Our Biographies

Biographies

The following PROFILES (sketches) are just drafts based on information that Norm and Phil have been able to uncover (E&OE). We would love to have you update your own profile, in your own words. Just email your content to: reunion@rta64.ca

Donald S. Allen
- Whereabouts unknown since 1964

Gail Mary Lynne (Armstrong) Ganatakis
- Married George after graduation.

Brian Barker
- Retired since 1995 after very successful on-air career with several Ontario and Toronto radio stations, including CKBB Barrie, CKVR TV Barrie, CHSC St Catharines, CFJR Brockville, General Manager of CHOO Ajax, CKFH Toronto (home of the Blue Jays when Brian did the morning show), CFGM Richmond Hill, County 59 (CKEY) Toronto. Still living in Toronto.

Roman Bittman
It isn’t hard to gauge the impact Roman Bittman has had on life in Canada. Just turn on your television. You’ll see shows written, directed, produced and shot in Canada; Hollywood productions that now employ and challenge Canadians from coast-to-coast-to coast; and finally, a television network that Aboriginal Canadians can truly call their own. That’s the legacy of Roman Bittman, a trapper’s son who was born just south of the border between the Northwest Territories and Alberta. At high school in Hay River, NWT, Roman was in the thick of amateur efforts that ensured sub-Arctic listeners had a welcome break from the only radio their dial then offered – Radio Moscow. Winning a scholarship, Roman headed south to Toronto and studied at Ryerson, graduating in 1964. He worked at CBC news and was soon producer of The Nature of Things, CBC’s flagship natural history and science series. Behind the camera and in the studio, he has been responsible for upwards of 100 films. More than 30 of them have attracted top 10 audience share. Roman also became President of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation and designed and implemented the Film Industry Labour Tax Credit – a first for English Canada. It has now been emulated across the country and is considered the main financial instrument fueling the explosive growth in the Canadian film industry.  Roman was an advisor in the early days of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Married to Marilyn Belec Bittman. Roman passed away on November 7, 2017.

Gerrard (Gerry) Boudreau
- As I won’t be able to make the 50th reunion I thought I would update my biography.

Soon after graduation Gerry worked for a short time at CBC Toronto and then went on to become Assistant Producer in a national musical quiz show at CTV in Montreal.  When the show ended Gerry worked in public relations at Expo 67 in Montreal, taking a weekend off to get married with Mary-Anne in Nova Scotia, dragging Norm Guilfoyle and Jim Coward with him for the wedding.

After Expo Gerry became a producer and then executive producer with TV Ontario.  Gerry and Mary-Anne then decided to move to Nova Scotia where Gerry joined the staff at CJLS radio.  After a few years he formed an advertising management company and subsequently purchased CJLS, while Mary-Anne became the owner of a print shop.

After the sale of CJLS Gerry was a producer of the entertainment segment of the 2004 World Acadian Congress, culminating with the closing TV show in Halifax carried by CBC.  As he had often travelled to France to play music, Gerry and Mary-Anne decided to move to the South-West of France in 2006.

Although officially retired, Gerry has 3 musical groups in France, one Acadian, one rock and blues and one playing top 40 material. He has the good fortune of having one of the best guitarists from England with him, someone who has played with artists like Shirley Bassey and written songs for Johnny Mathis among others.  The groups play in all parts of France and it beats sitting around watching the time go by.

As Gerry was the baby of the class, he hasn’t hit 70 yet but there are a few aches and pains in the morning.

Gerald (Gerry) Buchner
- Upon graduation, I joined 3M Canada holding several positions in sales and marketing in the Printing and Publishing Products division. After 32 years I took an early retirement from 3M in Calgary. That lasted 3 months after which I followed my passion for wine and joined Willow Park Wines and Spirits in Calgary in 1996.

This retirement job been most enjoyable, giving me the opportunity to teach courses in wine education, sell and travel all over the wine world visiting our producers while vacationing. Not a bad gig.

I doubt I'll be able to make the 50 year reunion, so HI TO ALL. If any of you happen to be coming out west in the future, drop me a line at buchner@shaw.ca and we can share a bottle or two. In 2015, I moved to Port Moody BC (Part of greater Vancouver), and am enjoying west coast living.

