John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 05.26.03
Fool's Hollow, Quebec


Dave McLauchlin
1947 ~ 2003

A good man gone

If justice exists anywhere in this universe, and there is anything at all after life on this abused and tortured planet, David McLauchlin is fishing somewhere out there.

Or he's on a broad reach and the tell-tales are streaming off the top of the mast and he's smiling and reaching for a cold one.

Or perhaps he's driving down Highway 504, singing the song he wrote about that winding country in Ontario so dear to his heart, and he's keeping time by tapping on the steering wheel...

Dave died at 5:30 p.m. Sunday night. He was 56. A fast-growing malignant brain tumor killed him.

He leaves his wife, Dr. Lynn Mitchell, and two sons, Matthew and Theo; his sister, Dianne and her family, and his brother Rob; and a list of friends who loved him too long to post.

I first met Dave more than twenty-five years ago. He had come out to the country to work on some new songs with his old partner David Vachon. McLauchlin on banjo, Vachon on fiddle, and they both played guitar. What a hell of combo. For a while they teamed up as Country Subway -- it's leaving right now and it's not going anywhere.

Dave messed around with a lot of things in his life, including government work, band work, and street busking, and I never knew him not to be good at whatever he put his hand to.

He needed a hammered dulcimer? He built one. His houses needed renovation and repairs? He did it -- from smashing out old cement floors to laying new tiles to building kitchen cabinets.

He could write a short story or a song, and play along while he sang it for you.

And alll the while he would be smiling.

Dave was a reporter, a storyteller. He was passionate about his work as one of CBC's top radio journalists, and compassionate with the people whose lives he mined for stories.

He and I went on a number of voyages of discovery to the bottom of a jug of Scotch or Irish whiskey over the years. We shared stories, we shared confidences, we share good family times. And in good weather there was often porch music.

I've never known a finer man than David McLauchlin and I loved him and I will truly miss him. My life, and the lives of my wife and four sons have been enriched by him beyond any telling.