Memorial words from Lorne's long time, good friend, Ron McCabe

(Ron was unable to read this to us at the Memorial)


My name is Ron McCabe. I live in Oshawa with my wife Ann Marie. Lorne was my good friend for many years and for most of those years our times together were filled with a lot of fun and laughter. I know he would want me to share with you some of those fun times we had. 

I first met Lorne in 1970 when the parish priest, Father Norbert Gignac, ( deceased '07) , asked Lorne to put together a folk group at St. Mary of the People parish in Oshawa. Father Gignac had decided that Catholics had sat in the pews too silent for too long and wanted to inject a little life into the Sunday service. Somehow, and to this day I don't know how, my name came up. It's true I was a part of the British invasion of the sixties, but not the musical kind. My feeblest thread connecting with the Beatles is that Paul McCartney and I are the same age.

So eventually eleven of us made up the group . I was surrounded by accomplished guitar players such as Lorne and so I learned to play the harmonica, shake a tambourine and do vocals. We played and sang the twelve o'clock folk mass every Sunday for five years. We borrowed our music from popular folk artists of the times such as Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary and others. The balance of the music came directly from the liturgy .
In the spirit of ecumenism  we performed for other denominations; the United Church, Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists and so on, but the one engagement that stands out in my mind is our visit to the Bowmanville Boys' Training School, a correctional facility for wayward youth. The Training School had also served as a German POW camp during WW2. We were greeted with a less than enthusiastic reception and the applause after each song could hardly be described as a din. We did however manage to sing one truly inspirational song entitled, "It's A Long Road to Freedom " during which two of the inmates hopped over the perimeter fence and were last seen heading through downtown Bowmanville.
After almost five years together our final project was to make a record, an LP. A visiting priest from Ghana, Africa had asked for help for his impoverished people. For two months in a school library in Oshawa, on weekends, our group put together a selection of sixteen songs. The final recording was made by RCA studios in Toronto and the record went on sale . We named the album, "The Lovin' Sound " our title song from Ian and Sylvia. All of the proceeds  went to help those people in Africa. We were extremely proud of this accomplishment.
Lorne loved to ski . We went everywhere skiing together along with my wife and our three girls Penny, Sarah and Julia. The girls  looked on Lorne as an uncle and a big friendly teddy bear. We went to the Eastern Townships in Quebec to Owl's Head near Mansonville, Mount Sutton, Orford and sometimes hopped over the border to Jay Peak in Vermont. Locally we skiied at Mount St. Louis / Moonstone near Barrie and closer to home at Kirby and Devil's Elbow. Lorne called us "The Klutz Crew ". I don't know why. He was the first one to fall off the chairlift at Devil's Elbow, ten feet from the start, and landed in a snowbank below. When he got to the top he did a perfect U turn as he forgot to get off on time! We were novice skiers then and often wound up in a big heap at the top off the chairlift as we touched down.

Lorne would just love you to hear the story of "Old Number Eight " as he called himself. He earned the title one Sunday afternoon at the three o'clock invitational downhill slalom race at Devil's Elbow near Bethany Ont.. He paid his ten bucks, donned the bib they gave him with number eight on it, got on the lift and went to the start gate. Lorne had not noticed that most of his competitors were between the ages of eight and twelve, already gifted with consummate skills, rubber knees and completely fearless. When the horn sounded  Lorne had no choice. Propelled not only by gravity  but also by aspirations for the Winter Olympics, off he went . At the second gate he hit a huge trough and disappeared into a white cloud of powder with skiis, poles, arms, legs, windmilling in all directions. He heaved himself back onto his skiis and set off once more, undaunted.  Alas, only feet away a second mogul gobbled him up. Before the great white dust storm had settled, Lorne had stepped out of his bindings, picked up his skiis and tip-toed into the sanctuary of the woods on the side of the hill. They are still waiting for number eight at the finish line! 

In 1978 I decided to finish my rec room. Lorne was there to help. As a Bell telephone engineer he was an expert with any kind of wiring  and showed me how to connect the electrical outlets. He also installed all the wiring for the stereo speaker system and wired in the door chimes. My rec room is held together with thirty sheets of Gyproc and five hundred miles of Bell wire. When Bell telephone took out the old rotary pay phones and installed the new touch tones, Lorne bought up eleven of them and  put one of them behind my bar. It is there  to this day, and works perfectly. It will be a lasting reminder of my dear friend.

I never had a brother, but on a visit from England many years ago, my parents remarked that Lorne was like a brother to me. It's true and will always be.

I shall miss him very much.

The Lovin' Sound Album Photo
(That's Ron, far right)

The 12 O'Clock Folk Group at Christmas Mass