The Fella’s Father. A profile.
More than just pastries!

I’ve always wanted to do a small profile of the fella’s father but never got around to it. Even though the fella isn’t around anymore I’ve always loved the fella’s father. He’s just like the fella but funnier. And believe me when I tell you that’s a very difficult thing to be.

You may know the fella’s father from his much loved posts here on my site, True Squares, True Soups and of course, the post that started the entire True Food series, the ever popular True Pies.

If you haven’t already read those posts, you must before continuing on here.

I always worried that you maybe had the wrong impression of the fella’s father. You see he’s quite passionate about his series of True Foods and comes off as a bit … nuts. Perhaps curmudgeonly. And those two things are partially true.

He also loves corned beef in a can which really makes it difficult to take his view on any foods seriously.

But today I thought I’d let you in on the true him because I feel like I’ve been holding a secret all these years. As it turns out the fella’s father isn’t some crotchety, opinionated man nesting in an old chair in the corner of a room. He’s actually an award winning journalist, too.

The Fella’s father started out his career as a reporter for a small town newspaper in Ontario. From there he moved to larger and larger newspapers working as a journalist until he made it to the largest publications in Canada.  You know … true Newspapers.

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From there he delved into the world of television where he stayed for the rest of his career working as a field and senior producer at Canada’s most prestigious news shows W5 and The Fifth Estate.

His work as an investigative journalist uncovered corruption, ended political careers and resulted in accountability for people who otherwise would have gotten away with it.  Canadians may remember the Starkist tuna scandal where federal fisheries minister John Fraser allowed the sale of tainted tuna or the bribe scandal behind De Havilland airline sales. The fella’s father is the journalist who broke those stories.

I know. And you thought he was just tough on pastries.

So now it’s been revealed. The fella’s father is smart. In fact I can easily say that I have never in my life met anyone smarter than the fella’s father. Ever. Funny, brilliant and ruggedly handsome.  He’s read Proust.  WHO READS PROUST??  Kind of the perfect man really. Other than the whole pie dictatorship thing.

So it pains me to tell you that the fella’s father died suddenly this past week. It was his heart. It was a shock. It is a shock.

The fella’s father, Mike Lavoie, was there when I needed help with work.  He was there with the answer if I ever had a question. And he was even there when the fella left. For both of us.

He read every one of my posts and I dare say he was proud of me. One of the highest compliments I’ve ever received was when he referred to me as a humourist. If Mike thought you were funny and liked your writing you were doing something right.

He and his wife Michelle often spent Chrismas and Thanksgiving with us. The fella’s father was family. He and I never broke up.

I travelled to Ottawa this weekend to attend his funeral and tribute. I was joined by his family and friends.  The gathering was a reflection of the fella’s father.  A group of those who Mike loved and who loved him.  Everyone from the guy who does odd jobs around the cottage to an Emmy award winning journalist.

I brought the 4 True Squares with me. Nanaimo bars, date squares, brownies and lemon squares (the honourary square). All cut to the requisite true square size of 2″ x 2″.

And yes, that is indeed the size of a true square. I know … because a true friend told me so.

My mother came with me and my two sisters did as well.  None of us had seen the fella in a year.  But we didn’t hesitate.  There’s a difference between doing something because you know it’s the right thing to do and doing something because it feels like the right thing to do.  It felt right to go.  To hold the fella’s hand and support Mike’s beautiful wife Michelle.  I’m not one for cliche lines, but sometimes they’re so popular because they sum up things so well.  So I have to say that I have never seen a love like the one between Mike and and his wife Michelle.

It was true love.

And that’s what this is all about isn’t it?  Love.  It’s a bitch.  Because love, the one thing that brings you more joy and happiness than you ever thought possible, is also, inevitably the thing the brings you the deepest sorrow.  You cannot have one without eventually having the other.

The miracle is that the sorrow will eventually dull, if not completely go away, making room in your cloudy mind to remember once again how remarkable, how breathtaking it was, to have loved.

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216 Comments

  1. Ella says:

    Condolences!

  2. R.G. says:

    I’m so sorry. I’ve read your blog since you first started and never commented but I had to this time. I am so sorry.

  3. Lynne says:

    Oh that breaks my heart. I’m so sorry for your huge loss,Karen. So so very sorry.

    I think we should all bake squares this week and celebrate his life !!!

    What an incredible man. For real. Incredible.

    Big love

    Lynne xx

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Lynne. I appreciate it. I’m pretty much full up with squares thanks to the Village Bakery who baked an enormous amount of squares with absolutely NO notice at all! So I think I may go with a true pie. 🙂 Not sure who I’ll share it with but I hope they expect to hear the entire explanation of true pies from me while they eat it. 🙂 ~ karen

      • Lynn says:

        I can’t believe I missed this post originally. Many blessings to Mike and all of those that loved him. I read many of the replies but yours Karen! – ” So I think I may go with a true pie. 🙂 Not sure who I’ll share it with but I hope they expect to hear the entire explanation of true pies from me while they eat it.” evoked such a sweet feeling of you, I wish I was that person. Can’t hide authenticity and true love. I am sorry you lost your Friend.

        • SAMcClellan says:

          Just found Karen’s site…and came across this, after the dryer fuse repair installment. I have an uncle, probably in the same age bracket as Mike, who was a jounalist in Dallas Tx at the book building, covering news when JFK was shot, as a youngish reporter. The description of Mike, sounded so much like my uncle, I had to empathize & wince, at the thought of losing such a special person. I sent him this tribute. He may have even known him, casually, at least.
          ~I enjoy your blog, Karen…will be back regularly. Thanks for sharing! ~My condolences.

