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'The world's best' weatherman: quirky Alberta weatherman Bill Matheson always gave the weather for Baker Lake, Nunavut. Dead at 80.

DIED: Former Edmonton TV weatherman and broadcasting pioneer William R. (Bill) Matheson, 80, from the complications of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, in Lethbridge, on Sept. 19. Born and raised in Lethbridge, Matheson served two years in the Canadian Army toward the end of the Second World War before attending the University of Alberta. He left university to work as a weather technician for the federal government in Fort Simpson and Fort Smith for six years before returning to Lethbridge in 1954 to work as a news writer and announcer with CJOC Radio. It was also around this time that he began his on-air television weather broadcasts on CJLH-TV. In 1974, an American ABC news consultant hired by CJLH liked Matheson's personal flair and on-air performance and invited him to audition for WABC-TV in New York City. Two years after being hired, Matheson returned to Canada and joined Edmonton's Allarcom, owners of ITV (now Global TV), as its TV weathercaster. He was also hired by CJCA Radio to co-host a radio talk show with Bill Jackson, a show that ran for 17 years. His wife, Carmen, recalls with fondness her husband's "Mathesonisms" during his weather telecasts, such as, "That most dreaded of all meteorological phenomena, the Siberian high," and he always gave the weather "for Baker Lake, in Nunavut, so often that he was invited by the community to visit, which he cheerfully did." Matheson shunned electronic graphics, preferring to use his pointer and black felt pens to record temperatures on his weather map. He would end his telecast by bouncing his pointer on the floor and like an old vaudevillian, catching it in mid-air. In 1995, at the International Weather Forecasters' Festival in Paris, attended by 60 weathermen from around the globe, Matheson was voted the world's best on-air weather presenter and received the award for international excellence. He retired in 1999 due to illness.


DIED: Former lawyer and crown prosecutor John Angus McDonald, 92, after a brief illness, in Calgary, on Sept. 16. Born in Fort Macleod, McDonald graduated from the University of Alberta law school in 1939. He served as crown prosecutor for the judicial district of Macleod, as well as official receiver for the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act. After serving with the Canadian Army during the Second World War, he moved to Calgary as solicitor for the rent control division of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. In 1946, he joined the law department of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and after 12 years returned to private practice. He also served as chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary.

DIED: Former agriculturalist and community leader Robert R. Ferguson, 89, after a brief illness, in Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., on Sept. 19. Born in Winnipeg, Ferguson grew up at the Qu'Appelle Valley's Fort San tuberculosis sanatorium, where his father was the general superintendent. He attended Regina College and the University of Saskatchewan, but interrupted his studies to join the RCAF, serving overseas as a pilot during the Second World War. After the war, Ferguson resumed his university studies, graduating with degrees in arts and agriculture, and started farming in the Edgeley district. He also served in local government as councillor, vice-reeve and reeve of the rural municipality of North Qu'Appelle. He served on the board of governors of the University of Saskatchewan, from 1965 to 1974, and of the University of Regina until 1981, and was also a director of the Saskatchewan Lung Association, from 1986 to 2006. He was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1994, and made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987.

DIED: Former Travel Alberta executive Eric P. Albury, 82, of cancer, in Delta, B.C., on Sept. 3. Born in Nassau, Bahamas, he came to Canada in 1942 to join the RCAF and after the war, returned to Nassau to join his family's import business. After two years, he came back to Canada and joined Air Canada in Vancouver, serving as a sales representative for 16 years. Later, Albury moved to Calgary as sales manager for Japan Airlines and left to join Travel Alberta, where he worked for the next 15 years as director of European operations, covering the United Kingdom and Europe. He retired in 1987.
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Title Annotation:THE RECORD
Author:Olivier, Victor
Publication:Western Standard
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 23, 2006
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