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For Mac

It is with a heavy heart I write this post.

Yesterday, many of us in the Ulsan expat community were shocked to hear of the tragic death of our friend, Jean-Marc Lalonde, known to most as Mac (or JM). His motorcycle was hit by a car, causing an accident that killed him. It is hard to imagine Ulsan without Mac’s smiling face, and his cheerful, laid back attitude.

Jean Marc

I first met Jean-Marc at Benchwarmer’s Bar, where he often helped out Troy, the owner, by making the poutine. He was always trying to round people up to play ball hockey, and later helped found the Ulsan Pirates Ice Hockey team. He was an eager participant in the Inferno (a motorcycle and scooter-based photo scavenger hunt) from the beginning, and we’d often talk about bikes and gear.  I hadn’t seen him as much in recent years, as he came out to the bars a lot less after becoming a father, but when I did, he would brag endlessly (as Dads do) about his little boy. As a true Canadian, he was excited to get his son into hockey as soon as he was old enough. I honestly don’t remember ever running into JM when he wasn’t grinning, even when he was complaining about something. While we were never close friends, I always enjoyed bumping into him and catching up – his positive attitude was infectious.

The local bars have put together a fundraiser to help support Mac’s family. Here is the tribute from the event:

“10 years ago a very loving and kind Canadian came into Ulsan to become an English teacher. He was one of the first. He encouraged and helped friends to open bars that we still drink, laugh, and dance at today. He got married. He had a handsome boy named C.J. who loves Taekwondo and I would fear to play him at Modern Warfare. This man’s name was Mac. A.K.A Jean-Marc Lalonde. He died in a tragic accident, leaving behind a widow and a son. I didn’t know as much as I would have liked to about Mac, but I do know a few things. He was one of the most sincere and kind people I’ve ever met. Above all though, he was an amazing father. I know many of you have never had the honor of meeting this man, but I’d like to think that whether or not you’ve been in Ulsan for a year or five that this unique experience binds us by even the smallest commonality and to varying degrees makes us, well, like a family. Through the rest of this week JJ’s Bar, Royal Anchor, Sticky Fingers, and Cima Bar will be donating a dollar from every drink or food item to help support Mac’s family. There will also be donation boxes posted at all four of the locations that will stay throughout the month. These donations will be given to Mac’s family. Mac was a better friend and person than most were to him. He never asked me for anything other than an OB, a poutine, and a few rounds on the Playstation. But he was always there for anyone who needed the slightest bit of help. His wife and his son need our help now. We hope you can.”

If you would like to attend the visitation for Jean-Marc, Korean-style funeral services are being held at the Dong Gang Hospital Funeral Center*, in the second basement level. There are no fixed hours for visitation, so people are welcome to come by at any time, between today and Friday (Sept 6th) at noon. Donations are welcome to help cover repatriation costs, and the travel costs of his Canadian family, who are arriving Thursday evening. There is more information available on the Facebook event page.

Proceeds from Saturday’s Sports Day at the Taehwa River Park will also be donated to this cause, and Jason Teale,’s resident photographer, will be donating a beautiful photograph for a silent auction at the event.

There is also an online fundraiser for those who can’t get to an Ulsan Bar or participate in the Sports Day.

A Korean news article about the accident is located here. Please be forewarned, the photo is very graphic.

To Jean-Marc’s family and friends, both here in Ulsan and back home in Canada, I am very sorry for your loss. JM was such a happy, loving guy, and he will be sorely missed by us all. Rest in peace, Mac.

*Dong Gang Hospital is in Taehwadong. It’s pinned on the Interactive Map under “Medical”. The Dong Gang Hospital Funeral Center is located in the new building, at the southern end of the facility, near the river. There’s an entrance in the parking lot with the words 장례식장.