Philip J. Chant
-In September of 2002 Philip Chant retired from Corporate Communications Limited of Halifax Nova Scotia after 11 years as senior vice president media. During that time he lead a team that captured a number of media awards including Strategy Magazine's "Best Media Plan" Awards, World Wide Partners Inc. Best-of-Show media plan and Marketing Magazine's first-ever National Gold Award for Media Innovation in television.

With over 40 years of advertising experience, Phil has handled media assignments for a brewery, airlines, three tourism jurisdictions, telecommunication companies, food processors, insurance companies and lotteries. He developed the national media plan for the 1991 Statistics Canada National Census. Phil holds the Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner (CAAP) designation conferred by the Institute of Canadian Advertisers.

He acted as a consultant to a large international food manufacturer, analyzing and making recommendations on their US television advertising buys. On two occasions he has appeared as a witness before the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Now that he's semi-retired, he continues to be sought out by agencies across Canada for his experience in media organization, media strategy, planning and negotiation. Since leaving Corporate Communications Limited (now named Colour Creative Persuasion) Phil has handled a number of assignments for the agency as well as other advertising agencies in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, Halifax, St. John's, Calgary, Sudbury and Saskatoon.

Philip served on the board of directors of Symphony Nova Scotia, was chair of the national communications committee of Scouts Canada and is a past honourary member of the Trans-Canada Advertising Agency Network.

He and his wife Janet now live in Toronto following a 13-year stint in Guelph. Their daughter Wendy (Ryerson HTM'91) is sales manager for a major hotel in downtown Toronto. Their son David (RTA'93) is a digital media consultant in Toronto. Two grand children round out the family.

Ross W. Chapman
- Became a writer, editor and proofreader for publications in Toronto. His passion was reading and he had a penchant for most sports, particularly baseball, hockey and basketball. Ross was a regular in Toronto's Yonge-Eglinton community.

Phil Chee
- Before I commenced my RTA course in 1961, I had worked as a Producer for four years with Radio Sabah, a network owned by the government which financed my Ryerson education. Sabah, a British Colony then, became part of Malaysia in 1963. The skills that I acquired at Ryerson gave me a tremendous advantage to get the best jobs in Malaysia. After my graduation in 1964, I was appointed Head of English Service of Radio Malaysia in Sabah. Three years later I became the Senior Program Organiser responsible for staff training and the supervision of program output in the various language services.

When television was introduced to Sabah in 1971, I became its first Controller of Programs, giving me endless opportunities to learn all aspects of television production and the complexities in the management of a television station. I am totally convinced that without my Ryerson education, these senior management positions would have been out of reach for me.

In 1974, just after I had completed my work contract with the government for financing my studies at Ryerson, my wife Esther and I decided to immigrate to Canada. Our decision was made partly because of political pressure for me to change my religion and partly because we wanted to give our son a Canadian education. Luckily, because of my training at Ryerson we were readily accepted by Immigration Canada as independent immigrants meaning we were not required to have Canadian sponsors or the need to have employment guarantees in order to immigrate.

When we arrived at Canada I encountered considerable difficulty getting into the broadcasting industry as I did not have any Canadian experience. I ended up as a Radio Dispatcher at the University of British Columbia. During the first 9 years with the University I worked in various capacities ranging from radio dispatching, payroll, and general office administration. In 1983, I was appointed Special Assistant to the Director of Parking working exclusively on behalf of the Director in the administration of appeals dealing with parking complaints and disputes of Parking Violations. I retired in 2001 after completing 27 years with the University.

Our son, Jim, 46, a Criminology graduate from the Simon Fraser University is an Investigator in the insurance/investment industry. His wife Sandy--an Arts graduate from the University of Toronto and a graduate in Computer Science from the British Columbia Institute of Technology--is Senior Analyst with BC Telus. They are blessed with a lovely daughter Lauren who is 9 years old.

In leaving Malaysia to come to Canada, I suffered a major setback in my career. However, I have no regrets as what I had lost in Malaysia has been more than compensated by my son’s success in getting a Canadian education, a challenging career and the opportunity to pursue his own Canadian dream. We consider ourselves truly blessed to have the privilege to live in this beautiful country where freedom of choice is greatly honoured and where we can practise our faith without let or hindrance.

