Obituary of Rosaleen Dickson (nee Leslie)
July 2, 1921 – January 23, 2018
Rosaleen Diana Dickson (nee Leslie) was the third of four children born to Beth Moir and Kenneth Leslie of Halifax.
She graduated from Guilford, a Quaker college in North Carolina, in 1941 with a Bachelor of Psychology, married David Dickson of Montreal in 1942 and raised a family of six.
In 1953, she and David purchased The Equity, the weekly community newspaper serving the Pontiac area of rural west-Quebec, and moved their family to Shawville. There they established Pontiac Printshop Ltd., a printing and publishing company, and Rosaleen served as the newspaper’s editor for more than 30 years.
Rosaleen and David brought The Equity to national attention when they published a ballot surveying readers on what they would want to do if Quebec decided to separate, which produced results overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the Pontiac within Canada.
Rosaleen’s engagement in community life reached well beyond the pages of the newspaper. She managed a local hockey team, started a Brownies pack and taught children how to square dance on horseback. As the first woman to sit on Shawville Council, she put her energies into such projects as revamping the town water system, the construction of seniors’ residences, and developing the Mill Dam Park.
As chair of the Hospital Committee of the Ottawa Citizens’ Committee on Children, she helped make a persuasive case for a children’s hospital, which led to the establishment of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
In the early 60’s, Rosaleen co-hosted Valley Weekly with Bill Luxton at CJOH-TV, in the early 70’s she presented Pontiac news on a French-language cooperative TV station she helped found in Hull, and in the early 80’s she co-founded and hosted programs on CHIP-FM, Pontiac’s community radio station.
After she and David passed the business on to their children, Rosaleen remained an active communicator, working with her son Ross in launching The Hill Times in Ottawa, volunteering at the National Press Club, teaching writing at Ryerson and earning her own Master’s Degree in Journalism at Carleton University in 2003.
After 96 years, Rosaleen’s vigorously-lived life came to a peaceful end on January 23rd at her home with her daughter Elizabeth in Ottawa.
Predeceased by infant son John Mason Dickson (1957) and her husband David Rutherford Dickson (1992), Rosaleen is survived by six children, Ross (Diana), Jennifer, Elizabeth, Marjorie (Peter), Charles (Erica) and Andrew (Karen), by grandchildren Christa, Matthew, Tamara, Elizabeth, David, Leslie, Kathryn, Michael, Daniel, Sarah, Kate, Emma, Sophie, Will, Alex, Thomas, Eric and Audrey, and 21 great-grandchildren.
Her ashes will be interred in the Dickson family plot in Shawville.
Anyone wishing to share recollections of Rosaleen or David, is invited to write them in a book of tributes that has been opened at THE EQUITY office in Shawville. You may also send them by mail to the Pontiac Printshop or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A Celebration of their lives will take place at Coronation Hall in Bristol on July 8 and everyone is welcome.