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Legendary columnist dies

One of the toughest, most outspoken journalists this city has ever known has died at the age of 85. Meakes Meakes, the widow of legendary Sudbury Star publisher J.R. (Jim) Meakes, died Thursday at Sudbury Regional Hospital.
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One of the toughest, most outspoken journalists this city has ever known has died at the age of 85.

Meakes
Meakes, the widow of legendary Sudbury Star publisher J.R. (Jim) Meakes, died Thursday at Sudbury Regional Hospital.

During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Meakes wrote the popular Pot-Pourri and Pi column for the Star.

Buffered by a sizeable fortune and powerful and influential friends, Meakes, so the story goes, pretty much had carte blanche in writing her columns - and she wasn?t afraid to use it.

According to a lifelong friend, Meakes? tongue was as caustic as her pen. When she wrote or talked, people took heed.

She was also known to have talked a blue streak - the same lifelong friend said she talked like a lumberjack and wrote what was on her mind.

Fifty years ago, it?s said, Meakes appealed to her readers to dust off their copies of Dickens? A Christmas Carol and engage in a little soul searching. She suggested, in no uncertain terms, they give some thought to Sudbury?s poor and downtrodden during the Christmas season.

When city workers were slow to erect a Christmas tree near the old post office one year, Meakes reportedly took the city to task, issuing a scathing indictment of the then city council and hydro commission. By week?s end, the city responded, putting up one of the largest, most elaborately decorated Christmas trees the city had ever seen.

Meakes also inspired a grudging respect from well-known, long-serving NDP MPP Elie Martel, even though her conservative political views were diametrically opposite to his.

Trade unionists were no friends of the Meakes family either. During a particularly bitter strike at the Sudbury Star in the 1970s, the union apparently hung a large banner on the front of the building with the words, The Meakes Shall Inherit the Earth, emblazoned on it.

Meakes lived out her final years alone in her beautiful home on Ramsey Lake Road.

A funeral mass was held Monday at Christ the King Church.




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