Calgary

Journalist, publisher Jack Tennant remembered for quick wit, kind heart

Jack Tennant was a man known for his sharp wit, quick words and kind heart — and on Tuesday, mourners came together to celebrate the life of the unofficial King of Cochrane.

Beloved southern Alberta scribe died on May 20 at the age of 82

In memory of John 'Jack' Tennant

3 years ago
1:20
Friends, family and colleagues attended a funeral service Tuesday for the beloved southern Alberta columnist. 1:20

Jack Tennant was a man known for his sharp wit, quick words and kind heart — and on Tuesday, mourners came together to celebrate the life of the unofficial King of Cochrane.

"Jack had that mystical, magical ability to sometimes tell people to go to hell in such a way that they were actually looking forward to the road trip," said Mo Gudzowaty, a longtime friend of the former journalist, publisher and philanthropist.

"I am a better person because of Jack's friendship. He modelled for me what a second chance life looks like each and every day," said well-known Cochrane businessman Alex Baum.

Tennant was well-known in southern Alberta for his work as a longtime columnist for the Calgary Sun. He had a folksy way of writing that earned him a reputation as the voice of the underdog.

In his 60 years in journalism, Tennant was also a champion of small-town newspapers — buying and growing papers across southern Alberta from the Airdrie Echo to the Cochrane Eagle.

Jack Tennant got his early start in journalism as a photographer at a newspaper in Brandon, Man. (CBC)

Tennant died on May 20 at the age of 82.

At his celebration of life service, friends from the media, the local business community, the Indigenous community and his family took turns sharing anecdotes, most of which ended with one of Tennant's quick witted one-liners and a mention of the twinkle in his pale blue eyes.

"His whole story is about calling life as you see it. His philanthropy was more about heart than money. He gave to the AA community and they gave to him. He was a storyteller but also an amazing listener," Michelle Carre said of her grandfather.

Gudzowaty met Tennant more than 25 years ago in Alcoholics Anonymous — a program Tennant was fiercely proud to be associated with after finding sobriety himself more than 50 years ago.

Even in the last years of his life, as his health failed, Tennant still made the time to attend meetings to help others. 

"What Jack was to a lot of people was definitely a leader, a benchmark in what to hope and what to turn out to be in life if we ever grow up," Gudzowaty said.

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