Former Times Colonist columnist Jim Hume dies at 98

Hume was awarded the Bruce Hutchison achievement lifetime award by the Jack Webster Foundation in 1994 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2002 for contributions to public life.

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Jim Hume, who covered politics for the Times Colonist and its two predecessor newspapers for decades, died Wednesday morning in hospital aged 98.

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He lived independently up until three days ago, when he became ill.

Hume arrived in BC from England after the Second World War, and got his first full-time reporting job at the Nanaimo Daily Free Press. He moved to that paper’s Port Alberni bureau for a time, then moved to become editor of the Penticton Herald.

He moved on to the Edmonton Journal as an editor and later a Legislature reporter/columnist. In 1965, he returned to Vancouver Island and became the Legislature reporter for the Victoria Daily Times.

Hume did brief stints with the Capital Regional District as an information officer and with CFAX Radio, then returned to the newspaper world at the Daily Colonist in the early 1970s, while raising six sons.

His writing appeared in this newspaper for more than 60 years, up until 2014. He later started posting essays and columns on his website (jimhume.ca) as The Old Islander.

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He continued his witty and historically grounded observations on the passing scene until April 1. His last column was a sober warning about the potential after-effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He expressed determination to better Bruce Hutchison’s iron-man record of writing until age 91 and beat that acknowledged master by several years.

He was awarded the Bruce Hutchison achievement lifetime award by the Jack Webster Foundation in 1994 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2002 for contributions to public life.

Hume sipped cocktails and chatted with the Queen on board the royal yacht Britannia, talked to British prime minister Jimmy Callaghan at Number 10 Downing Street, was a guest of the French Foreign Office at the Quai d’Orsay and lunched with lords and cabinet ministers at Westminster.

He won two Gray Cup bets with Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and was on a first-name basis with BC premiers going back to Byron Ingemar Johnson (1947-1952).

Hume joked that former Premier Bill Bennett uttered the worst thing that any premier ever said to him: “Hi Jim. Are you still writing for the newspaper?”

A service is to be arranged later.


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