William Harris Sullivan
William "Harris" Sullivan 80, of Moncton passed away peacefully at the Moncton Hospital on Thursday, February 7, 2019. Born in Richibucto, he was the son of the late William Sullivan and late Mary (LeGoff) Sullivan.
Harris had a distinguished career as a journalist, and in his retirement years, established a reputation as an entertaining spoken-word poet. He published three books of poems –Taking Notes, Voices and Good Intentions. Known as the Bongo Poet, he used bongo drums and songs in his live readings. He also released a CD, a sparkling recording of his live poetry.
But journalism dominated his interesting life. After spending summer months in the Times and Transcript newsroom through his high school years, Harris began his full-time career in 1956 as an editor, reporter and columnist with the paper. At the age of 19 he was named News Editor of the Times, noted as probably the youngest to hold such a position on a daily newspaper in Canada at that time. In 1961, he took on broadcasting, moving to Halifax where he joined CJCH Television and Radio. It was there he carved out an eclectic career in both radio and television as an interviewer, reporter, sportscaster and producer, accepting two national awards in 1970 as performer and executive producer with a daily supper time TV news program called ID. In his CJCH days, he was probably best known in Nova Scotia as an outspoken and colorful sportscaster. Harris also worked briefly with CFCF TV in Montreal in the 60’s. In 1974, he moved to CBC Television where he spent eight years as reporter, host and field producer in Halifax and Toronto. Management beckoned in 1982 when he joined ATV (now CTV) in Halifax as Executive Producer, and was eventually named Director of News and Public Affairs. He retired in 1992. With his wife Louise, he moved in 2003 from Halifax to Moncton, one hour from their second home—their delightful cottage on the beautiful Richibucto River, a stone throw from his hometown.
A three-sport athlete in high school and junior ranks, he never lost his enthusiasm for sports. (He was placed on Milwaukee Braves’ future consideration list when he was 16.) And music was in his blood-- a smooth singer with admiration for all sources of music, from Sinatra to Bennett, to Hank Williams, to Aretha, to Pavarotti, to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and, of course, the Beatles. He grew up with music, his mother filling their home with her beautiful voice, and teaching her children the wonder of great songs from her era. Books dominated his leisure time, for he was an avid reader. Harris was a devout Roman Catholic. He has many friends.
He is survived by his wife Louise Ongo, the centrepiece of several of his poems, showering her with words of love; his daughter Tracey, granddaughters Andrea (Jon Yacoub) and Tara and great grandchildren Sylas, Madison, Nico and Jada all of Vancouver.
Harris will be sadly missed by his sister Joan Robichaud (Laurie) of Rexton; brothers Owen (Margie) of Rexton and Sean (Mary) of Richibucto and nieces and nephews Rick, Dana, Amanda, Colleen and Carrie, and several great nieces and nephews. Harris was predeceased by his brother Wallace in 2017.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Bernard’s Church 43 Botsford Street in Moncton on Friday, February 15 at 11:00 A.M. Reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in Harris’ memory may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Oncology unit of the Moncton Hospital.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Tuttle Brothers & Riverview Funeral Home 214 Pine Glen Rd. Riverview, NB (506) 857-9544
Online condolences may be made at www.tuttlefuneralhome.ca