Sudburians remember Alex Trebek as one who never forgot his roots

·3 min read
Sudburians remember Alex Trebek as one who never forgot his roots
Sudburians remember Alex Trebek as one who never forgot his roots

Flags have been lowered in Sudbury to mark the passing of Alex Trebek. The Jeopardy! game show host died yesterday, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Sudbury's Reem Fattouh was a contestant on the program in 2013. She says it was particularly special when he mentioned they share a Sudbury connection.

"It was so nice of him to mention that, and for him to have a bit of that hometown pride come through," Fattouh said.

"Finally, after 30-some odd years that somebody from Sudbury made it on to the show."

Fattouh says she believes Trebek will likely be remembered for fostering knowledge and learning.

The City of Greater Sudbury is setting up a virtual book of condolences that will be shared with the Trebek family.

Trebek hosted the American quiz show for more than 30 years, but the Canadian never forgot where he came from — his home town of Sudbury. He was born and spent his youth in Sudbury before moving to Ottawa to pursue post secondary education. Early on in his career Trebek worked for the CBC.

Not long after Trebek announced publicly that he was battling pancreatic cancer, Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre had a chance to present Trebek with a gift from Sudbury. Hundreds of residents had written well wishes on flags, and Lefebvre says Trebek was moved by the gesture.

"He was super-touched by all of the stories and the people just writing to him and recognizing what he had done for our city and our country," he said.

The head of the Sudbury culture and arts organization, We Live Up Here, says they used Trebek's likeness in several successful fundraisers because of his huge fan base.

"It's just this cool, calm sense of nerdiness, which I loved in Trebek. This inquisitive nature, and its the passion for discovery and curiosity and continuing to learn," Christian Pelletier said.

Trebek visited Sudbury publicly about five years ago, when he shot scenes for Amazing Race Canada. That was when Mayor Brian Bigger had a chance to meet him and show him a few of the changes in Trebek's former hometown.

Bigger says he was particularly interested in the Vale Living with Lakes Centre and the re-greening efforts that had taken place.

"He was completely blown away by the progress and the regreening and all the work that Sudbury had done, and [he was] so proud to be from Sudbury, where all of this work had been done," Bigger said.

"And so it fits really well with all of the things that he tried to do to improve the world."

Bigger noted that, through Jeopardy!, Trebek reached into the homes of about 25 million game show viewers each week.

"I cannot imagine anyone who's never seen Jeopardy, you know, and didn't know who Alex Trebek was. He represented Sudbury well ... and connected with his roots," Bigger said.

"I think Sudburians really appreciated that and also connected with him in a special way. And that's why he was loved and respected and why he will be missed so much. He had an amazing legacy. And really, people around the world perhaps heard about Sudbury because of Alex Trebek."