Russell Vernon Peake
June 15, 1939 – April 27, 2020
So 'member all the good times, And know that where I'm at, The horses all are gentle, And the cattle always fat. - J.B. Allen
It is with immense sadness and a lifetime of memories that we share the news of Russ's passing on Monday, April 27, 2020 in Calgary, Alberta. As perfectly expressed by one of Russ's closest friends, "Humanity lost a hell of a guy today."
Born to Vern and Nona Peake in Marwayne, Alberta, Russ was raised on a farm in the surrounding area which was undoubtedly the source of his strong work ethic and ongoing pursuit of perfection. After attending grade school in Kitscoty, Alberta, Russ enjoyed a successful 48-year radio and television broadcasting career. From the mid-1960s until the early '70s, Russ was CHQR's sports director in Calgary, Alberta, and in 1971 Russ joined the sports department at CTV Calgary where he worked as a sports anchor/reporter for 35 years until his retirement.
Russ was also the PA announcer for both the WHA's Calgary Cowboys and the NHL's Calgary Flames at the Stampede Corral, and he continued as the arena voice of the Flames in the Saddledome until 1996. Although Russ loved all sports, he was especially passionate about rodeo and curling, with one of the major highlights of his career having been the PA announcer for curling at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Russ was inducted into both the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and the Southern Alberta Curling Association Hall of Fame.
An avid curler, Russ played the game from high school up until just a few months ago, and he was able to cross several international travel destinations off his bucket list in recent years. To say Russ was a devoted grandpa is an understatement; he was a regular and familiar presence at the hockey arena, baseball diamond, soccer pitch and basketball court, rarely missing an opportunity to watch his grandchildren.
Predeceased by his wife Helen and his sister Pat Berube, Russ will forever be remembered for his sharp wit and sense of humor by his many friends and colleagues, and deeply missed by his daughters Jodi (Darren Angerman) and Debbie (Todd Garman), grandchildren Ephrem, Madison and Carter of Calgary, nephew Daryl Berube (Pat Duncan), children Kirsten and Craig of Whitehorse, and nieces Kim Berube of Calgary and Lori Lohnes (John Lohnes) of Millarville.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre for their care and compassion.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, c/o Tom Baker Cancer Centre, 1331 - 29 Street N.W., Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N2.
"I only really like two kinds of music. Country . . . . . . . and Western." - Russ Peake
Russell Vernon Peake
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May 14, 2020
After we moved to Calgary from Saskatchewan in 1970, I enjoyed Russ Peake's sports commentary on CFCN, long before I met him or his family. He had that distinctive voice and was understated in his delivery rather than melodramatic, as some sports commentators can be.
Russ seemed unpretentious and clearly a great sense of humour, so I was not surprised to learn that he grew up in small town Western Canada, as my parents did. Please accept my condolences.
May 12, 2020
A talented broadcaster, a devoted family man and a truly gracious person I am proud to have had Russ as a role model and friend. I feel fortunate our life paths crossed - a very special person to many of us! I will cherish the memories.
May 9, 2020
Hi Jodi and Debbie,
We never really knew each other as adults, but I did have the opportunity to see your parents/dad on numerous occasions at my parents or different events over the years. My dad, Roy Anderson, was a first cousin to your dad. I have found memories of your dad, including the striking resemblance between him and my dad. Please accept our condolences for your loss .
May 6, 2020
Russ was certainly one of a kind, a true professional with a genuinely funny take on life, and a pleasure to work with. He was always put together, not an eyebrow hair out of place. Even when he came out and jogged a few laps for CFCN at the 24-Hour relay, Russ was calm, cool, and collected. When there was an issue at work, Peaker would slowly light an imaginary smoke using his pen, and come up with a fix. Best of all, he would pretend to deliver the perfect curling rock down the editing hallway, complete with commentary. With 'Poopsie' holding the broom in the house, and the girls on the front end, he'd draw to the button... every time.
Rest in Peace Russ.
May 5, 2020
A remarkable person, with talent to spare. Even among an A list of professionals Russ stood out, admired and maybe a little bit envied.
For his gifts, and his boundless humility.
Helen Beckie (Myer)
May 4, 2020
It wasn't mentioned in the obit, but I was wondering if he attended Theresetta Covent in Castor, Alberta when he was five or six years old. He was a very cute little kid and loved by all. I was a student there also. I just wanted you to know this. Please accept my sympathy in your loss.
Don & Isabel Neilson
May 4, 2020
Our memories of Russ go back to his single days in the 60’s when he was courting Helen. Over the years we enjoyed many social and family gatherings with the Peakes. Russ became a very well-known personality, yet he never developed an ego or changed in any way. Last summer we were fortunate to be able to help him celebrate his 80th birthday with his family and many friends. He was always a gentleman and truly a classy guy. We are so sad that he has passed away, will miss him a lot and remember him always. Our condolences to Jodi, Deb and their families.
May 3, 2020
Our deepest sympathies to Jodi and Debbie and their families on the loss of their Dad, Grandpa and a great person. We had the pleasure of meeting Russ a number of years ago and over the past couple of years, we enjoyed visiting with him as we watched our grandsons playing hockey and Little League baseball.
He was a favorite as a sports broadcaster and announcer.
If one wanted to define "Class Act", just type in Russ Peake.
Denis and Donna Fonteyne.
May 3, 2020
Jodi ,Debbie & Family
So sorry to hear about the passing of Russ.
Knowing Russ from the early days at QR and through out his career, he truly was a wonderful person to know, not only as a co-worker but a great friend over the years.