  4. Angela says:

    Thank you for posting this! I just found out that one of my great-uncles passed away tonight, and reading this tribute to the Fella’s Father has been cathartic for me. It sounds like they were very similar, in that they loved fully and were very loved in return. Rest in peace, Mike, your legacy lives on in your love for pie and your love for others.

  5. Amy in Stl says:

    Oh Karen! I’m sorry to hear this, his opinions always reminded me of my dad who had strong opinions about certain things too. (He had a list of true sports) It definitely sounds like the world will be a poorer place for the loss of this man.

  6. Laura says:

    I will make some true soup in his honor! I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  7. Pam'a says:

    What a lovely eulogy for someone who truly merits one. My deepest condolences to his family (and to the whole world!) for having lost such a presence.

  8. ruth says:

    My sympathies on your loss, Karen. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  9. Jeff Walker says:

    Beautiful.

  10. Rhonda Smartypants says:

    You are an honorable woman, as are your Mother and sisters. Well done.

  11. Vicki says:

    someone already said it… but…
    B E A U T I F U L .

  12. Marsha Jean says:

    My father’s memorial service was this weekend, so I know where you and the fella are coming from…sorry for the loss you all share.

  13. Terri says:

    That was beautiful!!! Made me cry. So sorry for your loss.

  14. Sue T. says:

    Dear Karen,

    I am sitting here crying…this is a sad but beautiful post that you share with us. Thank you so much for giving some background, and also for reminding us not to assume things ( good or bad ) about people we don’t truly know. It’s wonderful that you are still so close to the fellas family, and that your family went in support of you and them.
    My prayers are with you. We need to cherish the ones we love as we never know how long we may have together. Sue

  15. AnnW in the US says:

    What a privilege to have known him! I’m sure you must have a lot of stories about Mike and his opinions and we would love to hear them. A very fitting eulogy. Thank you.

  16. Becky says:

    I understand that sudden blinding grief. I’ve buried 5 family members in the last two years.

    You, the fella and his family have my deepest condolences.

  17. Valerie says:

    Magnificent words Karen.
    Those we have loved and lost; so painful, so poignant; one of the hardest but most selfless of human activities.

    “But if the while I think on thee. dear friend,
    All losses are restor”d and sorrows end.”
    William Shakespeare

  18. Susan Preston says:

    Hugs…always!

  19. TucsonPatty says:

    “Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.” – Unknown
    This touched me, Karen, I am so sorry for all of you and your hurting hearts. I’m so glad you were able to honor him with your kind gestures.
    I had enjoyed reading all the true stories – I will read them again.
    Peace to all of you.

  20. Pati Gulat says:

    I am so sorry, Karen….I loved the stories about his “True” pastries and I always imagined you had this kind of relationship with him. My deepest condolences…I lost my dad this past February so I feel your pain. <3

  21. Judith says:

    What a beautiful tribute to an obviously special man. I’m so sorry, Karen.

  22. Shauna says:

    Your affection for the fella’s father always came through in your writing, and as a fan of crotchety, opinionated characters, I always enjoyed those posts. Thanks for sharing another side of him. My condolences to all who loved him.

  23. jainegayer says:

    Karen, thank you for sharing Mike with us.

  24. Jody says:

    Truly lovely. Thank you for honouring him by sharing these memories. I’ll miss hearing his take on food, even though I may not agree with him (don’t get me started on the soups).

  25. victoria says:

    Beautifully written Karen. Im sorry for your loss.

  26. Andrea says:

    So, so sorry for your loss. What a great guy.

  27. Diane says:

    A lovely, heartfelt tribute. I will now go make a canned corn beef sandwich. Great stuff.

  28. Claudia says:

    So sorry about your loss.
    It might be a little inappropriate to say “thanks for sharing” but the text was so very loving that it brought me to tears.
    We are with you, Karen.

  29. Noelle says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all, Chris and his family. His dad sounds like a treat. I’ll have to go back and read his posts. xo

  30. Peg says:

    Sorry for your loss. Hard when we lose a buddy. Take care

  31. Gini says:

    Karen, I am so very sorry. I’d read those posts and many more – He sounds like a fabulous guy, and lucky to have you as the fella’s girl.

  32. Call Me Patty says:

    Beautifully written. My condolences on your loss.

  33. Lin says:

    In sympathy for your loss Karen…true squares, true pies, true soup, true love, true grief, and in time, true remembrance….

  34. Cred says:

    My condolences! You have written a beautiful tribute to a man who will be greatly missed. What a lovely way to honour him. I loved his true food series- thank you for sharing more about his character. It sounds as though he will be missed by many.

  35. meg says:

    Oh Karen, I am sad for you. I’m sad for The Fella too, even though he’s not with you any longer. It is terrible to lose a parent. My sincerest condolences to his whole family as well as you.

    And yes, love is pretty much it.

  36. Rebecca says:

    My sincere condolences to all who loved, liked or will miss him. That sounds like it will be a LOT of people.

  37. Leslie Zuroski says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Karen. I loved him through your articles about him.

  38. Gayle Kay says:

    Lovely tribute to someone you thought so highly of and returned that admiration to you. Condolences to you and the fella’s family as well.

