TORONTO — Journalist Ben Rose, right, died earlier this month after what his children referred to as a long period of declining health. He was 86.
His association with The CJN as a reporter spanned more than 25 years, during which he concentrated on theatre, films and music, as well as general assignments.
CJN editor Mordechai Ben-Dat said that Rose “was an invaluable, veteran writer on the staff of The CJN. His experience in the field dating back to World War II and his innate sense of what comprised the essence of a news story brought great credit to the paper. Ben was a friend and an adviser, and a fine journalistic role model to his younger colleagues.”
Rose was born in Ottawa. His father was a pedlar who sold dry goods, chickens, eggs and apples to farms around the province. The family moved with him to Hull, Ont; Bowmanville, Ont.; and later Toronto, where Rose attended Central High School of Commerce.
It was there that a supportive teacher inspired him to go into journalism, his daughter Ruth Hall said.
In Bowmanville, the family had a makeshift tennis court, where Rose learned to play. He continued to play tennis with great enthusiasm for many years.
In 1961, he won the Sloan Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Science, at Columbia University, and he, his wife Fanny and their two oldest children, Ruth and Henry, spent a year in New York.
He began his journalism career at the Ottawa Journal. While there, he twice won the Ottawa Press Club Award.
In 1944, he joined the Toronto Star, where he worked for 21 years, concentrating on science and medical stories.
Together with fellow journalist Dennis Braithwaite, he founded the Newspaper Guild, a union for reporters. “It didn’t make him terribly popular with the editors and publishers,” Hall said.
However, she added, “he believed in standing up for what was right, even if it wasn’t the most popular opinion.”
For several years, he was an information officer for the Toronto Board of Education. From 1969 to 1972, he served as a trustee in Ward 6.
After that, he taught journalism at Sheridan College in Oakville, becoming co-ordinator of the course.
CJN news editor Jeff Rosen was a student of Rose’s at Sheridan College. He described him as “demanding – he expected nothing but the best.”
Later, when he came to work at The CJN, even though he had been a professor and Rosen a student, “he didn’t put on airs,” Rosen said.
“I learned a lot from him. He will be greatly missed.”
Hall remembered that he not only enjoyed theatre but even directed some plays, one of which included her.
His wife, Fanny, she said, “played a big part in his life.” Together, they loved to travel, explore and meet new people. When they got older, she said they went on several Elderhostel tours.
He was very close to his children and grandchildren, Hall said.
Rose was predeceased by his brother Maurice and sister Lilian. He is survived by his wife Fanny; his daughter Ruth Hall and her husband Terry; his son Henry and his wife Anne; and his son Paul and his wife Janice, as well as grandchildren Jeremy, Grant, Josh, Alicia, Nathanel, Sarah, Houston and Adam.