Charles “Charlie” Whipp of Pender Island, British Columbia, formerly of Kincardine, died Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Saanich Peninsula Hospital in Sidney, British Columbia. He was 92. A long-time newspaper man, Charlie was known for his in-depth reporting and well-researched and well-written editorials. He worked for the London Free Press and the Windsor Star, serving in The Star's Sarnia bureau for several years in the early 1950s. He was editor and publisher of The Advertiser-Topic in Petrolia, and owned the community newspaper from 1962 until 1979. His son, Ted, said his father made the Petrolia newspaper a landmark. “He had become an icon in the business, owning one of the few community papers with its own press. His editorials provided a voice widely-heard and widely-respected by readers, community leaders and local, federal and provincial politicians, alike.” Born in 1925 in the Maritimes, Charlie spent his childhood in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He served in the Canadian Armed Forces during the final years of the Second World War, flying reconnaissance missions along the West Coast. He reported for a variety of newspapers across western and eastern Canada, and in June, 1962, he joined two other men in purchasing The Advertiser-Topic, eventually owning the entire enterprise. His influence on the newspaper’s pages was immediate; the reporting included investigative pieces and feature stories, presented in a fresh and appealing new design. The Petrolia paper was not only one of the few community newspapers with its own press, but was the first weekly to move from hot type into the new field of cold typesetting, a precursor to computerized newspapering.
Charlie had a keen interest in local history and that was expressed in two histories he wrote about Petrolia, the first of which was published in 1966. But it was his weekly editorials that earned him a following. He usually wrote three every issue. They explored everything from municipal politics to medieval engineering. Charlie sold The Advertiser-Topic in February, 1979, and for a few years in the early 1980s, he operated Lambton Editorial Services from Petrolia, a freelance venture in which he continued to report and write stories for newspapers such as The Observer and the London Free Press. He later moved to Kincardine where he wrote for the Marketplace Magazine, published by his friend, Jim Pannell. He also wrote copy for special sections of the Kincardine Independent newspaper, published by his friend, Eric Howald. Charlie was always interested in new ideas and enjoyed pursuing innovation and improvements in the newspaper industry. He was not only enthusiastic about the reporting and writing side, he had a keen mind for the technical side as well. He and his first wife, the former Mary Mabel Bagshaw, had one daughter and three sons. Charlie is survived by his wife, Michele Whipp of Pender Island, B.C.; brother, Robert Whipp of Hamilton; sister, Louise Elizabeth McGarry of Ajax; daughter, Diane (Don Stinson) of Camlachie; son Charles Edward (Ted) Whipp (Karen Monck) of London; son, William (Billy) Fred Whipp of Vancouver; step-daughter, Marg (John Thomson) of Petrolia; and daughter-in-law, Kim Bullock Whipp of Calgary; as well as four grandchildren, two-great-grandsons, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased in 1988 by his first wife, Mary; in 1995 by his second wife, Alma Holmes; in 2013 by his sister, Dorothy Mary Graham of Niagara Falls; and in 2011 by his son, Brian John Whipp of Calgary. No funeral or memorial is planned at this time. Donations would be accepted to the health care agency of the donor’s choice, including diabetes and heart research.