S K Y S T U D I O
Recalling those who contributed to Sault Ste. Marie broadcasting…
We remember one, we remember them all.
Issue # 99 April 6, 2023; previous issue dated March 4, 2023
This edition of Sky Studio is dedicated to Patti Gardi
who joined former colleagues in Sky Studio March 29, 2023
Patti Gardi joined Sky Studio in her 83rd year on March 29, 2023
A contributor to the community in so many ways, she was honoured by the City with its Medal of Merit. Two media stories – links below – outline Patti’s community involvement leading to that recognition while here we focus on her contributions to broadcasting, especially through the Bon Soo Pageant, a major community event and spectacular television at the time. Without her guiding hand there would have been no pageant to televise.
The televised production was extensive at the time – the technical and creative skills needed to broadcast such a massive, live production from Sault College were expertly provided by those whose names you’ll recall, many now part of Sky Studio. Patti’s husband Frank was the executive producer and without him, there would have been no tv production of the pageant. Patti and Frank were quite a team, just the combined force needed to make such huge productions happen and get them televised.
There’s been no similar televised event since the last pageant in 1993 and there never will be again. Patti created a series of these pageant events that in turn became television milestones and now treasured memories of a broadcast era gone by.
Patti’s guidance over the years in pulling together hundreds of contestants, volunteers and others involved in the pageant is best described by former Bon Soo Queen, Sault writer and world traveller, Marianne Perry who tells us, “I met Patti Gardi as a young woman when I was a contestant in the Miss Bon Soo Pageant. She was our “go to lady.” Regardless of the question or concern, she responded with patience, grace and kindness. After I won the title, Patti (and her husband, Frank) continued their support and guidance. Patti’s organizational skills are legendary as was her compassion and sense of humour. For a decade plus, I was involved in many of the later Miss Bon Soo Pageant shows in a volunteer capacity working alongside Patti. An absolute professional, her care for the production and all of those involved was steadfast and true. Patti Gardi was an exceptional lady. I gained so much respect for her over the years and, like many, tremendous affection. She made our city and the world a better place. May you rest in peace. You will be missed and remembered. Thank you for your kindness, Patti.”
While the pageant was a grand event that made great television, it was also the core of the entire Bon Soo Carnival, as former Bon Soo General Manager Donna Gregg Shier reminds us. “I personally loved the Bon Soo Pageant. It was a wonderful “kick off” to the carnival. In early January, media became involved with the contestants and talk about what was “new for Bon Soo” began! The lead up to the Pageant got the community excited, due to the fact that January is a snow-bound, cold month…so Bon Soo was a welcomed distraction!
“Having the Pageant televised and hosted by media celebrities from MCTV put the carnival and Sault Ste Marie on the map!
“Patti Gardi was instrumental in making sure that the many components of organizing a Pageant were accomplished. Her husband Frank was the TV/ media person, but Patti was his partner in this extravaganza. She chaired the Interview committee, scheduling media interviews for the contestants, photo shoots, fashion, hair etc. She was an expert at the small details to help the contestants in any way she could…basically a “mother hen”!
“Patti was kind, fun and dedicated to these young women and became the chaperone for the Bon Soo Queen on her winning trip.
“She loved everything about Bon Soo…not just the pageant. She collected every button and dressed the part with her Bon Soo sweatshirt and scarf. Patti was a true blue Bon Soo fan and it was my pleasure to work with her over the years.
“The last Pageant was in 1993 as we celebrated Bon Soo’s 30th Anniversary. Pageants overall became unpopular. It was sad to see it go.”
Patti’s involvement with and contributions to the Sault Symphony demonstrated the same dedication she had to Bon Soo. And again, Frank was at her side presenting the Symphony to city through broadcasting, increasing its support and citizen involvement.
Dr. Bruce Anderson, player and board member of the Sault Symphony Orchestra describes Patti’s involvement this way:
"Patti was a driving force in the symphony for many, many years and her husband Frank, a noted broadcaster in the area, teamed together to provide excellent coverage for the Symphony. Her skills in all facets of management of the orchestra brought to the twin Saults a variety of musical events, from classical symphonies, to big Broadway shows like Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar, and singers such as John McDermott and even circus performers coordinating aerial stunts along with its music. The variety of the events would have flabbergasted many, but Patti relied on her years of managing people and detail work to always produce a stellar result.
