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

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