Bob Chrysler

- Retired following a long career at TVOntario in Toronto

Ms Gay Claitman
- Still being very funny and writing with wit and heart.

Jim Coward
- Retired with wife Janet to their family island just outside Perth Ontario after an outstanding career as a staff announcer and sometimes radio producer for CBC Montreal. Career included a stint as radio station manager, CBC Inuvik in the 80s.

Ronald Fiorelli
-Following graduation, Ron experienced an unexpected twist to the Ryerson Radio and Television Arts program.

He joined the public relations department of a major financial institution which had a major public relations focus on sports and sport art.  Ron’s involvement in the development of the program gained him extensive experience in sports marketing and media communications, including events associated with the Montreal Olympics, and he even served as executive producer on three sports marketing films.

However, for most of his professional career, he served as a senior executive of major international public relations and marketing communications agencies focusing on media relations and crisis communications.  His clients over the years included leading companies in virtually every business sector as well as export departments of European countries and European-based companies..  Some clients such as Wines of Germany and the International Olive Oil Council, which included most European countries, remained core clients for years.

Ron officially retired in 2008 only to become immediately enmeshed in a community issue involving the planned construction of a major power plant in Oakville.  He was instrumental in a community wide team which led to the cancellation of the Ontario Liberal power plant.

Ron and his wife have two sons, both executives in major banks, and counts seven grandchildren.

Ron passed away in  Oakville, Ontario on July 5, 2019.

Bill Genova
- Has a successful tourist business providing tours to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake, as well as walking tours of downtown Toronto. After retiring, Bill became an avid scholar of local history, researching into the past of the Greater Toronto Area. It became clear to him that the information he found on local buildings and events was unknown to even fellow Torontonian's. Mixing his intriguing stories with his knowledge of streets and the public transport system, Genova Tours was founded.

A variety of tours are offered. Most tours take place on foot, covering areas such as Chinatown, Little Italy, Cabbagetown and St. Lawrence Market. Evening tours are also available to explore the nightlife and haunted graveyards.

Sig Gerber
- In 1964, he started his career with CBC as an assistant film editor. He went on to direct live CBC television information programs, talk shows and multi-camera remotes. From 1967 to 1968, he was the producer of "Luncheon date with Elwood Glover," a live, daily television talk show.

His journalism career began while working as a news reporter-writer for CHUM Radio in Toronto. In 1970, Gerber became a member of the production team for the CBC program "Man alive" in its formative years. He conceived, produced, directed and wrote more than fifty documentary programs that explored faith, religion and spirituality between 1970 and 1976. Gerber became the executive producer for the weekly documentary series, from 1976 to 1977, and assumed responsibility for the editorial, creative and financial controls of "Man alive." His work won several awards, particularly for the episode "I am not what you see."

Gerber continued his work with the CBC from 1977 to 1982 as the executive producer of "Take 30," before becoming the executive producer of the popular CBC television drama "For the record" in 1982. Gerber commissioned, supervised and closely guided the script writing and production of the "For the record," a topical anthology drama series that explored personal stories behind social issues affecting the daily lives of Canadians. His work on "For the record" won several awards and nominations, including a Rocky Award for "Ready for slaughter" (Best TV Drama, 1983) and a Gemini Award for "Oakmount High" (Best Short Drama, 1986). Gerber also won Red Ribbon (1985) and Prix Anik (1986) awards for his production of "Turning to stone," a two-hour CBC television movie that depicted the life of a young, first time offender sentenced to Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario.

With the conclusion of the "For the record" series, Gerber continued his work as an executive producer with the CBC's "Marketplace," an investigative reporting information series. He then became the Area Head of CBC English Television current affairs department. Between 1996 and 1999, Gerber directed and managed the editorial content and production of nine weekly series, including "the fifth estate," "Witness," "Life and times" and "Venture." Gerber returned to "Man alive" as a creative program consultant for its 2000-2001 season for thirteen half-hour documentaries.

Gerber worked for the CBC as an instructor teaching investigative reporting and television production skills from 1995 until his retirement in 1999, and has continued to be involved in broadcasting as a freelance media consultant, journalism teacher, and trainer. Sig lives in Toronto with his wife Suzan.

