A dominant force in the newspaper and magazine publishing industry in Norfolk County during the heyday of tobacco has died.
Charles Edward “Ted” Crandon died Friday at the Delhi Long-Term Care Centre. He was 91.
Crandon moved to Delhi from Strathroy 70 years ago to get some reporting experience before angling for a job with the London Free Press. He signed on with publisher M.K. Glendinning and his Delhi News-Record, which was established in 1939.
It was a fateful move, for Crandon soon fell in love with Delhi and with a local girl named Gail Gardner. They became husband and wife, with Crandon eventually ending up as majority shareholder of Cash Crop Farming Publications and a stable of newspapers and magazines that included the News-Record, the Simcoe and Nanticoke Times, Canadian Tobacco Grower and Cash Crop Farming among other titles.
As head of Cash Crop Farming, Crandon partnered with M.K. Glendinning, print specialist Vance Glendinning, Ed DeSutter, and Don Glendinning, founder of the Waterford Times. The latter was later rebranded as The Nanticoke Times and then the Simcoe and Nanticoke Times.
Don Glendinning died in 2015. Son Scott Glendinning, an advertising representative with Postmedia, has good memories of his father’s partnership with Crandon.
“Dad had a really good relationship with him,” Glendinning said Monday. “They did a lot of things together. Ted was the guy in charge. Dad always spoke highly of him. Ted knew what he was doing. I have to look back and say he was a good man.”
Crandon had a front-row seat for the rise and fall of tobacco farming, chronicling the industry and its technological changes from the years of barn buying through to the gyrations of the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers Marketing Board.
Son Bart Crandon recalls the soft spot his father had for tobacco farming and the growers of the golden leaf. The industry, Crandon said, had his father’s undivided attention.
“His thinking on business in general was the importance of working hard,” Crandon said Monday. “He believed a man of average intelligence can get ahead if he works hard. It was a philosophy he lived by.”
Crandon added his father was not averse to wearing many hats. Through the lean times, he would write content for Canadian Tobacco Grower while selling advertising for it.
“He started in editorial, but he was also a salesman,” Crandon said. “We used to joke that he could sell refrigerators to the Eskimos. His babies were the News-Record and Tobacco Grower. He was hands-on with those publications.”
Crandon’s control of Cash Crop Farming Publications ended in 1988 when the company was sold to Newfoundland Capital Corporation, a publically-traded company led by east-coast entrepreneur Harry Steele.
“Ted was a big booster of the town of Delhi,” Crandon’s death notice says. “He was definitely the loudest guy in the arena when his sons or the local junior or intermediate hockey teams were playing.”
Crandon served as the fundraising chair for the new Delhi arena. He was a past president of the Delhi Optimist Club and secretary-treasurer of the Wills Motor Rocket 88s hockey club.
Crandon served on the board of directors of the Ontario Community Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspaper Association.
Crandon was predeceased by his wife Gail, who died in 2012, and is survived by sons Barton and Mark. Murphy Funeral Home in Delhi is handling arrangements. Visitation will occur Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A private family service will be said at the Delhi Cemetery.