Friday, 18 October 2013

A night for Les Pyette: Hall of Famer

When we first proposed a gathering to celebrate his induction into the Canadian News Hall of Fame, Les Pyette said he would stay over an extra night if there was enough interest. He did not know if there would be.

There definitely was.

The gathering at P.J. O'Brien's last night was a mix of Les Pyette's family, friends and former colleagues out to toast and thank the new Hall of Famer.

Many thanks to Ron Base, who has known Les for 40 years, for his words at the microphone and for drawing others to speak of their admiration for Les. Words from the heart from Andy Donato, Mark Bonokoski, BJ Del Conte, Shane Harvey, Ian Harvey, Mike Strobel (who sang Love Me Tender).

And then there was the photo Les held in his hand while expressing his thanks for the warm wishes from people whose lives he had changed over the decades.

The photo, one of two emailed by Bob Burt, was of the Windsor Mafia, which we will post elsewhere. It is a priceless photo that Les did not have in his scrapbook.

Joe Warmington, who booked the lounge, sweet-talked owner Pat Quinn into providing free hot food, something every self-respecting newspaper person treasures.

Kudos to Sue-Ann Levy for recommending Cakes by Robert and for the photo of the cake. It was a shame to cut into the work of art, but we did. Delicious.

There were a lot of photos taken during the night. Would appreciate FB postings.

Messages from those who could not attend came from near and far: Linda Barnard, vacationing in Turkey; Joan Sutton, on the move in New York; Hugh Wesley on a photo assignment in Guelph; Michael Peake, New York-bound; George Anthony in Montreal etc.

Although we asked several times for a separate bar tab for the guest of honour, Les paid his own way. The $90 raised in the donations covered most of the cost of the cake, so we are good.

The gathering at PJs turned out to be all for Les and rightly so. It was not the appropriate environment for remembering Peter O'Sullivan, so that leaves us to remember him at another time, another place.

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