One of British Columbia’s most cherished voices fell silent Monday, as beloved broadcaster Deb Hope lost her nearly decade-long battle with early onset Alzheimer’s.
Global BC shared the tragic update on Twitter, saying Hope’s passing had left those who worked with her “with very heavy hearts.”
“She was one of the most iconic faces in B.C. for decades and will be deeply missed. We are thinking of her family and loved ones. RIP Deb,” the station wrote.
Initially eyeing a law career, Hope found her true calling in journalism at the University of British Columbia. Her journey began at the Canadian Press in Ottawa, where she even caught Prince Charles’s attention during an assignment. Her royal encounters continued, dining twice with Queen Elizabeth and earning an award for her coverage.
Hope’s tenacity led her to BCTV, where she quickly established herself, conducting groundbreaking live reports and touring China’s Yangtze River Gorge post-revolution. She interviewed Wayne Gretzky, and shared an emotional moment with Canucks owner Emily Griffiths at the ’94 Stanley Cup Finals.
Her career in broadcasting spanned over two decades, during which she became a fixture in homes across the province.
Her warm demeanor and distinctive laughter were hallmarks of her broadcasts on BCTV, now Global, where she anchored the News Hour alongside Tony Parsons, a program also carried on CHEK TV for many years.
But Hope was much more than a news anchor. As Ian Haysom and Clive Jackson highlighted in a 2020 column for CHEK News she was known for being a meticulously diligent journalist who brought balance and compassion to the stories she told, as well as her unerring commitment to truth and fairness.
Hope retired in 2014 at the age of 59 due to her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Friends and colleagues had noticed subtle changes in her behaviour even before the diagnosis, hinting at the challenging journey to come. Despite that, Hope remained a beacon of strength and optimism, continuing to mentor young professionals in the industry.
Following her retirement, she gradually receded from the public eye due to her illness. She moved into a nursing home where, over time, the disease caused her to lose recognition of her closest family members. Her husband, Roger, and their daughters, Katherine and Roxanne, faced the difficult process with courage and grace, wrote Haysom and Jackson.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media from those who knew and worked with Hope, as well as the countless viewers who got to know her during her career.
I had the pleasure of working alongside Deb for three years as her producer. We had a tight crew and laughed non stop. Deb's laugh was the loudest. It was joyful. I am sad it has been silenced. #RIPDeb
— Rob Germain (@robgermain) May 15, 2023
Deb hope was one of the best, and a class act. She sat with me in the edit suite when I worked on my very first story. She was kind and patient and a fantastic journalist and mentor to many. A huge loss for our profession.
— Ethan Faber (@ctvethanfaber) May 15, 2023
I've heard so many great stories and tributes to Deb today…and it makes me think – did she know how loved she was? I hope she did. Take time today to tell someone what they mean to you. Do it now, before it's too late. #ripdeb
— Sophie "I used to have a check mark" Lui | 呂婉謀 (@sophielui) May 15, 2023