It was a day to remember the far-reaching impact of a prominent community member whose life tragically ended earlier this month
Jeremy McGoran, a former radio personality and supporter of mental health awareness, died by suicide on June 9. A memorial service was held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre for McGoran on Monday.
“The best that you can do is take care of yourself. Jeremy would not want this for you, he had so much care for other people who were struggling like him, and so much love,” said his widow Mare McHale in a speech on stage. “Take care of yourself. This is not OK. And I feel a real responsibility to say that to you.”
McHale also spoke in a pre-recorded, unscripted video.
“He was the first one who ever thought I was funny,” she said. “He was the first person, or one of the first who I was authentically myself around. I never had to mince words around him. We talked about everything. I never had to pretend to be anything; I never had to put on a front with him.
“And he thought I was funny, he thought I was beautiful, and he was just so encouraging and so respectful.”
McHale recalled meeting McGoran at a Prince George radio station, where he was an afternoon show host and she was a reporter, and later on a news anchor.
“Right away, Jeremy stood out to me. His excitement and passion and loud voice, which you know, you just couldn’t not hear,” McHale said. “Something that struck me right away was the passion that he had for radio, music, sports, but for his career.”
McHale said the two “quickly fell in love,” but she said one of the most remarkable things was him leaving his post as an afternoon show DJ to live with her in Penticton after she felt homesick. McGoran found a full-time job doing afternoons on EZ Rock AM 800 after doing a year on Sunday mornings filling in. He quickly became an integral part of the community.
“Whether it was cheering for the (Penticton) Vees, or emceeing countless events, championing so many causes and just really building a following on EZ Rock,” she said.
Along with McHale’s, dozens of the couple’s followers on social media, along with friends and family members, sent in videos talking about McGoran.
“He definitely impacted my life with his courageousness and bravery of speaking up about mental health issues,” said one woman who said she had never met him, but got to know the family through McHale’s YouTube channel. “Also, just in general, being such a great person and being able to be brave in times of difficulty, to be brave and make changes in your life.”
That also included submissions from across B.C., as far east as Chicago even across the Pacific Ocean in Japan.
The community rallied to celebrate his legacy on Monday and raised over $7,200 for his family through a silent auction, a raffle draw, food sales donated by Tim Hortons, Tickleberrys and a barbecue.
“It’s just amazing to see how many people have turned up and are smiling and excited to be here,” said organizer Amanda Lysohirka, who added that the group had to restock on burgers and buns after running out of the more than 300 they had on hand.
The event was an intersection of two of McGoran’s passions — sports and mental health awareness. The event was put on by his slopitch team, who wore green ribbons for mental health, and included a table of mental health resources.
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