Fraser Kelly died last week. Our friendship was never that close, but our paths crisscrossed over the years. He was chasing politics as a reporter and editor for the old Toronto Telegram back in the 1960s when we first met. I was working to get Charles Templeton into the liberal party leadership. It was as though every time I left the Templeton home in Mississauga, Fraser was out front with the gaggle of lurking reporters.
Fraser was a young and brash reporter. He admired Telegram publisher John Basset and it must have been mutual. Basset took Fraser him with him when he folded the Telegram and concentrated on his CFTO television station which he built into the flagship for the CTV network. Fraser was a natural on television. He made the transition from reporter, editor to television host with ease. He became a Toronto personality.
I forget when he and I realized we were neighbours. He and Joan had a similar type home on the next street in North York’s Henry Farm. Since my house had a pool, we did most of the summer entertaining. Son, Matt preferred the pool but daughter Lisa also did some of my family’s babysitting.
Fraser was always a big hit, at parties the wife and I threw, as many of our friends are also political. I laughingly told Fraser he only came because he could hold court for all the politicos there.
The one thing that always stood out about Fraser Kelly was that he was the straightest arrow I ever knew in the news media. I don’t think I ever told him an off-color joke. I knew better.
But we always had fun. He introduced me to the Franz Josef room at the now long-gone Walker House Hotel that used to stand down on Front Street. We both enjoyed our long lunches there discussing our city and politics.
I never knew why I lost touch with Fraser when he left television work. He joined a communications consulting firm and coincidently moved from Henry Farm. We had no contact after that. I was sorry to learn of his passing.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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