R.I.P. Paul Grescoe
September 14th, 2023
A newspaper and magazine writer before he began authoring books, Paul Grescoe of Bowen Island died after a stroke on March 12, 2023.
Born in Winnipeg on December 14, 1939 to immigrant parents from what is now Ukraine, Grescoe got his start as a news reporter while still in his teens. He worked for a variety of newspapers and magazines across Canada before settling in the Vancouver area in the 1970s where he co-founded Vancouver Magazine with Ron Stern.
Grescoe began his career as an author in 1985 with The Money Rustlers: Self-Made Millionaires of the New West (Viking), a study he wrote with David Cruise on the new breed of millionaires in Canada’s West. He also wrote biographies of business people including one about BC’s first billionaire, Jimmy Pattison, titled Jimmy: An Autobiography (Seal-Bantam, 1987). Pattison and Grescoe originally wanted their book to be called You Gotta Wanna, a characteristic Pattison expression, but their Toronto publisher vetoed the idea.
In the 1990s, Grescoe delved into fiction with two mysteries about a Ukrainian-Canadian detective who worked in the Vancouver area, named Dan Rudnicki, in Flesh Wound (D&M, 1991) followed by Blood Vessel (M&S, 1993).
With his wife Audrey Grescoe, Paul wrote three important collections of Canadian correspondence: The Book of Letters (MW&R, 2002); The Book of War Letters: 100 Years of Private Canadian Correspondence (M&S, 2004); and The Book of Love Letters: Canadian Kinship, Friendship and Romance (M&S, 2005).
His son Taras Grescoe also came to prominence as a non-fiction writer at the start of the new Millennium. In a celebration of his father’s life in the Globe and Mail, Taras Grescoe recounted his father’s last days: “On an unseasonable cold Saturday morning, Paul drove into Snug Harbour to pick up a newspaper. After trudging up his snow-covered driveway, paper in hand, he suffered a stroke, his third. After 15 days, during which friends and family came to his bedside, he slipped away. A newsman to the end, he was cremated with a copy of The Globe and Mail tucked under one arm.”