Editor of Montreal's only newspaper for Black community, Egbert Gaye, dies at 67
Community Contact newspaper managing editor Egbert Gaye, a well-known leader in Montreal's Black community, has died after suffering a massive heart attack over the weekend.
He was 67.
The editor of the newspaper he founded 31 years ago that serves Montreal's English-speaking Black and Caribbean populations was a hands-on newspaperman who delivered the twice-a-month paper along with his son.
He was an active promoter of community journalism and dedicated to those he served.
Just four months ago, he told CTV News in an interview that the newspaper was about giving his community a voice and it was a labour of love.
"It’s the people that we meet and the stories that we tell. That’s what keeps us excited, and that’s what keeps us doing this," Gaye said in February.
Josa Maule, who runs the Montreal School of Performing Arts, said he was always there to promote excellence in the community.
"He was our voice and putting it in black and white, so to speak, and representing us as a community. He would also uplift what we were doing, what was going on. He was always there," Maule said.
Friends say Gaye was always attending fundraisers and other functions, and making time for the people.
"He wanted to see the best, not the better; he wanted to see the best for the Black community in Montreal, and for him, putting out the newspaper was a way for him to communicate and get the word out as to what was going on," said Brian Smith.
Print was just one medium. Gaye was also a regular contributor to CJAD 800 Radio, where he would often spar with host Elias Makos, and before that Tommy Schnurmacher
"When you came in the first time, the chemistry was incredible. We disagreed on absolutely everything. We wouldn’t agree that today was Monday. We would disagree on absolutely everything, but there was just the warmth. The warmth was there, and that’s not easy to do," the former radio host said Monday.
"This guy was such a kind-hearted, sweet soul."
Those words are echoed by the many journalists Gaye mentored over the years,
including CTV News Montreal anchor Maya Johnson, who started her career writing for Community Contact when she was 18.
"Egbert was so encouraging. Such a source of constant encouragement. He believed in us," she said.
"I got a text from a friend this morning, and she described him as a community father figure, and I think that is exactly it."
When asked if there was anything she wanted to share about her husband, Gaye's wife said his community was his heart and his love, and he would have done anything for the people.
- Listen on CJAD 800: CTV News anchor Maya Johnson remembers CJAD 800 contributor Egbert Gaye