By December 21, 2009 10 Comments Read More →

RIP David O’Farrell (1971-2009)

Cancer became part of our household discussions five months before Andrea was diagnosed with breast cancer. It began when two of our friends were diagnosed with cancer around the same time. And both of those stories ended within seven days of each other — one as a miracle when we learned that our friend Caroline who was given a grave prognosis will be completely cancer free after one last surgery next month; the other with the inevitable.

David O’Farrell passed away at 1:02 a.m. He was 38 years old. The aggressive spread of the disease made the battle short and extremely painful. David, being the fighter he is, refused to give up. However, in the final weeks, the spread of the disease to his brain was more than his body could handle.

Being the “fourth brother” of the O’Farrell family meant I spent a lot of time hanging out with Bob, Jamie and David. I remember playing half-court with them and then going to the 7-11 so we could each get a tub of Coke to quench our thirst. David was a member of the crew during various incarnations of the band Bob, James and I were in (David did all of the fun work like lugging gear and helping to setup and teardown for live shows and practices). I recall a few outings to the driving range and countless hours of movie watching. I was also at the table for more than a few O’Farrell Christmas dinners and Andrea and I attended David’s wedding to Amanda.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to see David in August. He was in the hospital at the time battling an infection and had a full beard. Bob, Jamie and I had gone to Oshawa for the weekend to visit Dave and clean and paint his house — we also indulged in David’s amazing liquor cabinet and took care of his dogs. Dave and I spoke a few times after that visit, the last time was in September. He emailed me on Dec. 9th to say that he would be in Ottawa later this week. While we didn’t speak often, it seems particularly strange that it’s no longer possible.

This holiday season will have greater meaning for me. Even if I’m not able to connect with everyone I want to, know that I’m thinking about you and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and a fantastic new year.

Photo from Dave’s Facebook profile.

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About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.
  • Danielle

    Hi Mark,

    Bob just called and gave me the sad news. I’m blown away to hear that Dave has died… This is a lovely tribute you’ve written, it takes me back to all those good old days when we were all soo much younger and never gave death a second thought.

    My heart goes out to you and Andrea too. I really hope things go well for her.

    All the best this holiday. Keep in touch, my e-mail’s above.

    Lot’s o’ love,

    Danielle =)

  • James O’Farrell

    Hi Mark

    I wanted to thank you for the most fitting tribute to my brother that you have posted here. David thought very highly of you, and he would be touched to see how you will remember him.

    I hope that you and Andrea are able to stay strong together in the face of your own battle, and I want you to know that whatever you need and whenever you need it, you can count on myself and the rest of the O’Farrell clan to be there for you and your family.

  • Jenn Eyamie-Ward

    Hi Mark,

    This is just beautiful! Especially during a time you that you are being strong for your own family!

    I am glad to have found it and have shared the same memories. I still give Dave the credit for teaching me many things in life, especially how to play basketball, and how to love unconditionally. He loved us all, kept in touch and was always there when we needed him. Even offered to ‘off’ some people when I was really upset. As he said, it’s only one bullet….he can get that. LOL. Dave was my son’s godfather mainly because I knew, if anything happened to me, he and Mandy would have taken wonderful care of him. I hope now, nana and papa are taking wonderful care of him and enjoying all the chinese food they can.

    As hard as it is, Dave wants us to celebrate his life…..and with sharing memories like this, he will always be celebrated.

    My prayers are with you and Andrea at this time, and have a safe holiday season!

    Jenn

  • James O’Farrell

    Hi Mark

    Thank you for taking the time to call my parents the other day. They appreciate the time you have taken to post this memorial, and I know that it was comforting for them to hear from their “fourth son”. Their thoughts and prayers (as well as ours) have turned to you and your family at this time.

    Your brother

    Jamie

  • James O'Farrell

    Hi Mark

    I wanted to thank you for the most fitting tribute to my brother that you have posted here. David thought very highly of you, and he would be touched to see how you will remember him.

    I hope that you and Andrea are able to stay strong together in the face of your own battle, and I want you to know that whatever you need and whenever you need it, you can count on myself and the rest of the O'Farrell clan to be there for you and your family.

  • James

    Hi Mark. I just wanted to make sure you got this , in case you missed it on facebook. O'FARRELL, David Jason Roderick David passed away on December 21, 2009. There will be a memorial service celebrating David's life on Monday, January 25, 2010 commencing at 2:00 pm, at First Unitarian Church, 30 Cleary Avenue, Ottawa. The service will be followed by a reception at the same site. You are invited to join in remembering and sharing the many special ways in which David enriched the lives of those he touched.

  • http://www.markblevis.com Mark

    Hey Jamie!

    I saw that announcement on David's Facebook page the day you posted it and made an announcement about it (http://www.markblevis.com/a-celebration-of-davi…). Call me if you need any help preparing for and during the service.

    See you on Monday.

  • Anastazia (Stacey) Aziz

    I went to Elementary School with Dave and just reconnected with his cousin Jennifer on Facebook. I'm so sorry to hear this news, especially that he was so young and in pain at the end :( My sincere condolences to his family.

  • Antonio Pecora

    I met Dave at Entrust while I was doing audits for them and then eventually found out that he went to Nepean HS with my brother. Dave was an excellent person, very intelligent and impressed me with his ability to remember Security Policies and Procedures like a computer…. it was frightening… you couldn't get anything by him without him knowing.

    I remember we would go for lunch at the Entrust cafeteria and he would always order a double cheeseburger with fries and then tell me he was working out for a bodybuilding competition…. didn't say anything since he WAS the client.

    He talked a lot about his wife's business, his brother's band, and his dogs.

    Since I was working in Toronto at the time, we were working with a PKI client, Echoworx, and they needed some help and asked if I knew someone that could sort out all of their Security documents…. I didn't hesitate in highly recommending Dave since it would be a step up in his career and I always liked to promote talented people.

    I last saw Dave in 2004 since at the time I moved down to Mexico City and was saddened to hear this week that he passed away. I'm glad I had the chance to meet him when I did and will always remember him as a great friend and client.

  • Amanda Germain

    It seems crazy that I’m only seeing this 2 years later.  He was my husband and will always be the love of my life.  He was my best friend and the center of my universe.  I thought his death would kill me and I’m still working through the process of living on after he is gone.  Daily I wonder if I did enough to see him through.  I tried so hard to get him back to his family that Christmas, little did I know he would never make it to Christmas.  I cannot know what it is like to lose a son or a brother.  I can only know what it is like to lose a soulmate.  Mark, your words are extremely moving and I know for a fact he did indeed love you as the fourth brother.   I truly hope your family’s struggles with this awful disease had a good outcome.  My best to you and yours.  Thank you. 

    Amanda Germain
    (widow of Dave O’Farrell)