The usual cast and crew of CTV Ottawa carried on the tributes to Max Keeping at a party Friday night just hours after the longtime anchor of CTV News at 6 retired from his chair to focus on community service.

"Max appreciates everyone in the news team," said camera operator Dan Waters. "You are part of his family."

Long into the night, Max's workplace friends celebrated at the Foundation Restaurant in the ByWard Market while a few stayed behind to carry on the job for the 11 p.m. broadcast.

Newscast director Brenda Mason was one of those.

"I came here when I was 22 years old in 1977, and I've been here for 33 years," she said.

"It's been a privilege to work with a legend like that. It hasn't always been easy. He expected excellence from everyone around him.

"He held himself to that standard, too," she continued. "We had to do a good job, or we heard about it, but at the same time he was the most loving boss you could ever have."

A father in spirit to his co-workers

Max was a boss the newsroom called "Dad."

"I think we're all in a better position having learned from that man," said reporter Jonathan Rotondo. "(We) worked alongside him telling community stories with his unique viewpoint, passion, love, energy and dedication."

Added reporter Catherine Lathem, "He's been a teacher to us, and a mentor. But he's been someone you could go to with personal stuff in your life. It's been more than work."

For Carol Anne Meehan, Max's coanchor of two decades, the last newscast was a visibly emotional time for her. Although she welcomes the arrival of new co-anchor Graham Richardson, there will be certain things about Max that can't be replaced.

"It was always my dream to work with (Max)," she said. "And it's over."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Kristy Kirkup