a group of American State Governors. When the premier climbed down from his plane Frank started asking questions about the upcoming meeting. Lougheed smiled and shot back “Dolphin, can’t I go anywhere that you’re not there”?

filed 2006

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