“Patti's willingness to work above and beyond the norms always paid big dividends by coordinating special events like receptions after concerts and taking great care of visiting performers, like Howard Cable. Everyone enjoyed her hospitality and warmth. Her passing is a great loss to the community she loved."
Patti is with Frank again sharing another stage in Sky Studio with all the others who made magical, memorable, milestone moments happen in broadcasting.
From Sault Star:
Photos above and below from Wendy Hamilton, former broadcast colleague, past Bon Soo Pageant contestant and a Twirlette (above in hula skirt) in the CJIC television studio with Patti being interviewed by Lionel McAuley.
From the Celebration of Life gathering, some of Patti's Twirlette memorabilia above and her various awards and Bon Soo items below.
We Remember One – We Remember Them All
SCOTT ALEXANDER (DARBISHIRE)
RAYMOND ‘BUTCH’ BOUCHER
ANGELO ‘SKEETS’ BRAIDO
JOHN DAVID CAMERON (RALPH GLASSFORD)
DAVE CARTER (CARTNER)
PEGGI MCNEIL CLIPPERTON
BILL ELGIE SR.
DR. ROBERT EWING
FERN FORTIN (McDERMOTT)
JAMES ‘JIMMY’ FULLER
GORDON ALLAN HILL
HELEN DORIS HILLSTROM (PAVELICH)
EDWARD (BUDD) KENT
MR. JUSTICE PAUL H. MEGGINSON
LARRY MICHAELS (MANDZIUK)
STEVE RAY (PINE)
PETER RAY (RAKOBOWCHUK)
DIANE ROGERS (PEPLOW)
EVA AILEEN SMITH
Any additions, errors, omissions are regretted.... send information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue # 98 March 4, 2023; previous issue dated January 13, 2023
This edition of Sky Studio is dedicated to George Fraser
who joined former colleagues in Sky Studio April 25, 2022
George’s entry to Sky Studio came to attention March 2023 and its never too late to honour someone who was a former colleague and friend to many and known by many others in the community through his radio, television and community appearances.
Showing the connectivity that remains in the long-ago Sault broadcasting circle, former television and cablevision colleague Patty Page alerted us to this Sky Studio addition saying, “Actually, my sister Joyce, who also worked at the station and is married to George McMillan, who also worked at the station with George Fraser in sales.” Patty also contributed by getting us some background information.
As well as sales, George was a CJIC AM radio announcer and did television voice overs reading the ‘day book’ of commercials, tags and promos along with some television on air work. A radio show called, “Percolator Platter” with shared hosting by Grace Pitt was an audience favourite.
George McMillan was in CJIC TV sales with Jerry Nichols, Wayne Turner, Jim Franz, Paul Fockler and sales secretary Norma Wiggins when George Fraser joined them in the 1960s and he tells us, “ George's family was from Coniston (suburb of Sudbury). Gene Plouffe, Sales Manager at CJIC TV hired him for a position in sales while he was upstairs at CJIC Radio. He also owned a music store on Gore St but had to close it. He left TV sales and took another job in Sales but can't remember what the product was. He moved for a short time to Sudbury with this new sales job before moving to Southern Ontario.”
Long-time broadcaster and former radio company owner Russ Hilderley says, “I remember George as a gentleman salesman and an excellent DJ. He was full time for a long time in Hyland days.”
CJIC radio announcer in the 1970s, John Chambers – who’s uncle Eb Vance was Hyland company Vice President at one time – says, “I remember George Fraser very well. Listened to him quite a bit on CJIC 1050, plus the show he did with Grace. I also remember his face and voice on CJIC TV as well. He filled in quite often for Lionel McAuley and did newscasts on Telerama. My Uncle Eb had something to do with bringing Fraser to the station, back in the day!”
George was also one of the original creators, organizer and fan favourite on ice in the Clergy-Media Hockey games. (see link below)
A wonderful reflection comes from Artist Ken MacDougall who was in the Hyland Radio and TV company Art Department with Bob Jenkins and recalls, “George was a friendly and cheerful member of the Hyland media family and was always a welcome visitor in the Art Dept. An occasion that seems to return to memory was George entertained Bobby and I arriving in the Art room with a saxophone and gave us a lively “Stan Getz.” He was an integral and contributing fixture to the character and culture that our community was blessed with through Hyland Broadcasting.”
From 2017 a ‘Remember This’ article from the Sault Ste. Marie Library tells us of George’s role in the Clergy-Media hockey classics.