We feel your loss . He was a gem of a human being and will be missed by all that knew him. ( by the way Russ, I did enjoy country music)
Wilf & Sharel Sennett
May 3, 2020
To Russ's Family -
Please accept my sincere condolences. We have all lost a dear friend.
My first real interaction with Russ was when we served together on the SACA board of directors. What great curling (and other sports) stories we would reminisce over, and had so much fun doing so. Russ was inducted into the SACA Hall of Fame and in recent years he would join the HOF committee for the annual meetings and luncheons. He brought very valuable insight, many personal recollections and of course his humour to those gatherings. In addition to all of his volunteerism, his dedication to and support of the sport of curling was invaluable and appreciated by all who participated.
On a personal note, we attended a couple Okotoks Dawgs matinee games together. It was quite impressive and heart warming the way many people recognized and greeted Russ at those games - a nice reminder of the community's high regard of him! I really enjoyed those outings; the camaraderie and conversations with Russ were fantastic, and memorable. I will miss my friend.
Sincerely, Jim Dang
May 3, 2020
Hello to Russ's family,
My name is Joanne Baruta and I want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your father, father-in-law, grandfather and friend.
Your father and mother were friends of my parents. Your mother Helen and my father,Jules Baruta, grew up together in the Pass. I remember them coming over to my parents house when they were all planning the Crowsnest Pass reunion. They looked like they were having so much fun.
We lost our mom, Ida, 6 yrs ago and my father 2 years ago. Your father would walk up the alley in Kelvin Grove and would visit with my dad. He liked those spontaneous visits. I now live in my parents home and if you ever walk up the alley please stop in and introduce yourself.
Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss. May the loving memories of your father help you through this difficult time.
May 2, 2020
My deepest sympathy to Jodi, Deb and your families. So many memories of mic time with Russ, speaking engagements and air time. So many memories of sharing stories about our kids and later about our grandkids. So many times it felt grand to have just spent some time with both Russ and Helen, two of the nicest people ever. He taught me to appreciate baseball, not so much his curling passion perhaps but I never got him won over to fast cars, motorcycles and helicopters in return. A lot of folks have lost a great man from their lives now but Russ stories will go on for years at the CFCN lunches in tribute to our friend and coworker. One can only imagine the reunion that has occurred between Helen and Russ and his buddy Gord Kelly where ever they all might be . The good Lord must have needed a great sports reporter and chose the best. Thanks old friend for all the good times, Stateline included.
May 2, 2020
My condolences to Jodi & Debbie and your families. I had the good fortune of working with your Dad for about 5 years. He was a talented, kind-hearted and highly entertaining guy. At the same time, very down to earth. I'm sure you have tons of awesome memories that will help soothe the pain of his loss. The world is one person short of a great human being.
May 2, 2020
My condolences to the Jodi, Debbie, along with the Peake family for your loss. I've known Russ for 38 years, and it was a privilege to work with such a professional down to earth guy throughout my entire broadcasting career. One memory that I remember is that Russ had a nickname for most of his co-workers. Shinning, and cleaning his glasses several times before, during, and after his sportscast often made you wonder if there was going to be any lens left. Russ just laughed when we told him that. He had many stories, jokes, and one-liners which made him unique. Rest in peace my friend. You'll be greatly missed.
May 2, 2020
My heartfelt condolences to Jodi and Debbie and your families on the passing of your loving Dad and Grandfather. Russ and I had a lot in common having grown up in small towns in central Alberta and enjoying an immense love of sports including curling, baseball, hockey and chuck wagon racing. Our favorite pastime over a drink was reminiscing about past sporting events and the characters of the game. Our love of sports extended to our passion for collecting sports memorabilia and the stories associated with acquiring it. Russ, I will miss you dearly. Rest in peace my friend.
May 2, 2020
I had the great pleasure of knowing Russ for more than 30 years. The man was a gem...rare and precious.
I always thought of him as Calgary’s gentleman broadcaster...refined, polished and accomplished. Few in our media fraternity could say or claim as much and among us our respect for him was legion. Then there was his sense of loyalty...
It is said a great friend is hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. That’s Russ. Never forgotten.
Condolences to Debbie, Jodi and the Peake family.
Robert and Betty Scott
May 2, 2020
My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting and traveling with Russ on two trips, one to Europe and the other to Australia. You could always hear his distinct voice on the bus either talking or singing. After the trips, Russ and I would meet for coffee and talk about sports, sometimes for hours. We had learned that Russ's mother was my Aunt Verna's grade one teacher. I only wish our paths had crossed earlier in life. I will definitely miss his stories.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family at this very difficult time.
May 2, 2020
Debbie,Jodi & family. Please accept my condolences. Your father, was a breath of fresh air...always a 1 liner at the ready and never afraid to lend a hand. I had the privilege to travel with Russ to NFR ‘’89, ...I learned so much from him as a young editor....professional unbounded!!
He has had a PROFOUND effect on many people.
I’ve heard many stories and sayings this past week....most from CFCN days...yes Russ was damn good at his job....but to me he was a heartwarming outstanding human being....and I count myself blessed to have crossed his trail. Thinking of you this weekend...Hugging your hearts. ...Earle
Shelley Murray (Butler)
May 1, 2020
Dear Jodi and Family, Sorry to hear of the passing of your father, a Calgary icon if ever there was one. Only those born and raised here would understand the impact he had on Calgary and the sports scene throughout his years of being a broadcaster. Thinking of your family at this time , big hugs.