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Peter Calamai Bio, Wiki, Age, Family, Wife (Mary), Education, Journalist, Death and Cause

Peter Calamai, a longtime correspondent and science writer, dies aged 75

Peter Calamai Early Life and Education

Peter Calamai was born on June 23rd, 1943, in Pennsylvania and moved to Canada as a boy when the family settled in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He earned a bachelor of science degree in physics at McMaster University before going to work as a journalist, first at the Brantford Expositor, then with the Hamilton Spectator. He joined Southam News in Ottawa in the early 1970s.

Peter Calamai Career

Calamai worked as a journalist for the Ottawa Citizen, Southam News and, later, the Toronto Star.

In his career, he served as a foreign correspondent in London, Nairobi, and Washington for Southam News, and was later editorial page editor at the Ottawa Citizen. In 1996, when the conservative-minded Conrad Black bought the Southam chain, Calamai was suddenly out of a job, but soon found work at The Star as a science reporter.

Calamai worked in a golden era for foreign correspondents, when newspaper chains such as Southam, which owned the Citizen, had correspondents spread around the world who would cover international events with an eye to their domestic audience. He loved every minute of it, particularly his time in Nairobi, Kenya covering the entire African continent.

Peter Calamai Awards and Honours

In 1987, Calamai was honoured with a Michener Award for public interest journalism for his work overseeing a massive investigation of adult literacy in Canada. The 30,000-word project interviewed Canadians from coast to coast and included a national survey that showed nearly a quarter of Canadian adults were functionally illiterate. Calamai became a much sought-after expert as a result and a lifetime champion of literacy.

He also won three National Newspaper Awards and was invested in the Order of Canada in 2014.

When Calamai returned to Ottawa from overseas, he was picked to head the Citizen’s editorial pages.

Peter Calamai Hobbies and Philanthropy

Besides journalism, Calamai was an athlete who loved golf, tennis, and curling. As a heavyset man, what he lacked in agility he made up for with enthusiasm. Gordon used to play doubles tennis with him.

He was also a renowned expert on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. Calamai attended Sherlock Holmes conferences, and his Christmas letter was usually written in the form of a Holmesian mystery, with his beloved Mary as the star. When Greenaway confessed she’d never read any of the Baker Street sleuth’s stories, Calamai sent her a complete collection for Christmas.

He was also an adjunct research professor at the Carleton University School of Journalism, teaching as a sessional instructor and supervising numerous theses.

When his fellow foreign correspondent and close friend, Jim Travers, a former Ottawa Citizen editor in chief, died in 2011, Calamai spearheaded the creation of a foreign corresponding fellowship that sends Canadian journalists around the world.

Peter Calamai Death and Cause

Calamai died on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 at his home in Stratford, Ontario. He was 75 years old at the time of his death. No cause of death was revealed.

Peter Calamai Family, Wife

Calamai is survived by Mary, whom he married in 1969, two brothers and seven brothers- and sisters-in-law on Mary’s side, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Peter Calamai Tributes



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