  39. Lindsay H says:

    Wow! What lovely words. I am going to make some date squares in his honor.

    PS- I dont know you, and I didn’t know him, but I have a funny feeling he would’ve been impressed by this post. I hope one day someone writes something this touching about me.

  40. carey says:

    A lovely, heartfelt tribute to your dear friend. So sorry for the loss of this amazing man. But so glad you were able to share it with others who share your love and admiration of him. Thanks for including us, too.

  41. Auntiepatch says:

    So sorry for your loss. I will be baking an apple pie tomorrow in his honor.

  42. Bec says:

    My condolences to you and the family. Sounds like a fabulous man who will be sorely missed, thankyou for sharing his story.

  43. Grammy says:

    Condolences to you and all those who loved this man. It’s true that when a couple breaks up, the family is altered but not abandoned. People grow to care for one another and, in the best circumstances, the caring continues and everyone can be there for each other when the warmth and good wishes are needed. I’m glad that you and all the people who knew him had one another when it mattered, and continue to. You’ve written such a lovely tribute that it makes those of us who never knew him glad that he was once on this planet. No wonder he admired you and what you do.

  44. SusaninPeckham says:

    What a lovely tribute. I enjoyed your posts about the fella’s father and offer my condolences to his wife, sons, family and friends.

  45. SeaDee says:

    Gosh I had a bad feeling about three paragraphs in….and I still let out a little gasp when I got to “So it pains me..”

    What a fitting and lovely tribute. You made him proud again. So sad for you all. Thank you for sharing.

  46. Irene says:

    How lucky and blessed you are to have had this wonderful man in your life!
    My heart goes out to those that love him and were loved by him.

  47. Sally A says:

    That was a beautiful tribute. What a terrible loss. My condolensces to you and his family, and thoughts and prayers are with you all during this heartbreaking time. He will live on in your hearts and minds and through his many great accomplishments.

  48. Karen says:

    So sad for your loss. So thankful for so many memories for you to rely on. Treasure those memories of someone that was such an influence on your life. Hang in there…

  49. Melody Madden says:

    Thank you for this post Karen. I always loved reading about the fella’s father and after reading this I realize he lived a wonderful life and had a one in a lifetime kind of love with Michelle. Loss is overwhelming to say the least. It’s like walking around broken … Broken in places you never thought it was possible to be broken. Two days ago my husband of 27 years told me he wanted a new life that didn’t include me … Just like that. I remind myself to breathe because that’s about all I can accomplish these days. Perhaps this wasn’t the right place to share but I’m feeling a bit raw this morning. Loss is loss and it’s devastating regardless of how it presents itself. Thank you for this beautiful post about Mike and letting us see what a lovely human being he was.

  50. Barbara R says:

    You wrote an absolutely beautiful tribute Karen…no wonder Mike was proud of you!
    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/ottawacitizen/obituary.aspx?pid=170761470

  51. Edith says:

    How sad. My heart goes out to all of you.

  52. Jody says:

    I’m so sorry. My thought are with Mr Lavoie’s family and your family. Loss hurts and it sucks.

  53. mayr says:

    Beautiful writing. You are a dear heart.

  54. marilyn says:

    karen , such a loss! for all of you,,my sincere sympathy..and what a beautiful tribute..mike would definitely be proud! i use the true pie to describe true friends..a top and bottom and everything great in the middle …a true pie kinda friend..sounds like mike was that kinda guy. you were lucky to have known him.

  55. erin says:

    What a beautiful post to honor someone so special. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  56. Brenda says:

    Karen,
    My sincerest condolences to you, the Fella, his family and all who knew and loved Mike. Your post is a wonderful tribute to his life and love for family. So sad to lose the ‘good ones’ who embraced life so well.
    Hugs, Brenda

  57. Beckie says:

    what a lovely tribute

    I am sorry for everyone’s loss

  58. Tigersmom says:

    I’m so sorry for such a big loss.

    I’m not trying to be funny, but I think he would have felt that this post qualifies as a true tribute. I’m just saying that the writer in him would have appreciated and been proud of the way you brought him to life for those of us who didn’t know him. And the way you made us wish we had.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family and his.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Tigersmom. And it’s fine to be funny, lol. The fella’s father would have been the first one to laugh. Honestly, I’ve never met someone who could say such inappropriate things at such inappropriate times and get away with it because it made everyone laugh, lol. ~ karen!

    • Tanya H. says:

      My thoughts exactly. Very sorry for your loss, Karen.

  59. Deb J says:

    I was thinking the same as Tigersmom, that this is a true tribute; so beautifully expressed. My deepest sympathy to you and his family.

  60. Suanne says:

    I add “Amen” to all that has been said. May the memories he left all of you, be a healing balm.

  61. Laura N. says:

    Yes, the fella’s father was right. You’re like a modern day woman’s Erma Bombeck. So sorry to hear about the fella’s father. Besides all of your funny pieces, I think that this was my favorite post. Just curious? What is the fella’s occupation.

  62. Lynn says:

    I’m so sorry for this loss. Thank you for sharing a bit more of this great man with us. The “True” posts have been some of my favorite.

  63. Linda says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Karen, and your family’s loss. It sounds to me like he was larger than life…a very good quality indeed.

