The Obit For Don Chevrier

Chevrier passes away

Globe and Mail

December 18, 2007 at 12:08 PM EST

Don Chevrier, the popular sports announcer best known as the first TV voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, has died suddenly.

Chevrier, who lived in Palm Harbour, Fla., near Tampa, suffered from a blood disorder caused by a low platelet count. Platelets are particles that help clot the blood. He did not consider the condition serious.

His body was found Monday in his home by his son in law.

Chevrier, 69, was in Toronto during Grey Cup week last month to attend a dinner celebrating the launch of the CBC Sports Hall of Fame and to be interviewed for a CBC feature on the network's long history with the CFL.

Don Chevrier, a friend and colleague of Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek, speaks at Cheek's memorial service on Oct. 14, 2005, in Clearwater, Fla. (Steve Nesius/AP)

After returning home to Florida, he was admitted to hospital suffering from the platelet disorder. He was treated and discharged a few days later. He said he was feeling fine.

Chevrier's death shocked friends and colleagues.

Retired sports TV producer Ralph Mellanby said Chevrier's versatility made him one of the top play callers in the business.

"He was one of the greatest broadcasters this country has ever produced, because he could do everything," said Mellanby, who produced the Jays telecasts when Chevrier was calling the games. "His record was unbelievable."

Chevrier most recently worked for NBC's Olympic coverage, specifically curling. With his former CBC partner, Don Duguid, Chevrier helped raise the profile of curling in the United States.

Duguid, who lives in Winnipeg, talked to Chevrier at least once a week.

"I knew he wasn't up to speed," Duguid said. "His platelets were down. It was something he was sick with on and off with for a year, but he seemed to fight it off and said he was fine. It was a real shock."

Duguid said one of Chevrier's strengths as a broadcaster was a strong voice.

"He had great pipes, that great, wonderful booming voice that you could hear no matter where. He never used a cue card, had photographic memory and was really sharp, an excellent broadcaster."

Chevrier, divorced, lived alone with his dog Barcley, but a daughter lived nearby.

"He was kind of set in his ways," Duguid said. "He had a small circle of friends, liked to go to Vegas and play the slot the machines. He loved his dog Barcley. He phoned me twice a week. He was just a great guy and he loved life."