Thursday 5 June 2014

At 30 - Hartley Steward

Updated June 11, 2014

Hartley Steward has died. He was 72.

The former Sun Media and Toronto Star executive leaves a wife, two children and countless benefactors of his mentoring over the decades in the news biz.

No funeral, as he requested, but a memorial service was held in Collingwood.

There are stories to tell about Hartley's long and productive career in journalism before he quietly bowed out of Sun Media in 2006. Stories about his years devoted to building the Sun tabloids in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary, his time at the Toronto Star etc.

He cared about journalism and the people he worked for and with in newsrooms and boardrooms across Canada.

Our favourite Hartley Steward caring and sharing story stems from the wake of Paul Heming, a wiz Toronto Sun copy desk editor who died at 53 in September of 1993.

Paul left $1,000 in his will to buy drinks for his colleagues at his wake, which was well populated. When the $1,000 ran out a couple of hours before closing time, Hartley, not wanting to see Paul's gathering end early, added another $1,000.

TSF readers wanting to share their memories of Hartley can do so by email at 

Nancy Stewart, former composing room staffer: 
We were saddened to see Hartley Steward's obit in the Toronto Sun. Even though we didn't work directly with him, those of us from the former Composing Room and Ad Production Department remember him fondly as an advertising executive, Editor and Publisher. I'd like to relate one short story that reflects his caring attitude towards staff and his happy demeanour: 

When the Sun held its usual party for 20-year-service employees (yes, those were the days), I happened to be on sabbatical (again, those were the days) and missed the party. After my return, Hartley invited me to his 6th floor office and personally gave me the 20-year-service gold ring, taking the time to talk of work, history, the origin of our similar names and a few good laughs. He made me, and so many other employees, feel like we were an important part of The Sun. 

Mike Strobel remembers Hartley in a Toronto Sun column:

 John Downing remembers Hartley on his Downing's Views blog:

From Sherry, an ex-dayoner via a blog posting.
When I received a text from Sister Kerry yesterday about Hartley passing, I thought: Oh my God - there goes a Toronto Sun legend. That's so sad. I really loved that guy.

As a boss, and friend, he was so much fun - and so good looking - had an amazing sense of humour. Every minute spent with Hartley was joyful, in or out of the office. No matter who, or what, brought you down, Hartley had the knack of picking you up.

My heart cries when Tor Sun family members join each other at 30 - for Hartley, it's sobbing.

Judy Creighton, former editor/columnist for The Canadian Press.
I was most fortunate to meet Hartley when I joined the Toronto Star in 1973. Not only did he mentor me as a reporter, but  he became a good friend. So much so, he and his partner sublet their downtown apartment to me when they decided to purchase a house. 

Hartley was a wonderful writer and was blessed with a wicked sense of humour. He will be missed by all who knew him. 

John Paton, former Toronto Sun copy boy who rose to executive ranks, in his blog: 

Ron Base, former Toronto Sun entertainment writer, remembers Hartley in his blog:
John Cosway, former reporter/columnist/rewrite guy
My first glimpse of Hartley Steward was when Hartley and Les Pyette sat down with me for a job interview at the Toronto Sun's original digs in the Eclipse Building in late 1974.

Harley and Les peppered me with questions about my media jobs, looked at clippings from a scrapbook, listened to stories about my years with Thomson newspapers and the Richmond Review in B.C., but were most interested in my wage demand.

Told them I always want to make more than my last job. I was making $216 a week at my previous job at the Richmond Review, so "how about $217?" They both laughed - and a few weeks later I was on the Sun's cop desk for the start of a 19-year stay.

1 comment:

  1. Hartley's memorial service will be held on Friday, June 13 @ 12 noon @ The Bear Estate, 300 Balsam St., Collingwood, ON