Humber newsroom mourns loss of fellow journalist

by | Dec 4, 2015 | News

Nick Westoll
Senior Reporter

For friends of Connor Rae, it was his passion for music that they will remember most.

“It was the music that brought us together,” Elizabeth McFarlane, a friend and co-worker, told Humber News.

Although Rae loved heavy metal and McFarlane admired the Beatles, his affection for music sparked many conversations between the pair.

“I went to the Paul McCartney concert and he couldn’t be happier for me, you know, asking me all the details and everything afterwards,” McFarlane said. “In between, we met on a musical level.”

Rae also wrote extensively about rock and heavy metal music.

Rae, a 21-year-old Brampton resident who was attending Humber College as a journalism diploma student, died in the early morning  of Nov. 26 after being struck by a dump truck near Steeles Avenue East and Kennedy Road South in Brampton.

Peel Regional Police said the vehicle left the scene after the collision.

Officers arrested a 61-year-old man in Markham Wednesday afternoon. The accused has been charged with failure to remain at the scene of an accident causing death.

McFarlane worked with Rae at the Home Depot located minutes away from where Rae was struck. She started her shift at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday and heard about the collision from customers, but she didn’t know the details.

It wasn’t until she logged into Facebook around 2 a.m. Friday that she learned Rae died as a result of the collision.

“I was kind of distraught [Friday] morning at work,” McFarlane said. “My friend is gone from this world and I just wanted to talk about him.”

She said Rae’s co-workers broke down in the work lunchroom on Friday, some of whom joined with friends on social media to express their grief and pay tribute to Rae.

“You were wise beyond your years and it was such a great pleasure to work with you,” Peggy Bishop-Cicconetti wrote on a Facebook memorial page entitled Connor Rae a metal angel. “I am thankful that we had one last chance to say goodbye.”

Shannon MacDonald, a fellow journalism student at Humber, met Rae in class and said he created friendships easily.

“Connor was never the kind of guy to put on airs,” MacDonald said. “He was always the same no matter where he was. He was always the same lovable, quirky guy that just wanted to have a good time, make friends and tell jokes.”

MacDonald also spoke about Rae’s love of music.

“Connor was probably the biggest ‘metal head’ I’ve ever met,” MacDonald said. “It didn’t matter what kind of music you listened to, as long as you listened for music, he had a passion to listen to you. It was always really cool.”

Both MacDonald and McFarlane want people to remember Rae in a positive way.

“He wouldn’t want you to be sad. He would want you to remember the good times,” MacDonald said.

“Hold on to those memories. Hold on to that smile,” McFarlane added. “He had the most beautiful smile, the most beautiful eyes – especially when he talked about music, they just lit up.”