I guess I knew it was coming some day soon, but when Barry Wilson handed me a letter an-nouncing his retirement, I still went into shock.
Barry has been writing for The Western Producer for 35 years. I don’t remember a time when Barry wasn’t part of the weekly mix of stories, columns, and more recently, blogs.
Around here, Barry is not just a consummate journalist. He is an institution.
Barry has made it into the news himself recently. Last year, he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame, only the second journalist ever to be so honoured.
More recently, publisher Shaun Jessome handed Barry a plaque celebrating his 35 years with the WP at a staff and special guest barbecue.
The barbecue, in turn, was held in celebration of our 90th anniversary. That means Barry has been working for the WP for more than a third of its existence. That’s amazing.
From a getting out the paper standpoint, we are really going to miss Barry’s work. He is among the most prolific journalists ever to grace the pages of the WP, or any other newspaper.
He has filled perhaps tens of thousands of news holes.
We are going to miss his insights into ag policy and ag politics. Barry has long been the only dedicated full-time agricultural reporter on Parliament Hill.
From a human standpoint, we will miss Barry’s stories. He has a memory like a steel trap and remembers many incredible moments in political history. Indeed, he has authored several books on the subject.
We will miss his humour. I will miss his sage advice.
We will miss him.
That being said, I do offer a bright side. While Barry will retire Jan. 31, he will not leave us altogether. Barry has promised to write a “fortnightly” column (who else would use that elegant word?), at least for a while. His presence and his knowledge will still be found on page 10, and we are grateful that he has agreed to continue filing to the WP.
Barry is going out on top, a journalist decorated for his work even though he eschewed entering competitions. He wasn’t in it for the recognition. He was in it to serve democracy, and you, our readers.
All the best in retirement, dear friend.