The idle (thoughts) of March…..

By Danny Kingsbury

Take out, or delivery?

Last Monday, I wished my eldest son farewell as he boarded a 777 to take a 13 hour flight to the other side of the world, via the Polar Route. Pretty fascinating. He and the rest of team Canada are in Beijing to compete in the World Women’s Curling Championships. Pretty exciting. I admit, we worried the whole time he was in the air and I’m worried that he’s so far away. I know he’s ok, and I know this is an amazing, once in a lifetime experience, but the paternal connection does not sever. I’m also anxious about how they perform this week. Parents want the best for their children. After their good health, we hope that they get along with others, are liked, bring home good marks on their report cards, have similar values of treating people with respect and are basically part of a solution, not part of a problem. Both my sons are a source of tremendous inspiration to me. The Great Wall of China is inspirational as well.

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A Man bigger than his parts

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We received sad news this week that legendary Canadian Radio Executive, Gary Miles passed away in Toronto. Gary was the former CEO of Rogers Radio and had a wonderful career in the business. Here is what appeared in The Globe and Mail on Wednesday.

GARY LAWRENCE MILES (1939 – 2017) Gary Lawrence Miles passed away in the early morning of Tuesday, March 14, 2017. It was the time of day he liked best. His wife, Taanta Gupta, was at his side. His sons, Gary Lee, Galen and Vikram had all arrived days before from Hong Kong, Winnipeg and Washington, D. C. respectively. It was almost as if he waited just long enough to see them, and then he died at peace in his own bed, in his own home, with his own family.

He wanted a party to be held for him. Yes, a party (his words). It definitely will NOT be a Celebration of his Life. He didn’t like that phrase. But now that he’s gone, we can say anything we like. To that end, please come to the Queen’s Park Ballroom at the Park Hyatt on Avenue Road, Toronto on Saturday, March 18, 2017, 3:00-6:00 p.m. and ask for the Miles – Gupta Party. You’ll be very welcome.

Taanta would like to thank Dr. Bernie Gosevitz for his tireless efforts in ensuring that Gary’s last days received the kind of attention and care to which he had become accustomed since his marriage to her (Not just her words, Gary’s too!). In lieu of flowers, if donations could be made to:

THE TED ROGERS CENTRE FOR HEART RESEARCH

C/O Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospital Foundation

Gary is succeeded by his wife, his aforementioned sons, two daughters-in-law, Linda and Julie, his three grandchildren: Adam, Jackson and Vail and his brother Curtis. As well as three sisters-in-law who admired him greatly plus any number of far-flung relatives that he reluctantly acknowledged and to whom he extended his never-ending generosity.

I worked with Gary from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. Gary was diminutive in stature, but carried a big stick, no softy, but he always treated people well…..me included. We did a video for him when he retired and I know I have it, but of course, cannot find it to post. It was to Sinatra’s “My Way”and I will keep looking. I basically lived vicariously through my boss Scott Parsons when it came to Gary. I read some comments this week and chuckled about Gary’s precision timing when it came to meetings and calls and I know he spoke every week with Scott. No one….and I mean no one could move files the way Gary moved files…..”what are we doing with this”? “So next week it will be here right”? Right? And it was. Stuff got done with Gary…and there was clear accountability.

Gary loved the people he worked with, we were kind of like a family, but membership wasn’t assured, in fact you were NOT in the family long if you didn’t pull your weight and there’s nothing wrong with that style of management. It certainly was successful for Rogers.

My most memorable Gary story. Scott and I met Gary at Beckta in Ottawa for dinner one night. Just we 3 were there early. He sat down, and immediately asked what the eff we were thinking about contacting an employee in the company about a job without the manager knowing about it…..no bus throwing here, but there was a great explanation about the employee actually making the first contact with us, but neglected to let his boss know….anyhow……Gary lit it up…..”you guys know better than that”….”but Gary”, “let me finish…….don’t ever pull that shit again….got it?” “Yup, got it, gulp”…….”but….ah never mind…message received”. Then Gary grabs a menu and says without missing a beat……”What are eating tonight”? Big smile……the man could tear you a new one, then spend the next few hours telling you how great you are doing.

Thanks to Gary for all he did for my career and to those countless others he influenced.

Power couple with new priorities

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My blog last week about the women I admire in radio received a lot of very kind responses. That was nice. One of those women and I had a long overdue coffee on Friday. Connie Bernardi and I hadn’t seen each other for a long time, but like old friends, you basically pick right up where you left off. We unfortunately had a new common denominator besides people we know and radio this time around as we discussed our spouse’s experience with cancer. Her husband Stu Schwartz (Stuntman) has battled quite publicly for the last 14 or so months and I was comforted hearing the full background of what they’ve been through as a family and where they think it’s all going. Connie is passionate and pragmatic and tough as nails. She’s got the right plan. I also told her about Dawn’s diagnosis and surgery in November and her positive prognosis. Too many of us experience cancer in our lives. It’s nice to be able to talk about it….even if we can’t wave a wand and fix everything. Hang in there Connie et al. And as always, great to see you.

Have a great weekend….thanks for reading.

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