Norm Guilfoyle
- “Ryerson was my window of opportunity. My Ryerson education gave me the confidence to try new things,” he says, whether it was jumping into new jobs or travelling the world.

From his early days on campus, Norm knew that Ryerson and broadcasting were a natural fit. In fact, he won the CFPL London Award for being the top student in RTA in 1960-61. The scholarship was presented by H.H. Kerr, Ryerson’s first principal in fall 1961.  At the same time, Norm’s love of radio was confirmed while working as a student programmer on Ryerson’s radio station CJRT-FM, (which would later become JazzFM-91).

While still a student, Norm worked at his hometown radio station CFRS in Simcoe, Ont. and after graduating in 1964, he took a sales job at the Oshawa radio station CKLB. From there, he moved to Montreal and worked in national broadcast sales, representing radio and TV stations across the country, and selling air time to advertising agencies. 

By 1970, Norm grew restless and set off to see the world, making his way to Australia via Europe and Asia. He eventually ended up in New Zealand, where he landed a job at an Auckland radio station. After returning to Canada for a few months, the globetrotter set off again for South America, where he stayed for almost a year. Norm eventually moved back to Canada and worked for over a decade at the CBC in the 1970s and 1980s, latterly heading up the national magazine Radio Guide.

Though broadcasting and travelling were among Norm’s first loves, he shifted careers after taking a fundraising course at Humber College. Norm channelled his storytelling and sales experience into philanthropy—his new passion—and joined Ketchum Canada Inc. Working as a fundraising consultant, both with Ketchum and as a freelancer, Norm worked with charities such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the CNIB. He also spent a couple of years working in Ryerson’s University Advancement office in the early 2000s, playing a key role in the university’s preparation for the “Invest in Futures” campaign.

Though much has changed at Ryerson since Norm was a student – like the School of RTA now located in the state-of-the-art Rogers Communications Centre – some things endure. For example, the iconic radio tower that transmitted Norm’s first broadcast still sits atop Kerr Hall East. Also, in Norm’s day, Ryerson had a strict dress code for male students, a tradition Norm upholds whenever he visits the campus. “Putting on a shirt-and-tie is just what I do when I go to Ryerson,” he says.

Brent T. Harlton
-Brent  worked as a news reporter and cameraman for CKSO in Sudbury and then moved to Regina where he produced news and variety shows for CKCK television.

Brent then moved to CFCF-TV, Montreal where he produced commercials and local programming. After several years at CFCF, he moved to Multiscope Ltd. to produce, write and direct. He then opened BH Productions, Montreal, which he has operated for the past several years.

Over the years BH Productions has worked for The Bay, General Motors and Pierre Cardin and has also produced, written and directed multi-image AV and live stage productions for clients such as Avon, Imasco, Kraft and numerous pharmaceutical companies.

In 2005 he met his high school sweetheart at his hometown centennial celebration in Saskatchewan.  They married in 2007 and moved to Vancouver (she has more grandkids than Brent). Between them they have 14 grand-children. Recently they sold the Vancouver home and built a new place in the beautiful hills of Kamloops. He is still doing the odd production project but basically is retired.  They winter in Arizona.

Keith Hodgins
- Worked for many years with London Life Insurance and lived in Georgetown. Attended RTA 64 40th Anniversary, but then we lost track of Keith. Norm tracked him down in mid 2017. We would love to add some life-details when you get a chance Keith.

Don G. Jones
- Joined the Ontario Provincial Police out of Ryerson in 1964 and rose through the ranks to head the Public Relations department for Northwestern Ontario after an outstanding career serving with the OPP in many smaller and First Nations communities of NWO, Don is now retired in Kenora.

Kenneth Kilpatrick
-

Ms Joan McLellan
- Retired from CBC Radio News after a distinguished career.

Fon Moma
-

Sam G.  Napier
- Early in his career Sam worked in radio in  Owen Sound on CFOS. His 27 year career at CTV Network ended when he took early retirement at age 58. He was Equipment Manager for the Mississauga Football League during the time his two sons played in the league. Sam was always a Tiger-Cats fan.

