Features

Obituary: Neil McKenty, Dec. 31, 1924 – May 12, 2012

BY BARBARA MOSER & IRWIN BLOCK

Neil McKenty began a relationship with The Senior Times in May 1998. He developed an avid following because of his integrity, his meticulous research and his strong and grounded opinions.

Neil was a master of argument and always gave us the big picture. He was most concerned by the failure of his own Roman Catholic Church to adapt its core teachings to evolving ethical values.

He championed those politicians who displayed his own passions for the rights of the marginalized in North American societies.

He had no patience for hypocrites and double dealers. That’s why readers awaited his monthly “Pit Stop” as did his editors, myself included.

I was proud to have Neil as one of ours. He raised the bar and set the standard for engaging and thought-provoking journalism.

Over the years, Neil’s writing helped shape The Senior Times, always reflecting our values and concerns as a newspaper.

We will miss him dearly and send our heartfelt condolences to his loving wife of 40 years, Catherine.

 Barbara Moser, Publisher, The Senior Times

Neil McKenty exemplified the men who were trained in the Jesuit tradition of disciplined scholarship.

Intellectual rigour was always the basis of his structured viewpoints on a range of subjects, but after being ordained in 1957 he left the priesthood in 1969, unable to reconcile church teachings with his deepest feelings.

He hosted the highly popular phone-in show Exchange on CJAD in 1972 before moving to CFCF-TV where he did the same thing.

His producer Daniel Freedman had this to say in a recent appreciation: “He hated pretense. And he hated hypocrisy. I saw him show the same respect for a make-up artist, stagehand or waitress that he showed for a professor or prime minister. … Life with Neil was never dull. He ate ice cream on the air with one of the founders of Ben and Jerry’s—with great gusto, but very little elegance.”

McKenty had his demons. He battled depression and wrote about it in his candid autobiography, The Whole Story, in which he recalls his struggle to reconcile his profound religious beliefs and his need to fully express himself as a human being. He did that with great eloquence and his voice, which echoes among his many followers, will be missed by all.

Irwin Block

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