Remember This? Local media vs. the clergy - Sault Ste. Marie News (sootoday.com)
From George’s son Greg’s Facebook:
From Paul Fockler
Dianne Guerriero, Jerry Nichols, George Fraser
Sault Star story
Issue # 97 January 13, 2023; previous issue dated December 5, 2022
This edition of Sky Studio is dedicated to Frank DelBosco
who joined former colleagues in Sky Studio January 10, 2023
Frank DelBosco joined Sky Studio in his 86th year.
He’ll be recalled as a gentle person, always with a smile and a laugh. Those who worked with him will remember his quiet efficiency and determined work ethic. Frank made cablevision a viable business and a popular service in Sault Ste. Marie and grew its community channel as part of the package with legendary creative staffers such as Albert Jones and Bert Luciani among others, who brought their vast background in broadcast television from CJIC.
Frank was General Manager of Lake Superior Cablevision, originally created and owned by Hyland Radio and Television with offices on Queen Street that now house the Community Development Corporation. Cable television started in Sault Ste. Marie with Redifusion in the early 1960s that became Continental Cablevision offering the city’s first community television channel that featured Jane Richards interviewing those involved in community events and causes. Frank was there from beginning overseeing the administration, technical aspects and programming.
It wasn’t easy getting customers in the early days, as Frank said himself in a 2014 story by former Hyland Radio and Television’s Craig Huckerby in a SaultOnline story (link below). Frank called it a “hard sell” and door to door sales personnel were needed to convince potential subscribers paying for television was worth it. Frank even hosted a weekly show in Italian, “Profilo Italiniano” for several years on the Community Channel.
Patty Page says Frank was wonderful to work with and for during the 20-some years they were in cablevision together. Patty came to Lake Superior Cable from the Hyland Radio and Television switchboard starting in a clerical role and then becoming Office Manager, continuing on through the various ownership changes from Hyland to Maclean Hunter, then to Rogers (for one day) and then to Shaw. Patty and Frank worked together on plans for the building and relocation of operations from Queen Street to Manitou Park. Employment ended for office staff when the local office was closed by Shaw around 1995.
“Through all that time, different companies and staff, Frank always tried to make the operation a great place to come to work,” she recalls.
Diagnosed in 2016 with dementia, Frank and his family were supporters of and participants in fundraising efforts for the Alzheimer’s organization (see story link and photos below from 2018).
Background story on Frank and support for Alzheimer Society, 2018:
Walk For Alzheimer's 'hits close to home' for local family - Sault Ste. Marie News (sootoday.com)
On local cable community channels, 2014:
These Guys Make Your Local TV | SaultOnline.com
DELBOSCO, Gianfranco 'Frank' - Obituary - Sault Ste. Marie - Sault Ste. Marie News (sootoday.com)
Obituary of Gianfranco DelBosco | Northwood Funeral Home Cremation...
(Names of two others who worked in cablevision came to attention while compiling this item on Frank. Eva Aileen Smith worked with Redifusion, Continental Cablevision and later Lake Superior Cablevision and would have worked with Frank. She passed away in 2005 at age 84 and is now also entered on our Sky Studio list. Eva Aileen SMITH - Obituary - Sault Ste. Marie - Sault Ste. Marie News (sootoday.com) And, Joan Collins who also worked in cablevision and recently passed away December 2022 at age 96 in Toronto is also now acknowledged on Sky Studio’s honour roll. Obituary | Joan Mary Margaret Collins | Kopriva Taylor Community Funeral Home
Issue # 96 December 5, 2022; previous issue dated Septermber 17, 2022
This edition of Sky Studio is dedicated to Joanne Farkas
who joined former colleagues in Sky Studio November 29, 2022
Joanne Farkas joined Sky Studio friends November 29, 2022 at age 80.
Her smile resonated through any room she was in and her brightness was always uplifting during her time with Algonquin Radio and TV on Queen Street and later at Huron Broadcasting on East Street, and always during her many involvements with and contributions to community events and causes.
“Generous, kind, left a large footprint, humour, humble,” are a few of the several kind descriptors left by many in their memory and condolences comments.
In the 1970s with CKCY AM and FM she was script writer and Traffic Manager. Colleague at that time, Russ Hilderley reflects that, “Sky Studio has a feisty entrant. She was an assertive, outspoken young woman in the sales department of CKCY's 1960 -70 era. Full of ideas and perhaps with so much energy, she had to try TV production. Joanne was her own supervisor and did it with gravitas.”