  64. I feel like Forrest Gump saying this, but all I can say about death is how much it reminds me that it is as much a part of life as living. It’s bittersweet like the best chocolate is.
    “…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

  65. Marcie says:

    A beautifully written loving tribute. It truly touched me. My heart goes out to all those who knew and loved him.

  66. Laura C says:

    I made date squares this weekend. They weren’t “true” squares because I added coconut. I will eat one tonight with tea in his honor. Hugs.

  67. Biggi says:

    My heart goes out to you and all family! What a great GREAT tribute!!!! He must have been a remarkable man. Makes me think I want to live and love as he has done, passionately and uncompromising (in food, and work, and life, and love)!
    Love is all there is!

  68. Reg says:

    Condolences to you and Mr. Lavoie’s family.

  69. Linda J Howes says:

    When it’s true, it breaks your heart. May your memories mend our grief.

  70. Mary says:

    Dare I say that this is your best post ever? I am moved by the love you had for this man and I am sorry for your loss.
    Mary

  71. Robin F says:

    I’ve had a couple of hard losses in the past couple of months and your post about this beautiful person brought on the tears, the like of which I haven’t had. So sorry for your sudden loss. It is clear how much this man meant to you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin F – Sorry to make you cry. But … it’s probably a good thing. Sometimes we get stuck in survival mode and grief is an important part of surviving. It helps us move forward. So cry away. ~ karen

  72. SuzyMcQ says:

    I don’t know if they make men like that anymore. As a mom, I’ve tried to instill goodness in my children because I think that’s really what being true is. So, I’m pessimistic, but ever optimistic.

    My condolences to everyone Mr. Lavoie touched with his trueness. I suppose it’s quite a long list.

  73. Ruth says:

    I am so truly sorry for your loss. There is nothing that really seems right to say at a time like this….
    (If I were well enough, I’d bake today because I suddenly have the urge to bake a true pie)

  74. Jebberjay says:

    That was beautiful. I’m so sorry for those who loved him.

  75. Donna says:

    Such a lovely, well written article about a well loved man. I enjoyed your stories about the true pies etc. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

  76. Donna says:

    A wonderful tribute to a fabulous man! I loved the “true” series and was giddy thinking I was in for another one, but sadly no. I am sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing him with us all.

  77. nicole d says:

    🙁 many sympathies for you, and all who are grieving the loss of someone you cared for.
    It’s beautiful to remember him so fondly, and for him to leave such a “sweet taste” in everyone’s lives.

    One can only hope to be remembered at the end of their lives with so many kind and wonderful memories.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, and his family and friends.

  78. susan w says:

    Lovely. Truly.

  79. Megan says:

    So sorry to hear, but what a beautiful tribute. He has a kind face.

  80. Mary Werner says:

    Sounds like he grabbed the world by the tail and gave it a good shake so it wouldn’t be the same for his living in it. When someone larger than life is no longer physically present, they can’t help but be present later at other family functions, worker get-togethers, and other completely unexpected times for all those that knew them. His work related accomplishments, true loves, and many opinions means he will be present for a very long time. My condolences to Mr. Lavoie’s family and friends. A true tribute, Karen.

  81. JF says:

    Karen,
    writing this @ my desk in the Office of Doom with tears in my eyes

    thank you for sharing The Fella’s Father with us — he sounds like an amazing human being and I am SO glad he was in your life

    much love and sympathy to you and his family

    JF

  82. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    Karen,
    I’m so very sorry.

  83. Nan Tee says:

    Condolences, for you and your family. What a wonderful way of remembering a special man.

  84. Sandy says:

    This was a beautifully written post and tribute to Mr. Lavoie, Karen. My sincerest condolences to you and his family. Hugs

  85. Su says:

    A beautiful tribute. My condolences to you and those who loved this man.

  86. Anita says:

    Karen, my condolences on your loss. You have really had a rough year. I am fighting back tears and I never new the man. My loss, I’m sure. I love how he was there for both of you when the Fella left. That shows true class. And love. Did Mike have any True Rounds? All I have to honor him is a doughnut, but I figure a journalist probably ate his fair share of doughnuts and coffee.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Anita. And yes. As far as years go this one has been … trying. And it’s close to exactly one year as a matter of fact, so maybe when that date passes in a week or so things will get less dramatic and traumatic. And you know what, he did have some very specific thoughts on doughnuts, one of which was the fact that he thought the true way to spell it was Donut. Yes. There was an actual discussion about the true spelling of doughnuts. I think you’ll be safe with a Honey Crueller. ~ karen!

  87. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Please accept my sincerest condolences, Karen, Michelle, the fella, family and friends. True love is an amazing gift. Those who experience it are truly blessed. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing man. Thank you for sharing the trueness of Mike with us.

  88. Debbie says:

    This was a beautifully written, heartfelt tribute. Mike would be proud! Condolences to you, the falla and the family. May his memory be for a blessing.

  89. Jodi T. says:

    So beautifully said. The Fella’s father would be proud.

    So sorry for your loss, Karen. <3

  90. mickey says:

    Thank you for sharing with us, Karen. My condolences to you and the fella’s Father’s family. You are in my prayers and thoughts.
    mickey

  91. Michelle says:

    This must have been hard for you on many different levels, but you did the right thing. Seeing your post reminds me that everyone has a story, whether it is a little picture book, or an encyclopedia. Thanks for sharing.

  92. Terry says:

    What a lovely tribute to the other fellow in your life.
    You did the right thing in attending the funeral.
    It shows the best side of you, your strength and decency.
    May his memory always remain in your heart
    and the thought of the good times with him remain in your mind.
    I am so sorry for your your loss.