Sam passed away October 24, 1998.

Ken O'Connor
- Attended 40th Anniversary of RTA 64 graduation. Ken worked in radio and television before becoming a copywriter. He had his own advertising agency in the pharmaceutical field. As a director, editor, and photographer he has produced over one hundred short films. He now writes fiction, non-fiction, films, humor, and book reviews. His career as a writer and enterpreneur has taken Kenn across Canada, and most recently, to the People's Republic of China. Last reported living in Brampton.

Chike C. Okechukwu
- Was it Nigeria he came from?

Ron L. Poole
-Ron passed away at 73 years of age on February 27th, 2012 after a courageous battle with multiple myeloma. He was a professor, a social worker, a community volunteer, an organist and a singer. He completed his academic career at Ryerson University, University of Windsor, Wayne State University and University of Michigan. Ron was married for 43 years to Joan (nee Calder). They have two children,  David of Windsor and Jennifer of Cobourg.

Eli Potkonjak
- Eli was born in Flin Flon, Manitoba. The first 18 years of his life in this rugged mining town were filled with stories of wood stoves, no plumbing, no television but plenty of good food, friends and family. After high school Eli left for Ryerson Institute of Technology in Toronto where he obtained a degree in Radio and Television Arts. Always the academic he later returned to his home province to earn his B.A. from the University of Manitoba. Taking a few years off from school Eli became a travelling salesman for General Foods. He finished his schooling back at the University of Manitoba by completing his law degree in 1973. In 1971 Eli met and married his wife Barbara Amy. Their son Evan was born in 1978 and Amy arrived in 1982.  He maintained an active legal career until 1990 when poor health forced him into retirement.

Eli passed away November 23, 2014

Brian Robertson
- Deceased

Dan Sinclair
- Retired from a long career with CBC. Lives in Port Medway, Nova Scotia where he is involved with the Port Medway Readers Festival, the Medway Head Lighthouse Society and the Medway Area Communities Association.

David Stone
- Many years as public relations officer for Toyota Canada. Retired

Heather Elizabeth Taylor Hall
- Hi all, Sorry to be missing the reunion but I do want to say “hi”. Wow 50 years seems to have gone by way too quickly.  A little about my life after ’64 found me married to Gary Hall (RTA ’63) in 1965.  We had 3 children Jennifer, Richard and Michael in ’66, ’67 and ‘ 70. Lived in Bennington Heights, Toronto and I did volunteer and part-time work until 1980 when we moved to Niagara on the Lake.  In 1981 I began a career in radio (the dregs of show business!!!) But back then it was still really fun. I started at CJRN in Niagara Falls as a copy writer and over the next 20 years bounced between Niagara Falls and St. Catharines radio as Creative Director, Promotion Director and finishing up as Sales Manager.  In 1986 my life with Gary Hall ended and my new life with Bill Auchterlonie began.  Today we live on the lake just outside Niagara on the Lake.  I continued to write radio commercials for an American conglomerate, wrote a book for a DUI lawyer in Syracuse and have been working  on “envisioning” sessions  with the guy who first hired me at CJRN in 1980. My kids have blessed me with 5 grandchildren, the oldest is 19 in her second year at Brock University and the youngest is 2.  My youngest son, Michael lives in Vancouver and has followed in his dad’s (sort of) footsteps.  He is a film and TV actor but mostly makes his living in voice over.  You may know his voice from Ice Pilots.   He started a “voice” school called “On The Mic” in Vancouver which is a growing concern! My daughter manages a spa in Milton and my son Richard is a Royal LePage agent in St. Catharines .. So there you have it, a life in less than 500 words.

Marilyn Donalda (Thuna) Berglas
- Internationally successful songwriter/Producer/Pianist/Performer. Living in Los Angeles, Marilyn Berglas at Emerald Lion Music, has over 150 recordings world-wide. She has written for such notable artists as Johnny Mathis, Deniece Williams and Billy Preston and has been recorded by artists all over the world. She has co-written with producers and artists internationally and has written for movies and TV. She is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Glenn A. Toner
- Where are you Glenn?

Ms. Bette Lou Wilkin
- Came to an RTA lunch in November, 2013 after out of communication for a number of years.