Helen Petrolo remembers moving into Joanne’s script writer role in 1971 and got the clunky Remington typewriter that came with the job. Helen recalls Joanne had not been able to get the station to acquire a new typewriter and so, ever always the one to get things done that needed doing, Joanne tossed the old one down the stairs. A new typewriter was quickly purchased.
During her time in television she was involved with television productions and commercial campaigns being part of a team that was awarded four national CanPro TV Awards for Excellence.
Colleague at that time, Wendy Hamilton recalls, "I never worked at the station with Joanne but I knew her work. Jo was a hero to me. A woman in broadcasting who was able to churn out quality tv scripts and keep up with the boys. She was a great writer. We became friends when she joined Cathy Shunock, Madge Sanderson and myself in the formation of the Oral History of Sault Ste. Marie back in 2011. Jo made a working lunch a whole lot of fun - I’m grateful for those times together."
Joanne also had great fun with long time friends Dianna Malysh, Shirley Real and Mari Eagle-Nichols who recalls Joanne would always say, “Let's do lunch! We did and sometimes even ate! Once at the then Holiday Inn here, we visited so much the staff told us lunch was over so, we continued on and did dinner!”
One always felt happier after an encounter with Joanne Farkas and that’s one memory all who knew her will share.
FARKAS, Joanne Margaret - Obituary - Sault Ste. Marie - Sault Ste. Marie News (sootoday.com)
Joanne Farkas Obituary - Sault Ste. Marie, ON (dignitymemorial.com)
1970s staff listing
Issue # 95 September 22, 2022; previous issue dated June 4, 2022
This edition of Sky Studio is dedicated to Dave Patterson
who joined former colleagues in Sky Studio, September 17, 2022
Long time country music supporter and media staffer Dave Patterson joined colleagues in Sky Studio September 17, 2022.
Dave is known and recognized by many across Northern Ontario and elsewhere for his long serving and dedicated role in creating and maintaining The Northern Ontario Country Music Association (NOCMA) as well as his time meeting clients’ advertising needs while with Sault This Week as well as serving clients and listeners while in radio. His online profile includes his 1976 through 1994 work association with Gilby Canada.
From the Northern Ontario Country Music Association website:
“Back in the 1960s Grace Kozak, a local well-known performer and promoter, started using the term "The Great Northern Opry" in her music shows, but she did not register that name.
“The organization that gave birth to the country music effort in Sault Ste. Marie, was the original Country Club and was created by the efforts of Al Mooney, George Pinder and Carol and Dave Patterson in 1989. From that, The Sault Ste. Marie and District Country Music Hall of Fame was formed back in 1991, by those same founders, with Don Ramsay as the first inductee.
“In 2000, the original Country Club was replaced by The Northern Ontario Country Music Association (NOCMA) and the Sault Ste. Marie and District Country Music Hall of Fame was replaced by The Northern Ontario Country Music Hall of Fame with Carol & Dave Patterson, as founders registering both the new names. The Great Northern Opry, registered by the Patterson's in 1993 remained intact, but now with country talent being inducted from across Northern Ontario.” Northern Ontario Country Music Association :: History (nocma.ca)
Dave was with FM 100.5 in the early 1980s and later at Q 104. He also spent many years at Sault This Week in sales.
Former broadcaster and sales representative for radio/television and later print, John Chambers says, “Dave and I were friends and working acquaintances for close to 30 years. He was very friendly and would go out of his way for anybody. I’ll miss him.”
“Very good memories working with Dave in formation years of the Country Club,” recalls colleague and former broadcaster Bruce Krause. “His enthusiasm benefited his organization and Q104 at the time as well. Condolences to his family. His legacy will continue.”
Musician Ric Datson commented, “He helped keep country music alive for Northern Ontario over these 30 plus years and we appreciate all you've done. I have been honored to be the drummer for most of the shows since day one, with the induction of Don Ramsay into the Hall of Fame, doing all the singing contests for the Country Club with New Country, the great Northern Ontario Tour with the Texas Street Band, and backing up countless performers with Mike Case & White Stallion. Rest In Peace and thank you Dave for your love of country music. You will be missed."
