Radio producer

Longtime CBC radio producer Patricia Pleszczynska fondly remembers bringing communities together

“She really believed that CBC and Radio-Canada existed to connect people. It was literally her life’s work.”

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Patricia Pleszczynska, longtime CBC radio producer who gave voice to Anglophones in small communities across Quebec and who then did the same for Francophones across Canada when she worked at Radio-Canada, died Thursday pancreatic cancer.

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Pleszczynska, 67, was both general manager of the CBC’s English language services in Quebec and later a senior executive at Radio-Canada. From 1984 until her retirement in 2017, she helped oversee regional news coverage as well as the 1995 sovereignty referendum, but her friends and colleagues will be remembered as a fervent listener of concerns. of each one.

“She was like everyone’s mother,” said CBC reporter David Gutnick, who worked with Pleszczynska at his Quebec City station in the 1980s.

Susan Campbell, also a CBC reporter, said Pleszczynska was the “biggest fan of public broadcasting” she had ever met.

“When you spoke to her, whether it was an employee like me or a member of the Gaspé community, she would focus directly on you,” said Campbell. “It was like everything else was gone and you would have the conversation with her and she would listen to you intently and she would ask you questions.”

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“She really believed that CBC and Radio-Canada were there to connect people,” added Campbell. “It was literally his life’s work.”

Pleszczynska, born in 1952, was the daughter of immigrant parents, a Polish father and an Italian mother. Her agronomist father took her to the farms in the Eastern Townships, where she played in the grass and mud while learning French and English.

She met her 46-year-old husband, retired CBC broadcaster Bernard St-Laurent, while studying drama at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville.

Pleszczynska was working in a pottery workshop in Quebec in 1984 while raising three children when she applied and got a contract job as a researcher for a Radio-Canada show in Gaspé.

“Thirty-three years later, she left as a great patron of Radio-Canada,” said Gutnick. “She was one of those people who had a rocket in her ass.”

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Pleszczynska has helped create popular shows like À Propos, hosted by singer Jim Corcoran, and C’est La Vie, hosted by St-Laurent. She also set up digital news in the province.

“Patricia was fully responsible for building what we call the Quebec community network,” added Gutnick.

In retirement, Pleszczynska sat on the board of directors of Bishop’s University and transformed a house she and her husband inherited in Compton, in the Eastern Townships, into a thriving artistic place. The House of Arts St-Laurent is renowned for its annual Christmas shows, attracting artists and farmers from all over the Eastern Townships.

“It was Patricia, still the producer,” Gutnick remarked.

Pleszczynska, who lived in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, is survived by two brothers and a sister, St-Laurent, their children Jasmine, Jacob and Marianne, as well as five grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will take place at a later date in Compton.

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