Home > Comings and goings > Nanaimo Daily News reporter Walter Cordery dies at age 54 [UPDATED]

Nanaimo Daily News reporter Walter Cordery dies at age 54 [UPDATED]

October 2, 2012

Nanaimo Daily News reporter Walter Cordery has died at the age of 54. Neither the news story or two columns in the paper about Cordery includes his cause of death, but while it was “unexpected,” Paul Walton wrote that the 23-year veteran of the paper had long battled health issues.

UPDATE: Walton wrote me over Thanksgiving weekend:

Thanks for your posting about Walter Cordery.

I just want to make sure the record is clear about his passing to remove any conjecture.

While his death was indeed unexpected and upsetting for all who knew him, information provided to me by the police and coroner indicate that Walter died of natural causes.

Beyond that, I can offer no further information.

Here’s the news story:

Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the unexpected death of longtime Daily News reporter and columnist Walter Cordery.

Cordery has been with the newspaper since he graduated from the journalism program at Vancouver’s Langara College in 1989. A back injury ended his previous career as a butcher.

He covered a wide range of issues in his 23 years with the paper, but his favourite topics revolved around politics and crime in Nanaimo. Cordery gave his own impressions of daily events in the city in his well-read column Wonderland.

Cordery’s ex-wife Heather, mother of his two daughters Elyse and Nadine, said his two passions in life were his children and journalism.

“Walter was a great dad who really loved his girls, and that was evident every time he was with them,” Heather said. “His other great love was journalism and he worked hard at his job.”

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Interim editor Philip Wolf’s column:

I knew he was as sharp as a tack the minute I met him.

I Back in 1991, a baby-faced young lad (that would be me) showed up for his first official shift at the (then) Nanaimo Daily Free Press, sporting a rather impressive black eye.

I mumbled something about a stray elbow in a weekend football game, which seemed to placate my new colleagues.

Not Walter Cordery.

After everyone dispersed, he sidled up to me quietly and said: “OK, so what really happened?”

You could never put anything past Walter.

Today, I look around the newsroom and it just doesn’t feel right.

Directly behind me is the spot where Michael Rhode is supposed to be.

He’s not there.

One quadrant over is where Walter is supposed to be.

He’s not there either.

Walter passed away over the weekend.

He was just 54 years old.

My sense of sadness today is overwhelming.

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And Paul Walton’s aforementioned column:

Nanaimo is for the worse today with the loss of our Daily News colleague Walter Cordery.

For some time Walter had been struggling with health issues that would test the bravest of us. And amidst the various tests, medications and consults, his commitment to the readers of this newspaper never wavered.

Walter was a newshound and a political junkie. He got into journalism in the 1980s after studying journalism at Langara College. We used to tease him that he started at the Daily Free Press when the earth was cooling and that he reported on the Crimean War for the Free Press.

Almost, but not quite. It was the depth of Walter’s knowledge that made him appear so long-lasting. If I had a question about provincial or municipal politics, Walter would usually know.

“Hey Walter,” was usually met with “Hey Paul.”

“When was the ALR created in B.C.?”

“Under the NDP and Dave Barrett in the early ’70s.”

“Who was mayor before Gary Korpan?”

“Joy Leach.”

“Before that?”

“Graeme Roberts.”

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