Skip to comments.Toronto Sun founding editor Peter Worthington dead at 86
Posted on 05/13/2013 4:37:17 AM PDT by Squawk 8888
TORONTO - Peter Worthington, the legendary founding editor of the Toronto Sun, has died.
He was 86.
One of Canada's most prolific and well-known journalists, Worthington witnessed history unfold during a career that spanned many of the wars, conflicts and seminal news events that shaped the 20th Century.
Along with J. Douglas Creighton and Don Hunt, he founded "The Little Paper That Grew" with 60-plus former staffers from the defunct Toronto Telegram.
Worthington was admitted to Toronto General Hospital last Thursday and diagnosed with a serious staph infection that compromised his heart, kidneys, and other organs.
He passed away around midnight Sunday in hospital, spending the last days of his life peacefully, surrounded by his wife Yvonne and family members including his grandchildren.
When told by doctors his condition was grave, Worthington didn't flinch.
"Typically (for him) he made a little joke to the doctor," his daughter Danielle Crittenden said in an email, "suggesting she might need comforting more than he did."
As Peter put it, 'There's nothing left I want to do; there are only things I want to know.'"
Worthington was born Feb. 16, 1927, the son of Major-General Frederic Franklin (Fighting Frank) Worthington. who led own a colourful and adventurous life that saw him orphaned at 10, take to the sea as a cabin boy on cargo ships and go onto a distinguished military career that included a key role in founding the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
Peter, following the outbreak of WWII, followed in his father's footsteps and saw military duty as an adventure. He enlisted in the Canadian Navy in 1944 when he was 17.
"I had run away from home at age 15, hoping to join the merchant navy, but they spotted my age," Worthington wrote in a 2001 column.
He trained in telegraphy at HMCS St. Hyacinthe, Que., and later served as a telegraphist air gunner in the Fleet Air Arm at Yarmouth, N.S., and briefly in Britain during the last year of the Second World War.
He later joined the army during the Korean War and served as a platoon commander with the Princess Pats in Korea, as well as battalion intelligence officer, then flew with U.S. Mosquito (6147 Squadron) that directed air strikes against attacking Chinese forces.
After being discharged from the Armed Forces, Worthington obtained a bachelor's degree at the University of British Columbia and then completed a bachelor's degree in journalism from Carleton University.
In 1956, he joined the Toronto Telegram and soon became a foreign correspondent for the paper.
He covered the Vietnam War, conflicts in the Gaza Strip, the Portuguese Colonial War, the invasion of Netherlands' New Guinea by Indonesia and was in the northeast frontier of India when Chinese forces invaded.
In 1963, Worthington was an eyewitness to Jack Ruby's murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
A year later, Worthington covered Ruby's trial.
In 1965, Worthington opened the first Canadian newspaper bureau in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. While there, he played hockey "badly" for a Canadian embassy team that never lost a game
in two years and "wore a 007 sweatshirt that Russian players were eager to body check."
On Nov. 1, 1971, the day after the Telegram folded, Worthington began a new phase in his career as the Toronto Sun's executive editor, then editor-in-chief.
The newspaper flourished under Worthington's direction and its mix of no-nonsense local news and opinion, sports and tabloid irreverence was embraced by the city. The first edition sold out within minutes.
He directed much of his energy during the early years of the new tabloid to holding then-prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and his Liberal government to account.
During that period, Worthington was charged under the Official Secrets Act for a column he wrote identifying 15 Canadians charged with espionage or treason offences, charges that were eventually dismissed.
In all, he was editor-in-chief for 12 years and helped launched the Sun's sister publication -- the Ottawa Sun -- in the late 1980s.
In 1982, and again in 1984, he ran for political office under the Progressive Conservative banner but was defeated both times and returned to his roots in the newspaper business.
Worthington was a devoted animal rights activist and long-time supporter of the Toronto Humane Society.
During his career, he won four National Newspaper Awards, a National Newspaper Citation and was also named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame.
From his bedside before he passed, Worthington spoke with his son-in-law, journalist David Frum, about his life and perilous times.
"In all the situations I was in, I never felt fear," he said. "I felt nerves sometimes. And of course you want to be cautious. You feel that you want to do your best. You tense yourself -- and then you wait to see what comes next."
He is survived by his wife, Yvonne Crittenden, who called him her "rock," children Casey Worthington,
Guy Crittenden and Danielle Crittenden and six grandchildren.
However, I note that NONE of that has rubbed off on his son-in-law, the eunichial David Frum.
Progressive Conservative is the former name of the Conservative Party of Canada. It split three ways in the early 1990s, spinning off the separatist Bloc Québécois and the conservative Reform Party of Canada (which, ironically, was the Liberal Party’s original name). Stephen Harper united the Progressive Conservative and Reform Party into the Conservative Party.
I find it interesting that he was a platoon commander in the PPCLI and flew as well, weird. PPCLI was my old unit as well. Sadly, the media in Canada is about as bad as the media in the US, which is to say if they talk or say anything it means they’re lying.
You posted a reverse image. The wings should be over the left pocket and the beret over the right ear.
Is that why he’s breaking the gaydar?
Blame the Toronto Sun- I got the image from their website.
“He later joined the army during the Korean War and served as a platoon commander with the Princess Pats in Korea...”
A more understated fact could not be asserted. In fact, the Princess Pats offered heroic resistance to the Chinese on the ground and received a rare unit citation from the USA.
Also unreported here is his Libertarian candidacy in the late ‘80s against the then corrupt Mulroney Tories inter alia. He received almost 15% of the vote, a high-water mark for the Libertarians.
No editor. lolso
“However, I note that NONE of that has rubbed off on his son-in-law, the eunichial David Frum.”
David Frum was greatly influenced by his leftist Mother Barbara Frum.