Clark Todd: The Journalist who came to Newfoundland

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Clark Todd liked to tell stories according to his daughter Kim.

“He liked to make things simple and understanding,” she recalls.

After graduating from university, Todd, the New Brunswick native came to Newfoundland for a job at CJON.

CJON or Canada Joins on Newfoundland was Newfoundland’s first broadcasting station which began in 1955 with the support of Geoff Stirling and Don Jamieson.

Jim Furlong, a senior consultant with NTV, didn’t know Todd personally but he was aware of the position that he held with the broadcasting company.

“He was an announcer,” said Furlong. “He was never a part of the news side.”

While Todd was working away, he fell in love.

“He came here to work at CJON, which is where she worked, and they met, and they fell in love, and it was very fiery,” said Kim.

Kim remembers being young and her father wanted an adventure, but her mother wanted to stay in Newfoundland and they divorced when she was about five years old.

Todd traveled to Europe, gaining employment with CTV as a foreign correspondent. Todd settled down in the United Kingdom and married his second wife.

“My father married an English woman named Anne, my stepmother,” said Kim.” They had three children together.”

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Kim Todd, Photo taken by Amy Cleary

Even though Todd wasn’t in Newfoundland, Kim was aware of the adventures her father was on.

“He was detained in Poland,” she said. “He was shot in the leg in Belfast by an Irish Police officer.”

At one point, Todd was sent to Lebanon, specifically the Chouf mountain to cover the American-Syrian confrontation in 1983.

According Kim, her father would find any way to get where he needed to be, in whatever means he needed to because he loved adventure and telling stories.

“He traveled to Lebanon on a cargo plane, sitting on a bag of grain,” said Kim.

Todd’s travel took an unfortunate turn. He died on the Chouf mountain when Kim was only sixteen.  At the time, an unconventional long distance call didn’t tend to send any red flags to Todd’s young daughter.

“At first it wasn’t a big deal, we had spent the summer together in Saint John and I went back to school, I was in grade eleven, and we got the call from CTV,” said Kim. “Getting these calls wasn’t unusual, he was a foreign correspondent, and he was always into something.”

This phone call to the Todd family from CTV was different from the others.

“We don’t know what happened,” said Kim. “We believe that shrapnel hit him in the chest. He was brought to a farmhouse with a nurse, and they couldn’t get him out because it was a war zone.”

To this day, the family doesn’t know what happened to their father.

Before he died, Todd left a message on the pillow stating, “tell my family I love them” which they received  and eventually decided to donate it to the journalism museum in Washington.

“We flew to England, my uncle and my brother and the other Canadian members of my family for the funeral,” said Kim. “He was cremated and buried in the graveyard belonging to a one-hundred-year-old church.”

Todd’s children never forgot their father, especially his daughter Anna. In honour of her father, she created the blog, Okay to Cry.

“I am putting together a blog which gives other adults – either those bereaved as children or those supporting a grieving child – a chance to talk about their experiences,” said Anna on her blog. “I want to show how important it is that youngsters have access to the help they need, so they can go on to live normal and hopefully happy lives.”

Now thirty-eight years after her father’s death, Kim would like to pass on the message that he passed on to her.

“Travel,” said Kim. “Experience life.”

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