THE END

DANNY LORENZO MCDONALD 1968-2007

He always wanted to be like his brother, and in many ways he was

MARTIN PATRIQUIN May 21 2007
THE END

DANNY LORENZO MCDONALD 1968-2007

He always wanted to be like his brother, and in many ways he was

MARTIN PATRIQUIN May 21 2007

DANNY LORENZO MCDONALD 1968-2007

He always wanted to be like his brother, and in many ways he was

THE END

Danny Lorenzo McDonald was born right around suppertime on Sept. 2, 1968, in Sudbury, Ont., to Mariette McDonald-Aspirot and Angelo McDonald. He was an unexpected and final addition to the family, which

already included his sister Marlene and brothers Rick and Gilles. When Dan was four, he rode his tricycle five kilometres up Main Street in nearby Chelmsford to visit his father at work at the

Ontario liquor board. As a teenager, Dan washed cars, pumped gas and sold ice cream to make money. Once, he convinced Marlene to lend him her credit card to buy a radio. He paid her back promptly. At 18, Dan became his parents’ landlord when he bought the apartment building where they resided (he had long been saving for a down payment). He lived for football and baseball, and went to college to be an embalmer.

A late growth spurt meant Dan was the only six-foot-six, 250lb. mortician in Sudbury.

Dan idolized Rick, a police officer and a father figure to his siblings. It wasn’t long before Dan gave up the funeral business to work at the Sudbury jail as a corrections officer. He hoped this would lead to an eventual spot next to his brother on the Sudbury police force.

But a former inmate attacked him at a bar in 1988 and injured Dan’s foot, hurting his chances of joining the police force, so Dan stayed on at the jail.

In July 1999, Rick, who had just fallen in love again after a difficult divorce, was laying

a spike belt across the highway outside of Sudbury to stop a stolen minivan. Instead, the vehicle struck him and killed him instantly. Devastated, the family petitioned governments to make it a felony to evade police during a vehicle chase. The Rick McDonald Act became federal law.

Still grieving, Dan wanted a fitting and lasting tribute to his brother, and found it in Azilda Field, the rundown baseball diamond where his father and brothers played growing up. In 2000, Dan established the annual Rick McDonald baseball tournament, which attracted police squad teams from around Ontario. Dan refurbished Azilda

with new fencing, bleachers, grass and signage, and petitioned to have the field renamed after his deceased brother. Some of the money went toward maintaining the field; the rest Dan used to buy bicycles for underprivileged kids. He tattooed “6ll6”—Rick’s badge number—on his right bicep in inch-high numbers.

Still, his brother’s death and the breakdown of his own marriage (he and his wife had two children, Chad and Chelsea) remained nag-

ging constants in his life. What a surprise, then, when he met Sandra Rayner, a hairdresser from nearby Azilda, through a mutual friend in 2004. “I’m not sure if I’m ready to do this again,” he said to Marlene one day. “Just go for coffee,” was her reply. “It’s not like you have to go for dinner.” It quickly went beyond dinner, and the pair planned to spend the rest of their lives together.

At work, Dan was promoted to management at the jail, and was soon the scheduling officer for about 90 jail staff. It was a difficult job, because everybody wanted everything from him. “You can’t be the answer to everyone’s problems,” his boss, Enzo Pedron, told Dan more than once. Still, he tried.

Dan recently set to work on building a 2,500-sq.-foot house for Sandra and the children. It was so big his neighbour Mike Labelle dubbed it “the WalMart mansion.” He also bought a Chevy Avalanche Z-71, a big truck to go with his big house. “I feel safe in it,” Dan said after the purchase.

One afternoon in late April,

Dan and Sandra got into the Avalanche to drive to a triplex building he owned. He needed to fix a tenant’s door. Dan promised Sandra that he wouldn’t take very long, and that they would take their children to the Sudbury Wolves hockey game right after he was finished. “You know, Danny, whenever you go somewhere you always take longer than you say,” Sandra said when they reached the end of the driveway. He laughed, and brought her back to the house. Then he drove off toward the highway outside of Sudbury. A Pontiac Sunbird swerved into his lane. On April 23, Danny Lorenzo McDonald, 38,

died in the collision.

MARTIN PATRIQUIN