Legendary Canadian sports writer Trent Frayne has died at the age of 93.
Frayne, who died in Toronto from complications stemming from pneumonia, had a career that spanned more than half a century. Many of his colleagues have hailed him as the greatest Canadian sports writer of his generation.
Fellow sports scribe Stephen Brunt, who worked with Frayne when he was at the Globe and Mail, called him a “terrific guy” and “wonderful colleague.”
“It’s his elegance as a writer, writing about sports but mostly writing about people, that will be remembered because that’s what he liked to do,” Brunt told CBC News on Saturday.
“He was a guy who could write poetically about events and people and sports. He was regarded as a wordsmith.”
Brunt said Frayne was able to “eviscerate someone in the most stylish way possible.”
Frayne was born on Sept. 13, 1918 in Brandon, Man., the only child of a Canadian Pacific Railway worker and his wife. He played a lot of sports growing up and began working as a sports writer for the local paper in his teens and university years.
Eventually, he graduated to working in the Winnipeg bureau of The Canadian Press before moving to the Winnipeg Tribune. In 1942, Frayne moved to Toronto to join The Globe.
In Toronto, he met fellow journalist June Callwood and they married in 1944. The couple had four children but their youngest, Casey, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1982.
“It was a great partnership,” recalls Brunt. “They lost their son Casey early on and that was a terrible thing for both of them.”
As a result, Frayne and Callwood founded Casey House, for people living with HIV.
“They were a powerhouse combination,” Brunt said.
Frayne and Callwood were married for more than 60 years until Callwood died in 2007.
Brunt says Frayne always had an active and critical mind, even after retirement. The elderly writer would send type-written notes on little pieces of paper to colleagues either praising them for something they had written or offering criticism.
“It was always a great moment when you saw that in the mailbox,” said Brunt. “There would be 10 lines from Trent Frayne telling you exactly what you had done right or wrong. I cherish those.”