Ange-Aimée Woods had one of those laughs that could make you smile for hours – one of those giddy, gleeful giggles that revealed her genuine passion for life and storytelling.
A dedicated broadcaster who was always quick with a new music or restaurant suggestion, Woods was equally determined to tell stories that mattered to Montrealers in a way that would make a mark.
“Ange-Aimée was warm, caring and generous, and you heard it on the air,” said Helen Evans, managing editor at CBC Montreal.
“She had an eye for the kind of stories that would get Montrealers talking. At the same time, Ange-Aimée was a fierce defender of our audience and getting them the answers she believed they deserved from public officials.”
Woods died suddenly Wednesday of apparent heart failure. She was 41.
Decade with CBC
The daughter of a French-Canadian mother and an American father, Woods grew up in the U.S., moving to Montreal to attend university.
She completed an undergraduate degree in film at Concordia University, later studying journalism and communications at the graduate level. She joined CBC Montreal as an intern while still in school and was hired as a researcher before her graduation.
“I never expected to be a journalist but I was always that one kid in the class who always had her hand raised with a question and answer for everything,” she wrote in a recent biography for Colorado Public Radio.
“I feel most at home in a newsroom because I am surrounded by people who were also ‘that kid.’”
In her decade with CBC, Woods went on to work as a social media and arts reporter, producer and show host.
City Councillor Marvin Rotrand remembered Woods as a steadfast journalist who was eager to delve in to stories that weren’t always the easiest to tell, including police use of force and their relationships with minority communities.
“They’re issues that sometimes weren’t mainstream media, but they were issues that were extremely important in a city that’s as multicultural and as multiracial as Montreal,” he said.
Rotrand said he fondly remembered many conversations he had with Woods over early-morning interviews on Daybreak.
“I am not a morning person, not in the least,” he said.
“There would be a constant negotiation between her and me as to what time I should be on the radio because she would always try to accommodate Daybreak, which seemed to want to have interviews at what I consider the ungodly early hours, versus me having to have a couple of cups of coffee and compose myself before doing the interview.”
Woods' last assignment with CBC was as social media reporter with Homerun. Host Sue Smith said she fondly remembers Woods' natural talent as a broadcaster and her inexhaustible taste for adventure.
"I was always amazed at how brave Ange-Aimee was," Smith said. "She was not afraid of new challenges like jetting off to Barcelona or Colorado. Always with that dazzling smile."
In 2013, Woods left CBC to take a position as a multimedia arts reporter for Colorado Public Radio in Denver.
She had recently returned to Montreal and was working as a freelancer, writing reviews for the culture website Cult MTL.
Woods was passionate about the arts and culture scene in Montreal and described her time filling in as an arts reporter with CBC as a “dream job.”
She was serious about her journalism and shedding light on tough issues. Woods was dedicated to finding and telling stories that would have an impact on peoples’ lives.
“I think what attracted me most to journalism is the power the media has to help people make responsible and informed choices,” Woods wrote.
“Good journalists monitor everything around them; they ask the difficult questions and push for answers.”
A memorial service for Ange-Aimée Woods will be held Friday, July 18 at Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon Street West corner Waverly). Doors open at 6 p.m. and service will begin at 7 p.m.