RIP Kevin Grace: Funeral Details


Please see below for Kevin’s funeral details. Or click here for the online obituary and guest book.

I didn’t know Kevin Grace very well. There are hundreds, probably thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of people who knew Kevin better than I did. Mind you, we were on a first-name basis, but, given his profession, many people can lay claim to that. Yet his recent passing has affected me to an exaggerated extent. Kevin was a much-loved Montreal bartender who, ironically, after attending the funeral of a fellow hospitality staff member, was involved in a terrible bicycle accident. 

Details are sketchy given Kevin was the only person involved, but it seems, with heavy rain making taxis and Ubers scarce, he opted to rent a Bixi – one of Montreal’s summertime rent-a-bikes – to get home. Sadly, he somehow lost control of the bike; perhaps one of Montreal’s infamous potholes played a sinister role. The result was emergency brain surgery, followed by two weeks in a medically induced coma, and ultimately the decision, no doubt on doctors’ recommendations, to remove life support and allow Kevin to pass peacefully.

Sadly, he somehow lost control of the bike; perhaps one of Montreal’s infamous potholes played a sinister role.

Why, as a person with a passing acquaintance with him, has Kevin’s death left such a mark on me? He represented a bygone era in Montreal. One that, like Kevin, I grew up with. He cut his barroom teeth at a pub on Peel Street in Montreal called The Hunter’s Horn. Back in the day when English place names were not seen as threats to the French language in Quebec. “The Horn” grew out of EXPO67, Montreal’s World’s Fair that represented a time when many of us, now of a certain age, thought anything was possible. The Grace family ran the Horn for many years, giving Kevin the bona fides to work in any Montreal bar, which he did, ending up at McKibbin’s on Bishop. When I sat at Kevin’s bar, there was a sense of nostalgia, for a better time. 

When I sat at Kevin’s bar, there was a sense of nostalgia, for a better time. 

Over the years I have had the pleasure of knowing many bartenders, one or two were family friends, while others became pals of mine. Not to worry, I have enough Irish blood coursing through my veins to know better than to mention them by name in what could be construed as a eulogy. 

No doubt other cities make a similar claim. But I believe Montreal bartenders are a special breed; then again I’ve only ever lived here. They play a key role in the maintenance of a downtown community, something many other cities abandoned long ago for suburban life and rolled-up downtown sidewalks after 5:00 PM. It takes a special skill set to balance the multitude of characters and, of course, languages, that the average bartender encounters on a daily basis in Montreal. Kevin had that ability – in spades. Sadly Kevin will never be an elderly man, yet he was an ‘old-time’ Montreal bartender. He’d earned his stripes and then some.

Sadly Kevin will never be an elderly man, yet he was an ‘old time’ Montreal bartender. He’d earned his stripes and then some.

There are some wonderful lyrics in the Irish traditional song The Parting Glass that come to mind:

So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Allow me to express my sincere condolences to his family. 

Good night and joy be to you, Kevin.

(Photo courtesy of Woodys, Bishop St & Other Great Montreal Moments Facebook Group.)

Visitation

Kane and Fetterly,

5301 boul. Decarie, Montreal, Qc H3W3C4

Monday, October 10, 2022, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Funeral Service

St. Patrick’s Basilica,

460 boul Rene-Levesque West, Montreal, Qc H2Z 1A7

Tuesday, October 11, 2022, at 2:00 pm

Due to construction in the area, it is strongly suggested to use public transportation, or walk if possible.

In lieu of flowers, please contribute in Kevin’s name to a charity of your choice or make a donation to the MUHC Trauma Centre – the CODE LIFE Campaign

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