  93. Heather (mtl) says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Karen – je te donne mon coeur!
    It takes time to peel back all the layers of life, but remember that all those layers make for a life well lived. I must say, it sounds like his life was a delicious one!
    Heather

  94. Laura Bee says:

    I re-read all the True posts, just because they are all so good, before coming back to read this one. I had already decided True Cookie #2 would be a good idea on this damp overcast day. Even more so now.
    My thoughts are with you and everyone who loved The Fella’s Father. Thank you for sharing his True lists & a little of his life. You always write from your heart when you aren’t writing with your funny bone. xxoo

  95. Awe this is so sad. I am sorry for the fella, his family and you, as it seems you lost a father figure Karen. How nice to hear you stayed close. He sounds like an incredible man!

  96. Ev Wilcox says:

    Class and compassion. I will keep a good thought for you and his family. Thanks, Karen.

  97. Gretchen Sexton says:

    What a beautiful tribute. He kind of reminds me of you.
    Thoughts and prayers coming your way.

  98. Deva says:

    Some people take a huge part of our heart when they go. We are left with such sadness, but the wonderful memories are there and such a big comfort. I am so sorry for your huge loss and so glad you knew and loved this a wonderful man.

  99. Barbara says:

    What an elegant tribute. Sorry for your loss.

  100. Hope says:

    Just wanted to join the chorus…loved and lost but better than going without the relationships that add SO much to our lives!

  101. Marlene the mail lady says:

    As Always Karen….you tackle life’s challenges with Dignity and Grace. Never one to let any of your Hearts commitments slips past without honouring this very special man and the role he secured in the chapters of your Life’s Novel. I know he felt the love and kindness you share with us all… and was proud of the person you are. I am truly sorry for your lose and will say a special prayer for Chris, as I know He will miss him terribly. Now is the time to celebrate his extra ordinary life and be greatful for the privilege to have been apart of it. May God Bless

  102. Manisha says:

    Oh, man, I’m so sad to hear this news. I hope you all find the comfort that you need. Thanks for sharing such wonderful tidbits about this life.

  103. Sherri says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen, and I extend that sorrow to all who loved and respected this man. I feel sad for the world in having lost one of its most passionate and feisty citizens. R.I.P. and rock on, Mike!

  104. Patti says:

    Oh, Karen and the Fella, and family – I’m so sorry to hear about the Fella’s Father.

    I always search for eloquent words of support and encouragement at times like these, but words are not ever enough. I’m sending good vibes to your family – hope you receive them.

  105. Dana R says:

    You, lady, are a class act. What a beautiful piece about someone who inspired you. Condolences to you and the family.

  106. wendy lemont says:

    So sorry for your loss Karen,this is a lovely tribute to your friend

  107. Jennifer says:

    Hi Karen, You’re a very lucky gal to have met such a man! I’m sure you already know that. His poor family. I’m praying to God to hold them up during this terrible time. Thank you for sharing your loss and helping all of us realize that life is precious and oftentimes, too short. Cheers to Mike! A true man. xo

  108. Ginny says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. My deepest condolences to you, his family and all that loved him. It sounds sounds like he was a true gentleman that will be greatly missed.

  109. Beth says:

    A beautiful post as a whole, but those last two paragraphs and the photo – so very touching. What a wonderful tribute that strikes a deep chord. My condolences on the loss of a friend and family member.

  110. Uncle Shifty's Ex says:

    Karen, your attendance, participation and the squares all moved me at Mike’s Memorial. I was moved to laughter and tears again, here. Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us.
    PS I made a terrible faux pas with your sister…she figures you would have loved it though 😉

    • Karen says:

      LOL. She told me and I did love it! My whole family commented on how nice you were and how wonderful it was for you to have been there. ~ karen

  111. pat b says:

    What a lovely tribute. My thoughts are with you all.

  112. Laura N. says:

    Again, so sorry for your loss.

  113. Janet says:

    I’m sorry, Karen, and I’m sad for the Fella, too. To lose one’s father leaves a deep scar, but the good memories help the scar fade after a while.

    Condolences to you and all who loved him.

  114. Oh Karen, I feel for you. What a wonderful man.

  115. Corinna says:

    What a beautiful tribute – my thoughts and prayers are with you and the fella’s family.

  116. Janet says:

    Yeah, the world needs to stop for a moment when the death of someone special occurs. This post affected me deeply and personally for several reasons.

    A good reminder to take time to value not ‘what’ we have in our lives, but rather, ‘who’ we have in our lives. Right now. Before they are gone. No matter what.

    So sorry for your loss. Your instincts were spot on. Of course you had to be there. How lucky you were to have had Mike in your life. What a terrific human being. He sounds like such an impactful person. Bigger than life. How wonderful, and how sad for those left behind.

    I am not expressing myself eloquently, I know…. but this post, as I said, affected me deeply.

  117. Amy says:

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful, Karen.

    What a great tribute.

    Sending love from Utah.

  118. Robin says:

    I too would have gone. It’s nice that you were able to attend the service and to see the people that surrounded Mike throughout his full life. He would have been a great person to have known!

  119. Marion says:

    My condolences to his family (you included). He sounds like an incredible man who lived a great life.

