Dean Jernigan

Toronto, d. Dec.1997


Dean was a cyclist first and a courier second. He was a messenger for more then twelve years, but he was a cyclist long before he took up the calling. He was a well-known face on the road and he always seemed to be in a friendly mood whenever anyone might come across him. Sometime last week, which would be the first week in December, Dean had taken time off work. He thought he was suffering a bout of the flu. On Thursday Dec 4 he collapsed in Tracy, his partner's, arms. He was quickly rushed to the hospital

After many tests and such things the Doctors found, and these are Dean's words, "A pocket of poison on the frontal lobe of my brain." It would appear that these pockets of poison can be quite common. Something you can get as easily as picking your nose with a dirty finger.

He was operated on Saturday. They drilled a hole in his head and removed what was ailing him. Everything seemed to go well and as Dean himself said, "They took whatever was inside my head, whatever was making me sick and they got it out."

That was Monday. When I saw him that afternoon he looked like hell. What do you expect you're going to look like after undergoing brain surgery? But he was conscious and coherent. I left thinking that the worst was over. It couldn't have been the furthest thing from the truth. Sometime around 3 a.m. Dean suffered a stroke. At 7 a.m. his brain died and then an hour later his body failed. He was thirty-seven years old. The news of his passing shattered the courier community. No one could believe that death could come and taken one of our own so quickly. Forlorn couriers would meet on street corners and exchange the news of his passing. That night at the Cafe with No Name, friends gathered for a quickly organized wake. The family had decided to ship the body immediately to the West coast for burial. There would be no viewing, no funeral. Many beers were hoisted in his honour and then the bar fell quiet. One after another of Dean's friends stood and said their last good-byes.

"Dean was a good friend,".... "The first thing you would hear out of him was Hey Bro, how are you, or Hey Bro have a pint...."

"He use to know where the keys were to my place, and he would come in to my apartment first thing in the morning, flicking on lights and demanding to know where the tea was, then he would sit down and watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles....."

"He use to be the weatherman for us when we lived on Dupont west. Dean had to ride down from 401 and Jane and if he came in the front door with an inch of snow on his cap, you knew it was going to be a bad day...."

"I remember smoking my first joint with Dean in the alley way beside 144 Front West........"

"Dean saved me so much hassle when I was going to Ireland. He came to me and gave me all this advice about touring with a bike because he had already gone across Europe....."

"He hated cars...."

Some recounted their first meeting with him, others spoke of his kindness. One thing was clear, the only thing he loved as much as his partner Tracy, was his love of bikes, or for a good party. The eulogies finished with a mighty cheer and a raising of the glass to a fallen friend and comrade. He will be missed by all.

Derek Chadbourne,
of Hideouswhitenoise