Jack Brezina: Remembering Stephen Patrick
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | March 23, 2017|
There is often an odd relationship between a publisher and a managing editor. While they both work for the same company and presumably share the values that will see the newspaper succeed, often those visions are not always running on parallel tracks. The publisher must always have an eye on the financial bottom line while encouraging the editor to attract circulation by presenting stories that would appeal to readers and writing editorials that will both inspire and challenge.
When I was brought on as the publisher of The County Voice in 2010, managing editor Stephen Patrick was already in place. Stephen and I knew each other long before that moment, as editor of The County Voice and previous publications and as the owner of a bookstore on Haliburton’s main street. So, our relationship from day one was collegial and friendly and, through previous discussions, we knew that we shared many of the same values. When The County Voice closed, we continued to be in touch until he moved away from the community in 2013.
Stephen died March 13, 2017 in Toronto.During his time in Haliburton, I came to know him as being keenly interested in the arts, the owner of a book store, Patrick Books, of course, a sports and outdoors enthusiast and just an all round pleasant person. We shared an understanding of the news business, although his experience was much broader, having worked with the BBC, TVO and CBC TV in producing current affairs programming. While our publications were rivals, we always had time for each other and I always appreciated his insight into the local, provincial and national political scene. He was one reporter who always knew someone “he could call” to get the real scoop on what was going on.
Journalism ran through his blood and he never missed an opportunity to talk to people. He made time for individuals from a cross-section of the community. As his wife Holly Hutchison remarked earlier this week, “He knew there was a story in everyone,” and he enjoyed finding that story and bringing it to light.
While it was a family cottage connection going back to 1947 that brought him here, once he had decided to make the Highlands his home, he chose a spot in the middle of the woods to live, off-grid, close to the nature he loved. The trek from the house provided an opportunity for this avid birder to connect with his avian friends.
Stephen and his wife were big supporters of the local arts scene. Stephen served on the board of directors of the Rails End Gallery.
He took great pride in the fact that he was on the board when curator Laurie Jones was hired. While many people were involved as well, it was during this period that the arts achieved a much higher profile in our community.
However, it was as editor of The County Voice and the early days of The Highlander that he will be remembered.
He used his position to challenge the status quo and support those members of the community who needed support … exactly what one expected of a community newspaper editor.
Stephen Arthur Orde Patrick, you will be missed.
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.