The Carlington Summit

It is with sadness that the Carlington Summit learned of the passing of Stephen McLoughlin, 13 May, 2001. Mr. McLaughlin was editor of the Summit with wife Ingrid Berger for two and a half years, back in the mid/ nineties. The Summit extends it sympathies to the McLoughlin family.

The following note was written by Barry McLoughlin.

My kid brother Stephen McLoughlin, who died on Sunday May 13th of kidney cancer, packed a long lifetime of achievement into his 47 years on the earth. Born in Ireland, he moved to Canada with my sisters and me when he was three years of age. After living in Air Force bases across Canada, he settled in Ottawa in 1964 and was a graduate of Carleton University.

Stephen was most renowned for his writing and comedic skills. While still a student a Nepean High School, he became a successful network television comedy writer as a regular contributor to Global TV's “'s the News” (a forerunner of such news satire programs as This Hour Has Twenty Two Minutes.)

I remember in Grade 13, Stephen was asked to fill out a form in which students had to state how much part time work they were doing in addition to their home work. Many of his classmates wrote that they worked from 8 to 16 hours part time. On that series, the Executive Producer and star, Don Harron, would pay us $50 per minute for the amount of air-time a writer's script played on the air. Even though it took him quite a few hours to write his material, Stephen wrote down “5 minutes” and that his weekly earnings were $250. Stephen delighted in the teacher's reaction - who didn't think it was possible to earn that amount - legally!

I remember one of the scripts Stephen wrote that captured his outrageous sense of humour and pathos so well. It was a sketch written at the height of Richard Nixon's Watergate follies and it was called, “The President's Brain is Missing” - a take-off on the book “The President's Plane is Missing.” I remember the sequence supposedly on board Air Force One on the way home to San Clemente, when Nixon was asked by a journalist moments after giving up his Presidency, “what can you recall of your time in the White House?” He replied, “I was President for 6 years, 6 months, 11 hours and 45 minutes.” To which the journalist asked, “what happened to the days?” Nixon looked out the window, then looked back, shrugged and said, “They just flew by!” That was Stephen - even while poking fun at Nixon, he also tried to bring out his humanity. I remember that sketch well - because I played Nixon.

Stephen went on from there to write for such series as “You Can't Do That on Television” and “Teddy Ruxpin”. As the years went by he wrote many corporate videos and speeches for Cabinet Ministers at the federal and provincial levels. Even as his career moved into the high tech field he still kept his hand in by writing freelance comedy material and speeches. Most notably he wrote material for political leaders such as Ed Broadbent for the annual Press Gallery Dinner Speeches.

Stephen worked for some early start-up software companies such as Nabu and Officesmiths. After five years as a computer systems analyst for the Department of National Defence, Stephen joined Compuware Inc. to start up and run their Ottawa office. A few years ago he lived in Seattle for six months working on Compuware's biggest contract - with Boeing. During the mid- nineties Stephen edited the community newspaper, the Carlington Summit and was passionately involved in many neighbourhood issues.

Stephen's greatest battle was with kidney cancer, which was first diagnosed almost two years ago. He not only fought it aggressively and bravely, but he continued to work, and to share his joy for life with his wife Ingrid and his two daughters, Siobhan and Sinead.

What was amazing was his optimism combined with his realistic view of this condition - which was fuelled by his deeply felt Catholic faith. While wracked with cancer himself he led a fundraising drive at his parish, St. Elizabeth's Church for the children in an orphanage in India.

As we gathered around his hospital bed to say our good-byes, I know he heard all of our prayers, and the Irish songs, which he loved so much. All that was missing was his booming baritone and his wisecracks, as he would note how inevitably, the hymns would gradually turn into Irish drinking and rebel songs. He waited until almost all of us were there, before moving on to his next gig - after all he was a master of timing! Although he died too soon, he would be the first to say he was truly blessed.