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Saturday September 13, 2014

MORRIS SMOLENSKY, Margaret 'Maggie'
Born Margaret Glenesk Beal on December 10, 1925, Maggie Morris Smolensky died on September 4, 2014, in her home at the Dunfield Retirement Residence. Predeceased by her second husband, Stanley Michael Smolensky and her parents, James Cooper Beal and Jane McCallum Glenesk, Maggie will be greatly missed by her son, Glen Morris (Pat), her daughter, Jane Morris (Bob Hicks) and her many friends. Born in London, England, and raised in Scarborough, Yorkshire, Maggie was evacuated in 1940 shortly after the outbreak of World War II to Winnipeg where she attended Kelvin High School. In 1944, she returned to England and trained as a registered nurse, later obtaining her certificate of midwifery. Now married, she returned to Canada and began her professional career in radio drama and school broadcasts in Winnipeg in 1954. The family moved to Ottawa in 1955 where her TV career included co-hosting the local programs Contact and Diplomatic Passport. In 1962 in Toronto, she won a spot on Flashback, a new national CBC TV quiz show where she was the only cast member to remain for all six seasons (1962-1968). She was accepted as a summer relief announcer on the CBC announce staff in Ottawa in 1961 and Toronto in 1963, the only woman to be so employed on the English language network. She joined the staff on contract in 1969, still the only woman. Her contract was renewed twice before she was fired in April 1970, making headlines across the country. The CBC hired its first permanent female staff announcer later that year. Subsequent careers included working in public relations for Bell Canada and for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Her volunteer work included 25 years of reading for the CNIB in the Recording Library for the Blind, and writing letters for Amnesty International. Maggie was known as a good storyteller. She also loved to travel, including two solo around-the-world trips when she was in her 60s. Her travels took her to over 40 countries in all. A celebration of the life of Maggie Morris Smolensky will take place at the Dunfield Retirement Residence, 77 Dunfield Ave., Toronto, on Friday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. If desired, donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Amnesty International.

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