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“Have typewriter, will travel.”

After struggling with dementia for years, Thomas Van Dusen Sr. died at the age of 90. The Quebec native was a fixture on Parliament Hill for 45 years, as a reporter and then as a political hand for prime ministers like John Diefenbaker, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Though he held a special place in his heart for the Conservatives, Van Dusen didn’t discriminate, working for Liberals like Mitchell Sharp. As a fountain of political knowledge, he joined the Parliamentary Press Gallery in 1947 and worked for the Ottawa Journal throughout the ’40s and ’50s. Like many shoe-leather journalists of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Van Dusen spent tireless hours at his typewriter. He was part of a group of old school reporters who spent years perfecting their craft and paving the way for today’s journalists. But he seemed to always make time for his wife of 64 years, Shirley Hogan, who stayed at his side at a time when many male journalists preferred to fly solo. The pair had seven children, most of who will be carrying on the name their father has made in journalism. Of the seven, five have carried on their father’s motto: “Have typewriter, will travel.”

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About the author

Savannah Demeter was the Head of Research of the Winter 2012 issue for the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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