  120. janpartist says:

    You certainly brought tears to my eyes. That was indeed profound. Mike and Proust would be proud. And, in fact, since I know that spirits never leave but stay, Mike is with you right now, cheering you on. Bless you in your loss and may your spirits one day be together again to enjoy “true humourist” exchanges . (or in the USA “humorist”)

  121. Maureen says:

    I want you to know, fans (friends) surround , support and love you.
    Our hearts are with you.

  122. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I am so sorry Karen..I am so sorry Chris..Thank you both for sharing him with us..You did the right thing by going Karen..you did the right thing by comforting Chris..This is bigger than anything that happened between the two of you..I am proud of you both for putting that aside to honor such a great man..Thank you Mike for fighting the bad guys in this world and for your wonderful sense of humor..It is good to know that there are still “True Men” in this crazy world..

  123. Sera says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful remembrance. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  124. Carole McGinnis says:

    What a beautiful and amazing tribute to the fella’s father. He sounds like he was an amazing man. I am very sorry for your loss. You are one classy lady Karen.

  125. jeannie B says:

    Wonderful tribute Karen. Michelle and her family have suffered a great loss and the support from you and yours will be greatly appreciated. From your blog, all of our hearts have all been touched by Michael, through your stories. After losing my dear husband nine months ago at the very same age, all I can say is that ” every love story ends, sooner or later”. God bless.

  126. Lynn says:

    BEAUTIFULLY written Karen. What a gift it was for you to know (and be loved by) someone like Mike. I know you will cherish your memories. Deepest condolences to you AND the Fella (and his mom).

  127. Fran Paulseth says:

    Thanks for introducing us again to the man who gave us the “True” category of foods we enjoy. This is a beautiful tribute.

  128. kelli says:

    Oh Karen, I’m so very sorry for your loss (and of course, for The Fella and his mom as well). My deepest condolences.

    No, of course none of us knew Mike personally, but the bits you wrote about him in your blog gave us a little insight on the man…sounds like he was quite a guy (and from this latest description–wow, what a guy he was!) 🙂 You are better and richer for having had him in your life…even if you and The Fella had to part ways. And as for The Fella, sounds like he got to learn from the best.

    It’s odd that one can become teary-eyed over someone they’ve never even met (and I am)…guess it’s just because we know how much he meant to you…and since you mean so much to US, it feels like a little part of our family as well. They are so few and far between, but we ALL need a Mike in our lives, don’t we? *hugs*

  129. erin hall says:

    I am so so sorry for your loss to you karen and all his family.

  130. SK Farm Girl says:

    I am reduced to tears . . . what a heart-felt and beautifully written tribute to an incredible human being! My condolences to his family and beloved friends; there is no greater loss than that of someone who made a difference in your life, someone whom you admired, someone whom you loved and they loved back (unconditionally)! I admire people with strong opinions (true squares, pies & soups) and who stand up for their beliefs! A thank you to Mr. Lavoie for delving deeply into the “wrong-doings” of others and uncovering their “dirty deals”; Canada thanks you Mr. Lavoie! Karen, as right as it may have seemed to go and pay your last respects to an incredible man and support his family whom you love so dearly it must have been rather difficult too. Knowing that you would see the fella again must have caused those broken-hearted emotions and raw pain to resurface, but what an incredibly honourable thing to do. Not many people who have been so deeply hurt would be able to set their feelings aside and support the very person who caused them such pain. You are a beautiful and selfless person Karen!

  131. Sue Ann says:

    My deepest sympathies. What a wonderful relationship the two of you had!! I know he is smiling down on you and so proud of the wonderful tribute you wrote about him!!

  132. Margaret K says:

    Condolences to you and Mr. Lavoie’s family. May your memories help assuage your grief.
    I, too, went back and re-read the “true food” posts that I enjoyed so much the first time I ran across them. Cookie #2 will be baked today.

  133. Langela says:

    What a beautiful tribute, Karen. I’m sure he was proud of you and I’m so sorry for your loss and the loss the rest of his family is feeling. My grandmother passed this last week, also, so I understand your present sadness. I’m so glad you didn’t cheat yourself by not going because of any discomfort you would have felt with the fella. I’m sure his family appreciated you going.

  134. Jean says:

    My ex MIL died a few years ago and I think about her constantly. She was a blessing in my life that doesn’t end. Her son? Not so much.

  135. Wonderful memories of him to share with us. Thank you.

  136. katty says:

    I came to love the fella’s father through what you have shared of him, and I loved his True food dictatorship. Thank you for sharing of his passing- I’d like to offer my condolences to the family, and you, because it was very clear whenever you talked about him, you did it in love. So sorry for your loss

  137. Beth W says:

    Wonderfully written. He would have been touched, and so proud²

  138. Lynne says:

    I have been reading your blog for some time but I have never commented. Your post today is a lovely tribute to a man and the love he showed. I recently lost my partner of 47 years so I understand the sorrow you are feeling. I feel your sadness today, but thank you for the many laughs I share with you many mornings.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynne. Thank you. I’d like to acknowledge that your loss is much, much worse than mine. Your loss is like that of Michelle’s. Blindingly painful. I’m sorry. ~ karen

  139. Darcy says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. This was a touching post. The fella’s dad was right to be proud of you and your writing. He was lucky to have known you and we are lucky that you shared him with us.

  140. Shel says:

    Rest in peace, Mike. Thank you for the blessing that was your life. Sounds like you left many to grieve, but also left some fabulous memories for your loved ones to help them through the rough days ahead.

