Carlton Munroe, the one-time radio broadcaster and musical director of the Riverfront Jubilee, died Wednesday after battling cancer for more than a year.
“We all knew what the reality was with Carlton’s diagnosis,” said Michelle Ferris, a close friend of Munroe and his wife Taryn.
“We knew what was coming, but it doesn’t, in any way, take away the shock.”
Munroe announced in the fall of 2016 that he was fighting glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that claimed the life of The Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie last month.
Downie was a huge musical hero of Munroe’s, who learned of his own diagnosis just weeks after Downie played his final concert with the Hip in the summer of 2016 (according to East Coast FM office manager Lynn MacDonald, when Munroe was a student at Dalhousie University, he worked at the campus radio station there and interviewed Downie early in the Hip’s career).
Pictou County folk musician Dave Gunning attended the old West Pictou High School, where Munroe was three years ahead of Gunning.
“We grew up on the same road, worked at the same farm,” said Gunning, who called Munroe’s death “a big loss” for the community.
“There’s going to be a lot of people pretty sad about losing him. A lot of people knew Carlton from when he worked at the radio station and being a real driver (in the music industry).”
MacDonald, who worked with Munroe for more than 15 years, said he embraced life and recalls how excited he when he travelled to see Woodstock ’94.
“He was such a good person to work with and made things so interesting. Our hearts go out to Taryn and the family.”
During a 12-hour fundraising event last January, more than $53,000 was raised for Munroe and his family.
Last summer, Munroe told The News that he didn’t know what to expect from the Big Bash for Carlton, but didn’t imagine it would reach the size and raise as much money as it did. He called it “pretty humbling and somewhat embarrassing.”
Munroe also left behind three children – Noah, Nate and Layla.
“We all hoped that we had a little more time, to try to make sure people got another chance to see him,” Ferris said, her voice at times breaking with grief.
“We just didn’t get that chance, but the love and support his family received is truly a testament to the man Carlton is, and the way he lived his life.”
Carlton Munroe in August, 2017: “When you get a little dose of some bad shit happening, you get pretty down. But the love and support I’m getting from everyone, family and everyone beyond family, that’s what pushing me through…. There’s all kinds of cases of people that you can see that are certainly going well beyond expectancy – and then some – and I’m going to be added to that list.”