Former CTV anchor Leigh Chapple passes away at age 58
Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013 1:11PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 10, 2013 5:29PM EST
Former CTV Ottawa news anchor Leigh Chapple passed away at home this morning at the age of 58.
Leigh’s brother-in-law said that she died peacefully. The cause of her death is not yet known.
Chapple retired from CTV News in May of 2012 after connecting with viewers for more than three decades. Her 36-year career in broadcast brought a familiarity to the homes of thousands in Eastern Ontario and West Quebec.
Chapple was also a long time instructor at Algonquin College.
May 4 of 2012 marked Leigh Chapple's last time on-air. After 36 years in the news business, she was signing off as Ottawa's longest late night anchor and signing on to a new life in retirement with her longtime love, former CTV editor Dean Holmes. It was Dean who found her this morning, according to Leigh’s brother-in-law Barry Blake.
“They got up as they do in the morning,” says Blake, “he went in to see how she was and she wasn't breathing so he called 911 and the paramedics came but she was gone.”
Leigh got her start in news in Pembroke but her big break came from former CTV Ottawa News anchor and VP of News, Max Keeping who hired her on as his secretary in order to get her into the newsroom.
“I promised her if you come in as my assistant, you're in the newsroom. Then whatever comes open you can grab,” recalls Keeping. Leigh Chapple went on to report, to host Regional Contact, then the late night news for nearly 30 years.
Her colleagues here at CTV are reeling from the news of her death.
"I was thinking of Leigh and Dean,” says CTV Ottawa news anchor Carol Anne Meehan, “thinking how lucky they are to have each other, after all those years of working the night shift. Enjoying their retirement. I'm so sad because she's too young to go.”
CTV Ottawa weather anchor J.J. Clarke adds, "She was a good person and I will always remember Leigh for her smile and her compassion and her passion for her job.”
"People of the Ottawa region truly care. It's why I love this city,” said Leigh in her final broadcast last May.
And this city loved her. There is an outpouring of emails and tweets about her passing.
“Her legacy over 36 years is that of an incredible connection,” says CTV’s Regional Vice-President Richard Gray, “It's an unparalleled career she had.”
A wonderful journalist, a mentor to many, and a much loved friend. Funeral arrangements have not yet been arranged.
Very sad news on the passing of Leigh Chapple. She was such a familiar & reassuring presence on @ctvottawa for decades. My sympathies— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) December 10, 2013
Our thoughts and prayers are with @ctvottawa, family and friends of Leigh Chapple. A great woman to work with.— Marc Messier (@OttawaFirePIO) December 10, 2013
Ottawa broadcaster Leigh Chapple has passed away. She was one of my broadcasting teachers and was always encouraging. Rest in Peace.— Tom Green (@tomgreenlive) December 10, 2013