British Columbia

Longtime Vancouver Sun columnist Shelley Fralic remembered as a 'force of nature'

Long-time Vancouver Sun columnist Shelley Fralic died suddenly, at her home in New Westminster, on May 31. She was 68.

Shelley Fralic died unexpectedly May 31

Shelley Fralic, longtime columnist for the Vancouver Sun, made a point of answering every email, phone call and letter from her readers, according to her friend and colleague, Pete McMartin. (Twitter)

As news of Shelley Fralic's death spread over social media Tuesday, words like "extraordinary," "legend" and "gem" were used to describe the longtime Vancouver Sun columnist.

Fralic died unexpectedly at her home in New Westminster on May 31. She was 68.

Fellow columnist and friend, Pete McMartin, wrote a touching, obituary in Fralic's honour, published Wednesday in the Vancouver Sun.

In it, he described Fralic as his closest friend and colleague at the Sun. 

In an interview with The Early Edition's Stephen Quinn, McMartin described her as a "force of nature, a real strong woman, funny as hell," who loved to connect with her readers.

"She would get hundreds of emails for a column she wrote and she would answer every single email, phone call, letter," McMartin said. 

"It didn't matter whether those were laudatory or critical, you know, Shelley answered them all. I think her readers really appreciated that."

Fralic became a reporter with the Vancouver Sun in 1979, wrote her first column in 2001 and worked as a full-time columnist from 2003 to 2016. McMartin says she was "coaxed" out of retirement last year to resume her column.

She worked on many books, including one about the Vancouver Sun, another about the woman who discovered Michael Bublé, and she contributed to a photo collection of Vancouver in the '70s created by Douglas Coupland. 

She received a Lifetime Acheivement Award from the Jack Webster Foundation in 2017 and dedicated countless hours to The Vancouver Sun's Children Fund and Adopt-A-School Program, helping children in need throughout B.C.

Though her professional accomplishments were vast, McMartin said her family remained her top priority. 

"She would write about her family, and those were, I thought, her best columns," he said. 

"Those were columns that everyone could identify with. She opened up to people in those columns and, you know, let people know what her failings and weaknesses were. That's a refreshing thing for a reader to read and everyone who has family can identify with that."

Listen to Pete McMartin's interview on The Early Edition here: 

Pete McMartin speaks with Stephen Quinn about the death of Shelley Fralic.

With files from The Early Edition

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