A Superior brand of sunshine

March 2021

The regional airwaves just won’t be the same without the musical modulation and lyrical laughter of Lisa Laco. The host of CBC Radio’s Superior Morning is stepping down after twenty-three years of early morning interviews. I caught up with this avid reader, dedicated knitter and genuine people-person to see how she is handling retirement.

“I spent 23 years cursing the alarm at 3:45 am,” says Laco. “So, I assumed with no alarm, I would be sleeping in like a “real person’ Not a chance. I’m usually up by 5am. I stay in my PJs though, listen to the show and drink tea. Such a rebel!”

Lisa moved to Thunder Bay in 1992, firmly convinced that her stay would be a two-year stepping-stone to bigger things elsewhere. But the people she met in this small, quirky city enticed her to stay.

“I fell in love, plain and simple,” she says with a grin. “But not just with Brad; I fell in love with Thunder Bay. This city has an unending capacity for generosity. From my first days here, I learned about Thunder Bay’s willingness to put money and energy together for a never-ending list of good causes. And by paying attention to this, I learned about an incredible number of wonderful people and organizations.”

“I think Lisa became synonymous with Thunder Bay,” says Mayor Bill Mauro. “With her charm, candor and warm, genuine personality, it was clear she took joy in her work. What a great way to wake up in the morning.”

“Lisa made a point of supporting local writers and artists,” says author Jean E. Pendziwol. “I’ve always been grateful for her support. She helped me feel comfortable and confident whenever I was in the interview chair.”

But sunshine is always followed by darkness, and this December, Lisa received a diagnosis of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This cemented the decision to retire, and Lisa admits that, after shedding a few tears, she leaned heavily on her positive outlook, a remarkable team and the famous East Coast stubbornness that is part of her DNA.

“I have been overwhelmed by support,” she says. “My sons and husband are my team. My extended family has a renewed determination to stay in touch and Zoom is our new best friend. Redwood Park Church has blown my mind with their support and my medical team has been outstanding. Staying in Thunder Bay was the smartest choice I’ve made in my life and I am so grateful.”

“To say goodbye, is to die a little. To say good morning, is a hope for a new sunshine in a cloudy winter,” says artist Nabil Toussi. With Lisa, it’s never goodbye. It’s always ‘good morning.’ And for 23 years, it was Superior.

Heather L. Dickson is a photoshop guru, zoologist and author of 6 novels.

Visit her website at www.hleightondickson.com

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