Judd Brehaut: The Beginnings

Judd Warren Brehaut was born on Ash Wednesday, February 17,1915 in Quebec City to Ada Frances, nee Judd, and Maynard Elijah Brehaut.  Judd was the youngest of their four children. His elder brother, Benjamin, at that time was already fourteen years of age and their sister, Constance Ada, nine. A baby brother, baptized Edward, had died sometime before Constance was born.

In the summer of 1929, Judd had acquired a summer job in the Textile Mill at Montmorency Falls, a few miles outside of Quebec City.  In September, Judd started into Grade 8, but no sooner had the schools opened that fall than they were closed again due to an epidemic of polio. Judd was able at that time to get back his job at the mill, so that when eventually the schools did open, he decided not to go back.  In those days, school was not compulsory in the Province of Quebec.  The fall of 1929 was the beginning of the Great Depression that went on through most of the thirties.  Shortly after Christmas, Judd lost his job.  At that time he was living with his mother, his sister, his mother’s aunt Katherine and his Grandfather, Henry Benjamin Judd.

I believe that over the next two years Judd was employed for short periods. However, it was the spring of 1931 before he found the job that would lead to a career for the rest of his working life.  He was taken on by the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph as a copy boy.  Gradually he worked his way up, to reporter, then to the Telegraph Desk and in the fall of 1938 at the age of 23 years, he was appointed City Editor – the youngest in Canada at that time.

During the war years, he covered the Quebec Conferences in 1943 and 1944 when Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met to discuss strategy for the war and, hopefully, for the ensuing peace.

But Judd couldn’t standstill for long; by May of 1945 he was ready to move on.  An opening came up on the Night Telegraph Desk of the Montreal Star.  This time he had a wife and two small children (Heather and Reg) tagging along with him.  Judd worked nights on the Star for eight years. At different times he also had day jobs, for a while as a roving reporter for a weekly, later on, Saturday mornings at the Star.

Judd Brehaut at his desk, Calgary Herald

By 1953, Judd had two more children (Frank and John) and was tired of working nights but there didn’t seem to be any openings on the day side of the Star, so once again off across the country, this time to Calgary. He started at the Calgary Herald in March 1953 ‘on the Desk’, dealing with the Wire Copy.  In January 1955 he was promoted to writing editorials and a weekly column (One day we will share these). Sometimes subjects were hard to come by, so one week he wrote an amusing column about the different ways one could eat a Cinnamon Bun! At church that Sunday all the old ladies waylaid him to tell him how they ate a cinnamon bun!

A couple of years later, Judd was back in the News Room – his first love – promoted to News Editor – i.e in charge of the News Room.

(From Betty’s archives, originally written in 2009. With minor additions by Jon)

1 Comments

  1. I recall Dad telling me a story about his working in the mill. His job was to stand beside a conveyor moving wood chips or mulch to make sure that the material kept flowing. I presume he had the proper tools to do this but, he admits, at one point when things started to jam up he tried to smooth things out using his bare hand and ended up with it full of splinters. I no longer recall the details. but I think it was quite serious and he had to take some time away, perhaps even off the job, while his hand healed.

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