Honouring Pierre Lalonde

TV crews and esteemed figures from Quebec’s entertainment industry, including Michel Louvain and Michèle Richard, united with devoted fans at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on June 27. Together, they bid a final farewell to the legendary Pierre Lalonde, a cherished singer and television personality. Just a week earlier, Pierre Lalonde, aged 75, peacefully passed away at his home in Hudson, surrounded by his loving family.

Under the solemn guidance of Father Roland Demers, an emotional funeral service unfolded. The poignant atmosphere resonated with music, ranging from Caccini’s soul-stirring “Ave Maria” to the timeless intermezzo of Cavalleria Rusticana and the melodic charm of “Les feuilles mortes” (Autumn Leaves). In the 1960s, Pierre Lalonde captivated Quebec as a heartthrob singer, combining matinee-idol looks, contemporary hit songs, and an irresistible charm that endeared him to audiences. His star power extended far beyond his home province as he joined the ranks of renowned artists whose influence transcended borders.

Mireille Lemelin, a Hudsonite, shared her recollections outside the church on a sweltering summer day, fitting for a singer who was synonymous with feel-good summer hits like “C’est le temps des vacances” (It’s Vacation Time). “I had the privilege of interviewing Pierre several times during his superstar career, on my radio programs at CKAC and CFGL-FM. He was an icon for the youngsters and teenagers of the 60s. Whenever he stepped on stage, the crowd erupted into hysteria, reminiscent of the adoration for Sinatra in the U.S. However, the comparison ended there,” Lemelin reflected.

Continuing, she added, “Pierre was gentle, courteous, and remarkably humble, despite his immense popularity. What will forever remain in our hearts are his great sense of humor, his infectious smile, and his unwavering zest for life. An artist’s purpose is to bring happiness, and Pierre Lalonde fulfilled that role splendidly. He has left an indelible mark on our artistic world.”

Céline Pilon, a former reporter for Your Local Journal and another Hudsonite, fondly looked back on her 15-year friendship with Pierre Lalonde. She realized the privilege of knowing the man behind the legend. “Pierre was always generous, thoughtful, humble, and grateful. His incredible sense of humor made you feel special, and he bestowed upon me the greatest gift a friend can give: his trust,” Pilon shared.

Pilon cherished the personal thoughts and confidences Pierre shared with her over the years, knowing that they would remain confidential. She also recounted their unique ritual when bidding farewell. “As I would leave, he would say, ‘Be good!’ and I would reply, ‘Na-ha’ or ‘Not a chance,’ and we would both chuckle. I could go on forever, reminiscing about countless precious moments spent with Pierre and his wife, Clare. All I can think of, as we bid farewell to Pierre this week, is that I will miss him. We will all miss him.”

Fluently bilingual, Pierre Lalonde once hosted rival television shows simultaneously in Montreal and New York under the name Peter Martin. His magnetic presence garnered him a devoted fan base on both sides of the border. Hosting the immensely popular TV show, “Jeunesse d’aujourd’hui,” he played a pivotal role in promoting Quebec-made music.

Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, he remained a prominent figure on television, even emceeing the Telethon of Stars on CTV. During his later years in Hudson, Pierre chose to step away from the limelight, prioritizing cherished moments with his family, indulging in golf, and taking leisurely walks with his golden retrievers.

At the funeral service, Pierre Lalonde’s wife, Clare Lewis, and their four children — Alexandra, Andrea, Jean-Pierre, and Marie-Clare — paid heartfelt tributes to their beloved father. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requested donations to be made to Parkinson Quebec at parkinsonquebec.ca.

Pierre Lalonde’s legacy as a legendary singer and TV personality will forever resonate in the hearts of those who adored his talent, wit, and humble nature. As we gather to commemorate his life, let us celebrate the indelible mark he left on Quebec’s entertainment landscape and honour the joy he brought to countless lives through his music.