A lifetime of service to his country, community, colleagues and family has ended for Bill Jessome.
Bill Jessome and his nephew Phonse, pose with Jessome's Radio Television Digital News Directors Associationof/The Electronic Journalists of Canada lifetime achievement award, in this photo from Phonse Jessome's Twitter account.
The Cape Breton native and pioneer in Television News and Broadcast Journalism died Monday night in Halifax at age 88. He was also a veteran of the Second World War, serving overseas in the Italian campaign.
Born Sydney in 1925, Jessome grew up in the multicultural neighborhood of Whitney Pier. He was proud to be from the Pier and remained strongly connected to his roots throughout his life.
In the early stages of his broadcasting career, he had acting roles in American television dramas and worked in news in Boston. He is best known in Cape Breton as the evening news anchor at CJCB Television. CJCB eventually became part of ATV, CTV Atlantic and the CTV network. Bill eventually moved to Halifax with the network and continued to share news and feature stories, including the popular Maritime Mysteries feature series. As the long time host of the annual Cape Breton broadcast of the CTV Christmas Daddies Telethon, he brought Christmas into the homes of many viewers. Jessome was also known to share his wisdom, direction and knowledge of the television news craft with younger colleagues.
Jessome contributed to public discussion and debate by sharing the stories of everyday people using a medium that often influences social, cultural and political issues of the day.
As a broadcast journalist, he pioneered some of the earliest television news documentary work in the region exploring issues of social, cultural and political significance. His work in broadcasting brought greater awareness to issues of public interest and often reflected the diverse cultures, industries and communities.
In later years one of his proudest career accomplishments was the documentary on his experiences as a young soldier shipping out to war through Pier 21 in Halifax. Earlier this year he was also recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the Radio Television Digital News Directors Associationof/The Electronic Journalists of Canada.
Jessome was predeceased by his wife Rose and stepson Richard. Funeral arrangements are underway and will be shared through his obituary.