Bob McDevitt, iconic CBC Montreal sportscaster, dies at 85

Longtime CBC broadcaster and Concordia journalism professor Bob McDevitt has died.

McDevitt worked at CBC for 27 years before teaching journalism students at Concordia University

Bob McDevitt died at the age of 85 at the Jewish General Hospital. (CBC Archives)

Former CBC sportscaster and Concordia journalism professor Bob McDevitt has died.

McDevitt, whose health had been in decline for several years, died at the Jewish General Hospital yesterday morning at the age of 85.

His wife of 56 years, Pat, was by his side.

His children say he left them with many warm memories.

"He owned a small sailboat when we were kids and the time that we spent on that boat out as a family...the freedom of being on that boat, out on the water, that was so much my dad," said his daughter Katy McDevitt.

Bob McDevitt's career in broadcast journalism spanned 34 years – 27 of those were at CBC, where he worked in radio and television as a sportscaster.

"For us as kids, it was really fun. It's cool to see your dad on TV...but I guess the deeper thing was that he was a real journalist. He told the truth journalistically – sometimes to his own detriment professionally. He was a real role model for all of us," his daughter told CBC.

CBC sportscaster Bob McDevitt interviews Habs captain jean Béliveau in 1986. (CBC Archives)
"He criticized teams, owners, organizing bodies when he felt that was warranted, very much without a thought about his career…He believed in telling the truth."

After his career at CBC, McDevitt went on to teach journalism at Concordia University for 12 years. There is even a scholarship award in his name.

"He never planned on teaching. It kind of fell into his lap. It even surprised him how much he loved it," Katy McDevitt said. "People really were his oxygen. My father wanted all his life to be engaged. He was not a loner. He was a curious person. He loved engaging with people."

She remembers her parents' house filled with students during the holidays because her father would invite them over for Christmas parties.

"Engaging with all those young, curious people, he loved it. He took a late retirement because he didn't want to lose that."

To honour their father's wishes, the family will not be holding a funeral, but McDevitt did ask for a memorial. No details have been finalized yet.

With files from CBC reporter Sarah Leavitt