Deb Kaye, a Sault Ste. Marie recording and performing star internationally was inducted into the Northern Ontario Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.On her Facebook she posted, "I am so sad to hear of the passing of one of the most tenacious men I have ever known..He lifted the country music scene of Sault Ste. Marie into the atmosphere. Against all odds and nay sayers, he managed to create a way to honour and celebrate the many talented artists in our city in ways that we never dreamed possible. Dave Patterson! He was made of country music right down to his boots.Thank you sir for your commitment to us and to the music of Ontario. My heart goes out to his whole family. There are no words that soothe at this time. We are here ... standing by you."
Dave left us as he was dancing to and enjoying country music at a Saturday matinee event.
(Thanks to James Warner-Smith for efforts in the Messenger Group, source for some of the recollections included in the above.)
Tribute story by Brian Kelly, Sault Star:
From ShawTV, 2017 a video with Dave, Al Mooney and George Pinder.... Northern Ontario Country Music Association - YouTube
William Patterson Obituary - Sault Ste. Marie, ON (dignitymemorial.com)
Issue # 94 June 20,2022; previous issue dated January 27, 2021
This edition of Sky Studio is dedicated to Judy McDougall
who joined former colleagues in Sky Studio, June 4, 2022
Many kind and generous words of praise have been offered about Judy McDougall as she joined colleagues in Sky Studio June 4, 2022.
Common themes from those who worked with Judy surround her welcoming, supportive nature and ability to do many functions at the radio station, always pitching in when needed.
Johannes (Hans) Geenen recalled, “So sad...I worked with Judy a number of years... just first class all the way...Terry McPhee and I were heavily involved with the Musical Comedy Guild while employed at CFYN..we needed a seamstress for one of the shows..Funny Girl..Judy said she would help out and ultimately took on the whole task with help..what a trooper...always willing to pitch in...she'll be missed. R.I.P. Jude....”
Mike Beckwith worked at CFYN/CHAS 1977-78 and says, “I was only 17 and she made me feel welcome, she handed out the cheques… she always was dressed nice and had a smile on! We had good talks and the Friday handing out of cheques blossomed into a half hour talk.......I will miss her.”
Scott Witty remembers her in the front office, “… always smiling and dressed to a tee. I believe her role was in traffic and in advertising. I was so young and working evening and weekends.“
Darryl Adams, still in broadcasting now in Cornwall, remembers Judy as fun to be around, “… seeing her bright smile when I walked up the stairs to the radio station on Queen Street. She was a gem and her memories of her kindness and laughter will remain in our hearts. Amazing lady. Rest In Peace Judy!”
John Chambers says, “So enjoyed working with Judy at CFYN, and all those wonderful summer bbq parties with the gang, out at the famous Goulais Bay camp, all those years ago! A true dyed in the wool, Orange and Blue Detroit Tiger's fan, Judy was a kind, funny and talented woman, who will be missed.”
“Tracey, your mom was great to work with,” says Liz (Baia) Boyle, adding: “Beautiful, strong, woman who was full of life. Hard worker but always had a sense of humor. Loved hearing her banter with Dave Macdonald over his Cleveland Indians. Don't tick her off or she'd have a few choice words for you especially if you brought in a commercial order last minute...right George and John? Her favorite place to be was Goulais. Judy loved to be at camp on her days off. Work just happened to get in the way. We had the pleasure of spending a weekend at camp to relax and enjoy camaraderie while having a few bevy and playing horseshoes. Highlight was good ol' Bob Wood wearing his "Real Thing" pants. A lot of great people worked together during our Gilder days, and Judy always made it a fun place to work.”
Vancouver CTV weathercaster and host, Marke Driesschen recalls, “Not only was CFYN my first job in radio, it was my first venture out into the world on my own. I'd left my home in suburban Toronto in the summer of 1979 to pursue my dream of working in radio. Sure, I was excited but there were also times of doubt, stress and loneliness in adopting to a new life in e new place. Judy was a warm, welcoming presence who helped you find your way around, make sure you did your paperwork so you could get you paycheck (which was pretty small, back then!) and keep you grounded and focused when you needed it. She was the den mother to all of us wayward radio orphans trying to make sense of this strange business we chose. Because of her kindness and caring, we all chose wisely. She helped make my first year in the business one of the best. Thank you, Judy.”
“Was saddened to learn of Judy's passing, says Dave Webb. “She was great to work with. My heartfelt condolences to the family. Rest in peace Judy. ❤⚘”
(Thanks to James Warner-Smith for starting a ‘Judy Tribute’ Messenger group, source for much of the above.)
Art Osborne & Associates
65 Lansdowne Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON Canada