Obituary Ken Grant, was an Ottawa radio institution – cause of death

Ken “The General” Grant, the radio host who dismissed generations of Ottawa residents each weekday morning with a brisk “Go, ho!” and a round of martial songs, has passed away.

Grant died in an Ottawa hospital on Wednesday, surrounded by close friends. He was 88 years old.

Born Kenneth Fredrick Ivan Grattan in Montreal, Grant became an unforgettable figure in the Ottawa area, fondly remembered for his morning show on CFRA and for his tireless fundraising work for charities. He participated in up to 300 fundraisers a year, despite having to get up before dawn for his 6 to 9 a.m. shift.

In an obituary written by himself with the help of his good friend Judith Yaworsky, Grant wrote that his life changed “profoundly” the first time he hosted the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon for muscular dystrophy. He helped Ottawa become the first Canadian community to reach $1 million in donations during the annual fundraiser.

“I was so moved by the courage of those suffering from this disease and their families that I vowed to use my voice as a morning radio host to help them and others in need,” he wrote. “From that day forward, I asked God every day to show me what I could do to help.”

Grant came to the nation’s capital after being hired by CFRA in 1961. It was the station’s general manager, Terry Kielty, who suggested the name change from Grattan to Grant. The nickname The General arose a few weeks later, after the broadcast of a news story about Ulysses S. Grant, the American Civil War general. The announcer then turned to Ken and said, “And, now, here is our own General Grant.”

The nickname stuck and the station took advantage of it. Kielty commissioned a tailor to make a custom general’s uniform for Grant, which he wore in thousands of personal appearances. He would play marching band music on his morning show and sign off with a cheerful “Go, ho!”

Scroll to Top