Cory O’Kelly: Just a Great Guy

I am so very sad.

One of the nicest guys in Ottawa – and one of the best city hall reporters this city has ever had – has left us.

Cory O’Kelly, 73,  passed away Wednesday after a battle  with cancer.

O’Kelly and I covered city hall together for years. And the stories that are being told about him today are so true. He was incredibly nice, amazingly funny and a great reporter.

All accurate.

But he was also very humble.

For me, as a very competitive reporter, Cory wasn’t just a great reporter. He could spend the day at city hall and fly under the radar. You could talk with him many times throughout the day and never know he was sitting on a hot, exclusive city hall story. And he did that often. And I still liked him like crazy!

When CBC news anchor Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld spoke on CBC earlier this evening, she couldn’t hold back her tears. I was crying with her.

Susan Jones, a former Ottawa City Hall staffer first got to know O’Kelly as a neighbour and close friend, and knew both sides of him.

“He was a great reporter, and he had so much integrity, He always wanted to get the story right. And he had an uncanny ability to get to the heart of the story, and he was just so trustworthy,” Jones said.

While he was a great reporter, a storyteller and a lover of all things Irish, his real passion was his family.

“That’s the way he was. He and my dad had a love for baseball. They would talk all the time. He was just very kind. He respected the work. 

“I’m totally going to miss him,” Jones said. “We always spent New Year’s Eve together. He loved our neighbours, he loved his wife, he was just a very kind person.”

Also missing him are his wife Andrea and his three kids, Kristen, Kelsey and Kieran.

“There just wasn’t a hint of arrogance about him. He loved his job and even after he retired, we loved to talk shop. He just loved to tell a good story.”

He is going to be so missed. Miss him already.