Those of us in the mystery community know of Michael Whitehead as Louise Penny's husband, and the role model for her police inspector, Armand Gamache. But, in Canada, he's remembered for other reasons as well. Here's the link to the announcement on CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/michael-whitehead-obit-1.3769676
Here's how Louise announced his death. "Michael passed away last night, at home, at peace, with love. "It's not so much that his heart stopped, as that he'd finally given it all away." Surprised by joy...."
And, here's the way I will remember Michael.
I was lucky enough to have dinner with Louise and Michael and another friend, Patti Cheney Lang. Check out the bow tie in the picture. Louise and Michael said he wore funny ties when he was Director of Hematology at Montreal Children's Hospital. The children, often scared, needed someone kind and gentle, with a smile and a funny tie. Louise once told me Michael wore bow ties every day, with balloons, or teddy bears or Mickey Mouse. He dealt with children with cancer, and when he leaned over the children they'd see his ties. Michael knew what a gift life is, and Gamache understands that.
We ran a little late getting to the Poisoned Pen after dinner, because we had such a nice time. Michael and I sat in a bench at the back of the store. And, he smiled with pride while Louise talked.
I saw Michael only one other time with Louise, in Monterey at Left Coast Crime several years ago. He was already in the early stages of dementia, but she reminded him who I was. I hugged him, and we talked about the trip he had made that day. The joy was still in his eyes.
When Louise would say Gamache was based on Michael, he would respond, "Remember, Louise writes fiction."
I don't think so. I think she writes about a kind, gentle man who loves his wife. I think she writes about Michael Whitehead. Rest in peace, Michael.