Richard King, Montreal author and broadcaster, has diedRichard King, Montreal author and broadcaster, has died
on Jan 05, 2022
Montreal novelist, entrepreneur and book reviewer Richard King died on Sunday. He was 76.
King brought his unbridled passion for books to CBC Montreal as a columnist for Homerun and then Let's Go on CBC Radio One up until the end of 2021. He also wrote book reviews and articles for CBC's website.
King wrote several fiction novels and biographical books, including Serving Life, which was set to be published April 1. According to his website, King worked in the book industry for more than 40 years.
King also helped co-found Paragraphe Bookstore and Café in Montreal, which opened in 1981.
He was a constant presence in the store for many years, his obituary says, as it was a store "he cared for so much. He retained a lifelong interest in the lives and well being of the Paragraphe staff, many of whom had become friends."
Anita Anand won the Quebec Writer's Federation's First Book Prize in 2015, but long before becoming a writer, she worked for King at Paragraphe.
"He was such a patient and generous boss," she said. "He gave me a Christmas bonus at the end of the year, just like all the other employees, even though I'd only worked there for a few months."
King had degrees in history from Concordia University and the University of Rochester in New York. As part of his graduate work in French history, he spent time researching in Paris.
He sold Paragraphe in the year 2000, but remained a champion for emerging literary voices in Quebec.
"There's always these behind the stage people who are working just tirelessly and continuously to make sure there is a scene and that it's supported and that new writers coming out immediately have a place they feel they can go and share their work. He was very important in that," said Montreal novelist Heather O'Neill.
Later in life, he combined his academic love of history with his passion for writing, his obituary says.
"He co-wrote, with two Holocaust survivors, the stories of their survival and success and also co-wrote two additional biographies," it says.
"He then turned to fiction, writing mystery novels which he chose to set in Montreal."
King had a keen intellect which he combined with an unparalleled sense of humour, the obituary says, and his "concern for those less fortunate was always at the forefront of his thinking and actions."
He worked as a volunteer in the Jewish General Hospital's emergency room for many years.
Margaret Quinsey, an ER nurse at the hospital, said "we'd have some laughs" and his presence made shifts easier to handle.
"He was so helpful," she said. "Every Thursday we had him with us and we knew we were in good hands."
Though it is not yet been made public how he died, his family is expressing gratitude to the Segal Cancer Center and Palliative Care Unit of the Jewish General Hospital "for their dedication to the wellbeing and comfort of Richard and all of their patients," the obituary says.
King's funeral was held Tuesday and was attended by a small number of family and close friends. His friend John Aylen said while there was sadness, there was also laughter and hope.
"It's funny, many people before die say they're going to see their mother or their father. And he apparently said the same thing that he was going to see his mother and be reunited, which is a lovely idea. I hope it's true," Aylen said.