Paddy Gregg was The National’s reporter for Alberta, based in Edmonton, for a couple of years in the mid-1970s before he returned to his home province of New Brunswick to run the local news operation.
GREGG, PADDY – Paddy Gregg, a pioneer in broadcasting in Canada, died Thursday, May 9th, 2013 at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton after a long period of failing health. He was 80.
Born in Fredericton, he was the son of the late Lorraine (Ryan) and Leonard Gregg.
He is survived by his wife, Christine Morris, and their children, Jane (Nick Lawrence) of Fredericton; Kate (Ian Burns) of Ottawa and William of Fredericton. And by his children from his first marriage to the late Valory (Mowat) Gregg, Cynthia of Cole Harbour, N.S.; Michael (Kim) of Cole Harbour and Sean (Betty) of Samoa.
He also is survived by his brother, Murray (Penny Bubar) of Fredericton; four grandchildren, Sarah of Toronto; Justin of Halifax and Genevieve and Valory of Samoa, and several nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents and his first wife, Valory, he was predeceased by his sister, Nora.
Paddy was given the names Donald Edward at birth, but he has been known as Paddy since childhood.
He grew up in Fredericton and graduated from the Fredericton High School. He attended the University of New Brunswick where he excelled in athletics if not scholastics. Upon his premature departure from university, Paddy landed a job as a reporter at the Daily Gleaner newspaper where he first discovered his talent both for writing and for story telling.
Paddy started working for the CBC in the early 1950s, just as the national broadcaster was starting to establish itself as a force for news and information in the country. He moved briskly through the ranks and was recognized both as an able manager and innovator in developing CBC information programming and as a front-line journalist.
He was one of the first CBC national television reporters and worked in locations across Canada. He also covered major events overseas, including a stint in Hong Kong and Saigon during the Vietnam War.
His last posting as a national TV reporter was in Newfoundland and Labrador. When he left that position in 1979, he returned home to his beloved New Brunswick and worked at the Fredericton office of the CBC.
After holding several senior positions in television news, Paddy agreed to serve as host of the CBC Fredericton Information Morning radio show.
His humour, eloquence and intelligence were on full display during the morning show, which he often jokingly described as “the Arc of Enlightenment.” He established himself as the “Voice of the Valley” and had fans all along the St. John River Valley and beyond.
But Paddy’s first love was his family and his hobby farm in Rusagonis. He always wanted to be a gentleman farmer and upon retirement in 1990, threw himself into the cultivation of gardens and fields and construction projects around the property.
Paddy was always active in community and provincial affairs, often volunteering at places like Kings Landing where he used his booming voice to conduct auctions and re-enact historic events.
Special thanks to the nurses at the Dialysis Clinic in Fredericton; to the nurses and doctors on the Palliative Care Ward at the Chalmers Hospital and to Dr. Gordon Plummer.
There will be visitation at McAdam’s Funeral Home on Sunday, May 12th, from 2 to 4 pm and Monday, May 13th, from 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service will take place in the J.A. McAdam Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, at 2 pm with a reception to follow. Donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Online condolences can be made at www.mcadamsfh.com, 458-9170.
Long-time CBC journalist Paddy Gregg remembered
Premier says former CBC host had ‘signature style that focused on people first’
Posted: May 10, 2013
Former CBC host and long-time journalist Paddy Gregg was remembered in the New Brunswick legislature on Friday.
Gregg died Thursday from complications of diabetes. He was 80.
Premier David Alward said for decades Gregg captured and delivered the news in his signature style that focused on people first.
“His lengthy journalism career allowed Paddy to be in heart of the action, see the world and share his kindness with so many people,” Alward said.
“As one of Fredericton’s native sons, he has always been fiercely loyal to his hometown and was particularly interested in its history,” he said.
“In his retirement, Paddy moved to Rusagonis to farm, grow apples and raising sheep, while putting down roots with [his wife] Chris [Morris] and their children.”
Liberal MLA Victor Boudreau extended his sympathies to Morris and her family and said many New Brunswickers grew up listening to Gregg.
“Someone was telling me this morning he was the Regis Philbin of Fredericton. That’s how he was referred to,” said Boudreau, referring to the American TV talk show and game show host.
“Everyone knew him and listened in attentively to what he had to say in his long career on the CBC morning show. I’m sure Paddy Gregg will be remembered for a very long time.”
Covered Vietnam War
Gregg grew up in Fredericton. He went on to become a national CBC television reporter and covered the Vietnam War from Saigon for CBC News.
Gregg was also the executive producer of CBC Fredericton before becoming the host of Information Morning Fredericton in the 1980s.
His wife, Chris Morris, is the legislative press gallery’s longest-serving member.
Duncan Matheson, who worked with Gregg, said he loved to talk to people about life in rural New Brunswick.
“He knew politics, he knew a lot of things that he could talk to anybody about,” he said.
“But I think that where he was really in his element was when he was connecting with rural people, you know, when he was talking to old ladies about making their pickles and this kind of thing.
“And he had this kind of folksy charm about him that really made for a very strong connection with the audience, especially the rural audience,” said Matheson.
Ross Ingram, another former co-worker, said Gregg appreciated scripted discussions but felt most at ease just talking to people.
“‘But,’ he said, ‘if two people can’t get down and talk to each other, then you know, you shouldn’t be in the broadcast business.’ And I guess he was right,” Ingram said.