Mike LaRoucque, a man I liked very much, one I considered a good friend, but a friend with whom I didn’t spend the time I would have liked; Mike passed on Sunday. Sad, sad news that I just received this past hour. The only information I received was that Mike was diagnosed only 10 days before his death with cancer (lungs, bone, colon). I am stunned and sad tonight.
Mike’s son, Joey, played football at Oregon State a few years back. That is how our paths crossed. Mike and his wife, Lynn came to our tailgater, Hog n Bonz, and through that beginning a friendship developed that lasted beyond Joey’s years playing for the Beavers.
Joey, and his sister Jackie are credits to their parents. Joey is open, down to earth, enthusiastic and a joy to be around. A good looking young man, too. I enjoyed the times we visited, both during and after his football career. Jackie is a delightful young lady, pretty, vivacious and fun. I’ve spent less time around Jackie, but have enjoyed the moments.
Mike was bigger than life. He commanded a room, or a tailgater, simply by the force of his personality. People were drawn to his bluff exterior and honest conversation. I can see him now, standing beside me at the tailgater, turning his head slightly towards me and speaking out of the corner of his mouth, in that gravelly rumble of his.
I am grieved for Lynn, Mike’s lady. She is bubbly and friendly and cute and cuddly – and she seemed a perfect match for her “Rocky”.
The last time I saw Mike was just before my namesake nephew, Gyles’ wedding. He and Stacey were married not far from Mike and Lynn’s home in southern California – so I took advantage of the opportunity to see two of my favorite people. What a beautiful evening. We went to a wonderful restaurant by a small lake, and dined outside, beside the lake. The evening was warm and pleasant. Mike and Lynn were well known there, and we received the best attention from the staff. Joey and his lady came by to visit for a few minutes on their way to a show at the Hollywood Bowl. That evening with Mike and Lynn is a highlight of the past year, and will remain a favorite memory of mine.
Mike, you were a good man, a man’s man (I know of nobody who fits that description better than Mike). I enjoyed your company and friendship immensely. May God’s face shine upon you now. May God’s love and abundant mercy comfort your Lynn and Joey and Jackie in this time of loss and sorrow.
I will miss you very much.