Knowlton Nash remembered as 'professional twin' of ex-CBC correspondent Joe Schlesinger

The funeral service for Knowlton Nash, longtime anchor of CBC's The National who died Saturday, will be held at Grace Church on the Hill in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood on May 28, 2014.

Schlesinger says Knowlton's legacy was improving and reshaping the CBC, and being humble about it

Professional colleagues, friends and just about everyone has a special memory of CBC's 'anchor' in every sense of that word 4:34

The funeral service for Knowlton Nash, longtime anchor of CBC's The National who died Saturday, will be held at a church in Toronto's Forest Hill neighbourhood on May 28.

The funeral will take place at Grace Church on the Hill at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. It will be open to the public.

Nash, who spent 37 years with Canada's public broadcaster, died at his home in Toronto. He was 86.

Joe Schlesinger, a former CBC News executive producer and correspondent, fondly remembered Nash by calling him his "professional twin."

"Knowlton and I were the same age. Both of us were foreign correspondents who covered conflicts the world over and both of us became CBC managers and program hosts," Schlesinger, 86, said.

"Journalism was a very different business when we started. Then television came along and everything changed. Knowlton made the switch several years before I did and he became a role model for me." 

Schlesinger said Nash's best quality was his ability to be natural and humble. 

"You need patience. It's something I lacked and had to learn from him," he said. "One of the things that changed about The National was that the evening news used to be read by announcers who didn't necessarily know what the story was about.

Knowlton Nash, a former CBC News executive producer, correspondent and anchor, died last weekend at age 86. His funeral Wednesday afternoon in Toronto was open to the public. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

"It paid for someone like Knowlton, who had been there and knew similar situations, so he could more or less figure out what it was all about — and change it if necessary."

Of Nash's legacy, Schlesinger said it came down to improving The National, improving and reshaping the CBC — and being humble about it.

"He wasn't that kind of top-down guy who just set rules. He would listen. It takes empathy to listen to all sorts of opinions even if you think they're not exactly what's needed. He will be missed."

As Canadians woke up to the news of Nash's death, tributes and fond memories poured in from across the country. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement on Sunday, calling Nash "one of the icons of Canadian broadcast news."

“Mr. Nash’s remarkable legacy includes the rich historical news archives he leaves behind, the many books he authored and the many journalists he helped to train. The nation mourns the loss of this iconic journalist,” he said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he was saddened by Nash's death. 

"For so long, his voice was English Canada's voice," he said via Twitter.

Take a look at how CBC members, journalists and audience across Canada are remembering Knowlton Nash on social media.


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