The Glengarry News

Former publisher dies


Ross Greer, a two-time interim publisher of The Glengarry News, and a long-time community newspaper owner and executive, died at l’Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital on October 27 at the age of 85.

Mr. Greer, who is survived by his wife Norma (née Simon) and three children, first came to Glengarry from Montreal in 1975, when the couple purchased a farm on the Sixth of Kenyon – a spot where they spent their weekends for the next several years before building their own home and making it their full-time residence in 1982.

The veteran newspaperm­an – who’d previously served as president of the Quebec Community Newspapers Associatio­n, as well as director of the Canadian Community Newspapers Associatio­n – was coaxed out of semi-retirement in June 1987 to take over the publisher’s position with

The News after Phil Rutherford left following five years on the job.

Mr. Greer remained in that capacity until he was succeeded by Joe Banks that September.

He also had a nine-month stint as publish- er between November 1999 and August 2000 before being replaced by J.T. Grossmith.

In October, 2011, Mr. Greer recalled the

circumstan­ces under which he first came to The News more than 20 years ago.

Following the departure of Phil Rutherford, the paper’s president, Eugene Macdonald, “asked me if I could come, in effect, and kind of babysit for a little while until they found someone permanent,” he said.

“I told him, ‘No thanks,’ that I’d kind of had my fill of the newspaper business... but he had a heart condition and was having some problems so I relented and came in.”

When Mr. Greer returned as publisher in 1999, he penned an editorial in which he outlined his approach to running the editorial component of the newspaper.

“Once The Glengarry News begins filling its pages with reading matter our readers can get elsewhere, we are presenting you with the option of doing just that. In short, you will not need

The Glengarry News

anymore... and it will no longer exist,” he wrote.

“That prospect is too unpleasant to contemplat­e... Therefore, we have opted for the alternativ­e... The reading content will be limited to news, news features and commentari­es on the events of the day, virtually all of it covering Glengarry County and its environs.”

Mr. Greer added that, “as a general rule, with occasional exceptions, we will not be publishing abstract, philosophi­cal or whimsical treatises, for the simple reason that such things are available elsewhere.” Before coming to Glengarry, Mr. Greer founded the weekly

North Shore News in Pierrefond­s in the early 1960s.

He was its publisher and proprietor until selling the business to Southam Inc. in August 1980.

His paper merged with another area weekly, The News and

Chronicle, the following month. The new incarnatio­n, the West

Island Chronicle, ran for 35 years, ceasing publicatio­n just two weeks ago (October 21).

Mr. Greer agreed to become publisher of the West Island

Chronicle in 1980, but it proved to be a frustratin­g experience. “I had started the North Shore

News from bare bones and learned everything there was to know about running a newspaper, and I had a great staff... a lot of fine, young kids, a lot of whom went on to very good careers,” he recalled in 2011.

“I thought being publisher of the new paper was a pretty good deal. The kids were grown up and everything… but after 10 months, I’d had it up to here.

“Those guys (Southam executives) didn’t know how to run a weekly newspaper. They’d run the Gazette and the Montreal Star, but they didn’t know what the hell they were doing, running a weekly, and that really bugged me, so I told them, ‘ I’m outta here.’”

The Côte- des- Neiges native was fed up with the newspaper business, as well as the rat race of the city, so with relatives in Glengarry, and a recently-built home in the country – he and Norma moved to a residence on Massie Crescent in Alexandria several years ago – decided to relocate here permanentl­y.

“And I’ve had 30 happy years here since,” Mr. Greer said in 2011.

 ??  ?? Ross Greer
Ross Greer

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