Mark Blanchard

Obituary of Mark Jolyon Blanchard

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MARK JOLYON BLANCHARD
November 30, 1968 - June 19, 2024

 

Husband of Carrie Forrester and dad to Alex and Emma, Wolfville; son of Naomi Blanchard,  Granville Ferry/Grand Pre; brother to Fleur Blanchard (Dean Tsaltas), Halifax; stepbrother to Eric Newbould (Angele LeLievre) and Andrew Newbould (Carrie Hildebrand), Halifax/Dartmouth; son-in-law to Jim Forrester (Janet Hood), Toronto; brother-in-law to Robert Bristol, Georgetown ON; and uncle to Forrester Bristol, Sophie and Lia Tsaltas, Luke and Liam Fisher, and Cooper Newbould; and nephew to Chris Weedon, UK. Mark was predeceased by step-father Peter Newbould, aunt Rosie (Ken Lefebvre), sister-in-law Suzanne Bristol, and mother-in-law Lynda Forrester.

 

Mark died suddenly of a heart attack in his sleep at home in Wolfville, NS. 

 

Born in Cambridge, UK, Mark (or Jol, as he was known as a child) immigrated to Sept Iles, QC at four months of age. Naomi, Mark and Fleur lived in Montreal, St. John’s, Ottawa, and Halifax, before finally settling down in Windsor, NS. Mark attended King’s-Edgehill School, participating in youth parliament. He studied political science at Acadia University where he loved to debate and write for The Athenaeum. His inherent curiosity, ingenuity, drive and sense of adventure coupled with a knack for storytelling and desire for truth led him to a varied, successful, and award-winning career in print and broadcast news.

 

His first writing job was for The Chronicle Herald, followed by the Halifax Daily News. His first foray into broadcast news was in radio, writing for CBC Radio NS and Standard Broadcast News in Toronto. TV came next, writing for Canada AM in Toronto, CTV news in Halifax, and CNN in Atlanta. He then tried PR before quickly returning to news as a freelance writer for The Washington Post and health industry publications. He worked at Global News for over two decades as a writer, producer, technical producer, and manager of network resources, involved in every major news event in Canada and around the world.

 

Mark is remembered for his brilliant editorial mind. He was a unique technical and logistical wizard who solved problems and made things happen. He operated quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively from behind the scenes in an industry full of tumult and disruption. Resourceful, creative, tenacious, thorough and always prepared, he had a thirst for innovation and embraced new technologies, changing the way network news gathered video. A trailblazer and consummate professional, he got crews into the field faster than anyone and found ingenious ways to file stories from remote locations worldwide. He was a trusted colleague and mentor, a great rival, and a gracious friend to competitors. The definition of loyalty, Mark was always positive, dependable and helpful, never failing to answer calls. “Blanchie” took care of everything and everyone, using his expertise and experience to make others succeed. Learning that he was held in high esteem and beloved by so many in the industry has provided his family with much solace.

 

Always entrepreneurial, Mark excelled at finding the opportunities in challenging situations and instinctively pivoted to plan ahead. Mark’s manner was often direct, blending determination, diplomacy, charm and humour. He had integrity, rubbing the right people the right way, and the wrong people the wrong way. He was humble, quirky, and private, yet generous, kind, adventurous and fun. Hilarious with a quick wit, Mark was an expert in high level sarcasm. He had a great, disarming laugh that somehow both honked and roared. A type 1 diabetic, he was addicted to news and insulin. His favourite meals involved steak, Pilsner, broccoli, and Emma’s chocolate brownies. He found joy in ice cream, sunny weather, warm beaches, deals, hotel and airline upgrades, interesting conversations, and travelling with his wife and kids. He would relax with a mystery novel, spy movie, or U2 album.

 

Most of all he was a loving, caring, engaging, and supportive friend, son, brother, husband and father. Mark had high standards and expectations and was immensely proud of Alex and Emma and delighted in their achievements. He supported their passions and prioritized their happiness. He loved his family fiercely and unconditionally. We will tell stories about Mark until our last days, cherishing the memories, and we will laugh. Gone much too soon, Mark is missed enormously.

 

Cremation has taken place. Online condolences may be posted at www.serenityfuneralhome.ca. A Celebration of Life will be held in Wolfville on Saturday, September 28. Please email celebratingmarkblanchard@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP. 

 

The Mark Blanchard Memorial Fund has been set up to assist Alex and Emma with their post-secondary education. For details on how to donate to the fund at BMO please email markblanchardmemorialfund@gmail.com. The family also welcomes donations in Mark’s memory to the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation at www.vrhfoundation.ca or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada at www.jdrf.ca.

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