  141. So sorry for your loss, Karen and Mike’s family.
    Your tribute is beautiful, and portrays a great love and huge respect for him.
    I will bake a pie in his honour tomorrow, won’t make any difference to him that some “girl” thousands of miles away did this, but if his family is reading this, then I hope it brings you some comfort that he is being remembered in Ireland.

  142. Susan says:

    Your concern that you were unfair to him or portrayed him as someone he wasn’t, was definitely unfounded. Your writing of him always gave a peek into your true relationship with him, which let us know who he was, even if we didn’t know who he was. Now we do, and the blanks have been filled in. Sincere condolences to you and his family.

  143. Karen…you are an amazing writer. This such a beautiful tribute. This post has me bawling (perhaps it is because we have a funeral to attend tomorrow and another friend who is gravely ill and it is not looking good). I love how you painted a complex beautiful Picutre of the fella’s father—summing up both the curmudgeon part and the brilliant and funny parts. It says so much about the kind of person you are (along with pink tool belt, fish pedicure and sledgehammer Betty)that you went to be with the fella and his family during this time. You are a class act, my virtual friend. I am so sorry for this loss. It sounds like he will be deeply missed.

  144. Shauna says:

    Rest in peace Mike.

  145. Linda S. in NE says:

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. Your love and admiration for Mike is obvious. How lucky you are to have had him in your life. My condolences to his entire family.

  146. Phyllis Boyd says:

    So sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts.

  147. Christine says:

    Sorry for your loss. The most touching tribute I’ve ever seen, I’m sure he’s proud of you, we all are.

  148. Stephanie says:

    A solid 100 good folks have more than said everything i might add about your perfect tribute to a special guy. I loved the “true foods” posts, and agree that the proper spelling of the fried, sugary ones is “donut”. I’ve nothing appropriate in the house to commemorate the sad news, food-wise; hope Mike won’t object if I eat a few chocolate-covered macadamia nuts in his honor. You were truly blessed to have him in your life, and we your readers are blessed that you shared him with us. Sending a virtual hug and warm aloha from Hawaii.

  149. Suzanne Newberg says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a dear friend. May his memory be for the sweetest of blessings to you. So very sorry for your loss.

  150. Karen says:

    That’s a beautiful tribute. Condolences to all who loved him.

  151. andrea meyers says:

    Thank you and Fella’s family for sharing him with us. I have always enjoyed the posts about Fella’s father, and we are lucky for the small glimpse we have been given. I will stick to a true pie tonight, I promise :(.

  152. Mindy says:

    Oh man, I was not expecting that. Tough shit. I was put in a similar situation several years ago and I didn’t go. Too much drama for little ol me. It had been years since seeing any of them, but there were too many raw emotion, still. I figured, if he was in heaven or hell and able to see me, he knew I wanted to be there. And if not, it didn’t matter anyway. I’m sorry for your loss. I loved those posts, by the way.

  153. Dominique says:

    Toutes mes sympathies à la famille Lavoie. And hugs to you Karen, sorry for your loss. xoxo

  154. Frana B says:

    Karen, I am so sorry about the loss of your father-in-law. He sounds amazing and a real rock and confidante. There is never a good moment to lose a loved one. I know I lost several friends last year, the kind you count on one hand. I watch the US television show ‘Long Island Medium’ who speaks to the spirits of departed loved ones and that gives me some comfort. I want to believe that this might be true, so sometimes I talk to them. Maybe that will bring you some comfort.
    F

  155. Deb says:

    Karen, I am so sorry for the loss of this magnificent someone who was so significant in your world. Reading his profile just makes me like him more than I already did. It’s funny how this all works, isn’t it? We are all touched by your words and the glimpses into your life and the lives of your loved ones. I cried when I read that he passed. Peace be with you and yours.

  156. Murray Randall says:

    I’ve known the fella and his father for 35 years. Since my spouse and four step-daughters spoke at his tribute about their loss, I didn’t want to chew the the scenery there. But, I will add this here. In many respects his life can be summed up in one word: Words. As a journalist for over 50 years, he toiled in the vineyard of words- with the purpose of communicating effectively with readers, listeners and viewers. In private life his creativity with words followed a more oral tradition. The late Elmore Leonard created rules for good writing which were summarized as “try to avoid the parts that readers tend to skip” and “when it sounds like writing, tear it up and start over”. The fella’s father learned these lessons early on. And , while professional accolades no doubt meant a lot to him, given the Ottawa Valley roots to which he always returned, a simple “well done lad well done” would have meant at least as much.
    Thank you Karen. You are a special person.

  157. Sharman says:

    So sorry for your loss, Karen! My father-in-law just passed away also and it has hit us hard. What a sweet tribute you’ve written for a man we’ve all enjoyed coming to know. Sounds like he was a “true” gentleman!

  158. Barbie says:

    First time I have ever read your blog and “cried” …this is such sad news! He sounds like such a wonderful man! I am so sorry for your loss. You and his family will be in my prayers.

  159. Chau says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your story of Mike reminded me of my father who passed suddenly 7 years ago. He was also a great man who earned love and respect from many. Thank you for the story written from your heart. Keep his memory alive with “true” things.

  160. Stephbo says:

    I, too, was very excited when I started reading this post because I thought the fella’s father was going to grace us with more of his wisdom. His True lists are some of my favorite posts of yours. Your love for him is do evident in those posts as well as in today’s tribute. I’m so very sorry to you and his family for your loss. Thank you for sharing him with us, both now and in the past.

