Thursday, 6 May 2010

30 - Jocko Thomas

Updated re link to Globe and Mail obit
Gwyn "Jocko" Thomas
, one of the last of the true Toronto print media legends, died yesterday.

He was 96 and we're sure his fans will all be doing their best "from police headquarrrrrters" imitations in his honour.

Jocko, a Toronto Star reporter for 60 years, would broadcast his latest cop shop scoops on CFRB radio and end with that famous sign-off.

It was always a challenge for Sun cop deskers to scoop Jocko in the 70s and 80s. His impressive contacts and experience most often put him well in front of the competitors.

Star columnist Rosie DiManno gives Jocko a sentimental sendoff. Michael Posner at the Globe and Mail also gives Jocko a fitting sendoff.

She writes: "Gwyn “Jocko’’ Thomas was an institution in this business, a beloved elder statesman and mentor to Toronto Star journalists who followed in his award-winning footsteps, if never quite filling those shoes."

Nobody filled his shoes after he retired in 1989 at age 75, not even a high profile Toronto Sun cop desk vet snatched from the tabloid by the Star.

What is left of the old guard who were part of the decades-old newspaper wars in Toronto will be attending his funeral Saturday.

And the many journalists he mentored along the way.


  1. Jocko was a reporter I looked up to and wanted to beat. Didn't beat him often, but boy did I relish those few times that I did.
    When I got word he passed, it was like getting kicked in the stomach.
    We became friends during those competitive years.
    When he retired, I felt I could breathe comfortably for the first time in my career in Toronto.
    He honoured me many times as a judge for the Sun's Dunlop Awards.
    About two years ago, I remember sitting in his basement as we were being interviewed by a Humber College student for a magazine piece.
    I will cherish that hour.

    Rob Lamberti
    Toronto Sun Unit Chair
    CEP Local 87M

  2. Love the very last line in Rosie's story.
    How true!

  3. they cut the last line from the print version, I noticed

  4. Last line, love it.

    Also love how it's mentioned numerous times how little he worked for and never received any extra pay for the extra hours and independent work he did.

    Guess some things never change in this busiess.

  5. That last line, if you missed it:

    Jocko was also predeceased by the newspaper business.