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'It's a great loss': Funeral held for Montreal journalist Egbert Gaye

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Hundreds of people paid tribute to Egbert Gaye, a well-known leader in Montreal's Black community, at a funeral service in Montreal on Thursday.

The founder and managing editor of Community Contact died earlier this month at the age of 67.

People who paid their respects at the Westmount Seventh-Day Adventist Church remembered Gaye as a pillar of the community and a man of many talents.

"…such a voice in our community. I don't know what we're going to do. I just hope the paper continues. We'll rally around the family, and it's a great loss," said Gemma Raeburn-Baynes, founder of Taste of the Caribbean.

Community Contact, which serves Montreal's English-speaking Black and Caribbean populations, is a newspaper that has allowed young talent to sharpen their skills, including CTV News Montreal anchor Maya Johnson, who was mentored by Gaye.

"While it is difficult to stand here as we all struggle to make sense of this sudden loss, it is truly my honour to help pay tribute to this remarkable man," said Johnson at the service.

The newspaper is expected to carry on. However, the Community Contact team said it needs time to recover from Gaye's death.

"I feel saddened, first of all, the shock. I'm still trying to get over it, but Egbert has been a wonderful, wonderful inspiration," said Kim Sherwood, director of the Men's Gospel Choir at the Union United Church.

Many at the service called Gaye an inspiration, including Christopher Skeete, the CAQ Minister responsible for the Fight against Racism, who announced a $5,000 grant to Montreal Community Contact to support Black businesses and to help them advertise in newspapers. The minister also posthumously awarded Gaye a Medal of Honour of the National Assembly.

"I'm here because of Egbert (...) and this community that trail-blazed this path for me. I'm a minister in the government of Quebec. Something a lot of us did not foresee, and I owe it to people like Egbert," he said.

Gaye's son Emar and daughter-in-law are grieving his death. They just welcomed a son, who they named Malachai Egbert, as a tribute.

With files from CTV's Keila DePape

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