  161. Maria says:

    Wonderful tribute Karen. My condolences.

  162. Kyle says:

    You are good people, who know and attract good people…..condolences for your loss.

  163. Susie Heller says:

    I am crying for you. You are so warm and funny and to have loved and lost and lost again is way too much in one year. I am so sorry for this, yet another loss. Best to you. I will pray that life will smile on you this day.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Susie. Yeah. I’m pretty ready for this year to be over. Don’t you worry about me though. I’m fineish. 🙂 ~ karen

  164. Arianne says:

    So sorry for your loss – my prayers are with you and with the fellas family during this time. Even though the fella might not say it, I’ll say it for him – thank you for going and supporting him during this incredibly difficult time. Hugs from Texas!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Arianne, I appreciate it. Oh! And the fella thanked me a few times so don’t worry about that. 🙂 ~ karen

  165. Kim Kline says:

    Dear Karen, Find comfort in the moments of peace and the memories of love of him. What a true gift to have someone of this depth and love for you in your life. He was fortunate to have you there, in his, too.
    Hugs, Kim

  166. Anna says:

    Karen –

    I’m so sorry to hear about the fella’s father. He sounded like a wonderful man and I will thoroughly miss his “True” lists. My condolences to you and to the rest of his family.

    Anna

  167. Beautifully written, Karen. I love that you brought the true squares. I’m sure the fella’s father was having a true laugh about that in the land of true things.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    E

  168. Kalani Allred says:

    This is such a sweet tribute! It made me cry. Yes, love is a bitch, but love is also the most important thing there is. And you are indeed a humorist and quite a talented writer, but you are also, more importantly, a beautiful and sensitive soul. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. Blessings to you.

  169. Jocelyn says:

    Thank you Karen. Thank you for sharing the true squares and true pies. We needed those laughs as we remembered the great, witty, goofy and lovable man we had lost. This is yet another beautiful tribute to my uncle. I am going to start following your blog and will make sure my dad sees this as well. xo

  170. Leah says:

    Karen, I hate you have lost someone so wonderful so quickly. I’m thankful God gave you the opportunity to know someone as unique as he was. Hang on to the things that make your heart happy.

  171. Tara says:

    Hi Karen: I am one of the Fella’s cousins. We did not get the chance to chat in Ottawa, but I wanted you to know that your speech and now this tribute have brought tears to my eyes. You have a rare gift of using humour to get to the heart of a person. You have painted a beautiful picture of my Uncle Lav and captivated his true essence. Thank you for sharing your gift. In gratitude, Tara

    • Karen says:

      Oh Tara, you’re welcome. I loved Mike. I really did. I know everyone is an original, but he was a bit more original than the rest of us. It’s a Lavoie man thing. 🙂 ~ karen

  172. David Lavoie says:

    Thank you so much Karen for this truly beautiful tribute to my brother. I am extremely moved by it.
    David

  173. Brenda says:

    My condolences to the Fella, family & friends of the Fella’s Father, and you and your family. Beautifully written. Beautiful homage of a beautiful life lived to its fullest.

  174. Olga says:

    Shame to see amazing people go! My condolences.

  175. toekneetoni says:

    beautiful, beautiful words. thank you for sharing.

  176. Lisa KT says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers to your family. Thank you for the last two paragraphs of your post. Sums it up perfectly.

  177. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. I had hoped he was still in your life after the fella up and left. My heart is heavy for you, such a good support he was to you. I’m glad your mom and sisters are there for you right now. Hugs.

  178. Nancy says:

    “And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.”
    ― Raymond Carver

    To Mike, here’s hoping that his heaven is full of the perfect squares, pies, and soups. And to you, his family.

  179. Maggie V says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Karen. Tough time all around for you but you went with dignity and grace and squares for a man you loved. I admire you for that.

  180. Tori says:

    I’m sorry for the loss. I know this comes from a stranger but I am happy and proud to read of people who let love trump all other considerations.

  181. Liz says:

    My heart hurts for your loss. Such a moving tribute that brought me to tears. What a wonderful person to have in your life–I am sure the world will not be the same without him.

  182. Christy says:

    Truly a lovely tribute. I am sure Mike approves of it.

  183. kerry says:

    I, also, am sorry for your loss. But how wonderful to have had the experience of loving him.

  184. Lita says:

    I liked that old curmudgeon. I looked forward to posts that involved him, or mentioned him. From what I read he was one of my favorite types of personalities: a “true” curmudgeon. Bristly humor backed with a good old soul. I have several of that sort in my own family, and they just make me smile. Every time.

    Thanks for sharing him with us, you sent him out to a lot of people, so if his family reads this, I want them to know that he’s got a spot in my heart, and probably in the hearts of a lot of your readers too.

    Love from Texas,
    Lita

  185. Jeann Gardner says:

    You are such a classy lady with an awesome sense of humor. I enjoy your blog so much. You are uplifting and encouraging in your posts and I’ve tried several of your projects with success. You have the loveliest chicken house I’ve ever seen. I’m so sorry you lost someone so special in your life!

  186. Jeanette says:

    Just discovered your blog today, it is so beautiful how lovingly you write about your former (sort of) Father in Law… brought tears to my eyes and all I can say is like all the others.. beautiful!

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