October 16, 2019

North Bay stars honoured Nov. 8

The Kiwanis-Downtown North Bay Walk of Fame will add five more stars during its fourth induction ceremony and dinner taking place at the Grande Event Centre Nov. 8.

George Couchie, Ralph Diegel, Mort Fellman, Murray Leatherdale and Jack Lockhart were chosen from 30 nomination submissions reviewed by a selection committee last month.

“The scope of the 2019 recognition covers several decades of our city’s history,” said Ralph Celentano, chairman of the selection committee, noting the wide range of interests reflected by the inductees as well as the provincial, national and international attention they earned.

George Couchie, Indigenous Educator category:

Couchie has more 33 years of policing experience, including 12 years designing and delivering award winning Native Awareness Training Programs and Initiatives to youth, Ontario Provincial Police, government employees and teachers.

Couchie‘s ‘Walking the Path’ program teaches about racism, stereotyping, the history of Aboriginal people and the effects of residential schools.  It has been accepted by the Ontario Catholic School Board as a part of their curriculum, has been translated into French and taught across Ontario.

Multi-media educational work, in collaboration with Canadore College, involved film and documentary work concerning youth drugs and alcohol awareness.  A second film covers Residential School history and effects and a third video, Cultural Mindfulness, offers insight into Truth and Reconciliation.             

Ralph Diegel, Independent Retail category:

Owner of Deegan’s Shoe Store, the oldest independent retail shoe store in Canada, has been serving local families and organizations for 130 years. Diegel was the National President of the Canadian Shoe Retailers Association in the 1960s. He is a Second World War veteran (1943-46) who served as Commanding Officer of the 104th Brilliant Sea Cadets for eight years. Ralph worked on regional committees retaining officer’s rank for 37 years and maintained his Br. 23 Royal Canadian North Bay Legion service with regular duty assisting Remembrance Day services. 

Diegel has assisted local, provincial and national campaigns of the Salvation Army for more than 54 years, including 40 years performing for the Salvation Army Band where ever they travelled.  Diegel is an active North Bay Rotarian for 60 years, was president in 1967, and has been recognized with various awards, including YMCA Peacemaker and Paul Harris Fellowship.  He has been a long-serving member of Downtown North Bay (formerly Downtown Improvement Area) and has been involved with Downtown’s Old Christmas Walk for 30 years.

Mort Fellman, Journalist/Editor category:

Fellman became a North Bay Nugget reporter in 1933 before taking on the sports editor desk in 1935 and becoming editor in 1940 with retirement in 1976. He was the first journalist to break the 1934 international story of the birth of the Dionne Quintuplets and became their official press officer travelling to New York and Chicago. 

Fellman covered regional stories during the Second World War in Chalk River (Atomic Bomb project), broke the 1937 story with Britt Jessup of the identity of Grey Owl, the renowned conservationist who was based out of Temagami.  He won national awards for editorials (1955) and was national president of the Canadian Managing Editors’ Convention held at the 1967 World Expo in Montreal.  Fellman was inducted in the Canadian News Hall of Fame in 1980. 

Murray Leatherdale, Author, Historian category:

Leatherdale’s interest in Indigenous peoples and early explorers began after restoring their different portage routes. Leatherdale was instrumental in verifying the LaVase Portages (1960) and provincial points of interest (1950s to 1962).  Leatherdale was president of the North Bay Historical Society (1970s) and maintained membership of Ontario Historical Board 1953 to 1978.  His pursuit of discovering Fort Laronde, on the LaVase River, Champlain Park garnered him life membership in the North Bay Historical Society and recognition by the Ontario Historical Society.  An archaeological dig in 1997 has since verified the site.  Further, he founded the North Bay Area Museum serving as president 1974 to 1977.

As part of his promotion of North Bay on a world stage, Leatherdale co-founded the Ville Marie to North Bay Canoe Race that drew paddlers from across Canada and northern United States.  This event was known to be the prequel to the current North Bay-Mattawa Canoe Race.

A gifted lecturer throughout Ontario, he suffered a stroke in 1978 and passed away in 1984.

Jack Lockhart, Visual Artist, Educator category:

Lockhart is an internationally-known Canadian artist whose paintings hang in private and corporate collections in North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China and Japan,

Collectors include former prime ministers, premiers, lieutenant governors and numerous celebrities in the world of sports and entertainment.

His paintings have commemorated numerous milestones in North Bay including 100th anniversaries of the Ontario Provincial Police, Teacher Education, the West Ferris Trojan reunion, the 75th anniversary of the City of North Bay, the 50th anniversary of NORAD and numerous other commissions.

Tickets are $75 per person.  For further information, contact Celentano 705-474-7830, Kiwanis President Chris Mayne 705-474-1536 or Downtown North Bay office 705-472-8480 Ext. 233. 


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