Don McGowan, a former weatherman, host and broadcaster at CFCF 12 -- now CTV Montreal -- has died at 85.

Born and raised in Montreal, McGowan was a central figure at the English-language station for over three decades.

Viewers knew and loved him as the 6 p.m. weatherman, anchor of the late-night Pulse newscast, and host of shows like McGowan's World and Travel, Travel.

According to his son, Don Jr., McGowan passed away peacefully just before midnight Monday.

"I learned at a young age to be able to separate what my dad did professionally from the person he was," he told CTV News on Tuesday morning. "And to be honest, that was quite easy because he's just a great guy."

McGowan, who worked at CFCF from 1962 until his retirement in 1998, is remembered as a fun-loving man who wouldn't hesitate to crack a joke or two on the air.

Don McGowan sits with Andrew Marquis and Ron Reusc

"He had an offbeat sense of humour that endeared him to all of his viewers on the many programs that he hosted over the many years," said CTV Montreal anchor Bill Haugland.

Haugland recalls how the studio crew would playfully throw snowballs at McGowan while he presented the weather.

"Don -- Montreal broadcasting icon, absolutely. But more importantly, Don McGowan was my friend."

According to Don Jr., McGowan made lasting friendships "everywhere he went," both in and outside of the station. He recalls how, even after McGowan retired and settled in Ontario, the crew of Travel, Travel would drive down to have lunch in the park.

On Travel, Travel, McGowan and other hosts like Suzanne Desautels and Leslie Roberts would journey to far corners of the world and share their experiences on the Montreal airwaves.

Don McGowan visits Vail, Colorado

"He made friends not because of some sort of cachet he may have had for what he did for a living, but just that he was a good guy, people like being around him," said Don Jr.

People like longtime sportscaster Ron Reusch. On TV, the CFCF alum served as a foil to McGowan, their playful ribbing often closing out the Pulse newscast.

"It was all in fun. And we got along very well, as you know, on the set and as co-workers," Reusch said.

"He was kind of my straight man. Like, he told me a line and then I'd react to it. And that's how that whole shtick kind of came on."

Don McGowan giving flowers to Mitsumi

Evidently, McGowan wasn't one to shy away from theatrics. In fact, according to his son, McGowan considered an acting career before embarking on the news world.

McGowan eventually made his way back to the theatre scene in his retirement, devoting himself to the Brockville Arts Centre in Ontario.

"He kind of joined forces with the manager of the arts centre, Peter Dunn, and a number of other volunteers in the community," recounts Don Jr. "And over a two-year period, they raised, through government grants and corporate donations, private donations, over $1.5 million. And they really brought the place back into splendor."

"He's always had a love of the arts."

Don McGowan -- the thespian, the weatherman, the broadcaster, the friend, and the father -- is survived by his wife of 61 years, Rosemary, and his two children, Don Jr. and Andrea. 

With files from CTV News Montreal's Caroline Van Vlaardingen.