John O'Mara signs off

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Renowned CBC broadcaster taken by illness

One of the province's best known media figures has died. John O'Mara (right, photo from vocm.com) passed away yesterday, after a brief battle with cancer. He was 63.

A former CBC broadcaster, O'Mara had one of the most recognizable faces and voices in the province. His passing comes as a surprise to me because, every time I've seen him, I always marveled at how young and vital he appeared.

According to stories on CBC Radio and VOCM this morning, O'Mara started his career at CBC Radio in Corner Brook in 1964, before moving to St. John's and becoming active as a host in both radio and TV. He became director of television for CBC Newfoundland in 1984.

O'Mara was also active on the Royal St. John's Regatta Committee, where he was known as the Regatta's resident archivist. A past president of the committee, he became an Honorary Life Member in 1989 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. He was also active in Scouts Canada.

The funeral mass will take place on Wednesday at the Basilica.

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  • Dave
    November 04, 2010 - 15:49

    In the summer of 2006 in L'Anse aux Meadows I heard a voice and when the person got near enough I said to him, "I use to watch you on TV on Saturday mornings doing the news before cartoons came on". He laughed and said that indeed it was him. I then said "you now something else? I said those same words to you on the Canadian destroyer, HMCS Nipigon when we did a tour with James McGrath who was lieutenant governor at the time. He thought that was really wonderful and we chatted for a while. His wife was with him both times and she was a really nice lady, she gave me a hug when they left, I hope she is doing well and I wish her all the best. The only two people on TV I remember way back when I was a kid is Bob Lewis and John O'Mara.

  • Andrew
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    A recognizable face for sure! I used to think 63 was old, no I know that it's too young. Great job with this blog Geoff.