Inside the artistic, inviting, and warmly decorated house of Allan and Robin O’Connor in Orleans, hundreds of friends trickled in Saturday to celebrate Simon Hubbard’s zeal for life.
“Anytime people were getting together and Simon showed up, people had a little more fun,” said Steve Lafond, who’s known Hubbard for more than 30 years.
Hubbard, 43, was found dead outside his New Edinburgh home around 1:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
He was bleeding and looking for help outside of his basement apartment at 190 Stanley Ave.
A neighbour saw him and called 911.
Paramedics arrived and pronounced Hubbard dead at the scene.
Jennifer Bird, 26, is charged with second-degree murder. She’ll next appear in court on Jan. 21.
Lafond said there’s no formal funeral service for Hubbard — who was part of a group of around two dozen tight-knit friends who are more like family.
“We went to school together, lived together, hung around together for a long time,” said Lafond.
Hubbard worked as a chef at a cafeteria in a downtown government building and a large memory card made out of yellow construction paper was crafted for Hubbard by kids from a daycare who saw him regularly in the cafeteria.
The front of it reads, “To our friend Simon.”
Lafond said Hubbard’s coworkers held a memorial during the week and donated food from the cafeteria for Saturday’s gathering.
When he wasn’t in the kitchen, Hubbard was strumming the bass guitar.
He loved music and regularly performed at Bluesfest.
Pat Rapley met Hubbard in high school. That’s where they learned to play the guitar together.
“He was always upbeat — upbeat with a smile on his face,” Rapley said.
The pair enjoyed seeing guitar player David Wilcox perform.
“We’ve seen him all over Canada. It was one of our things we did together,” Rapley said, eyes filling with tears.
Playing the guitar and watching a slideshow with photos of Hubbard, friends mourned, but also laughed.
“We’re going to do it in a way that Simon would want us to do it,” said buddy Will Massaad.
Lafond described Hubbard as a hilarious guy, one of the funniest people he’s ever met.
“I think everybody who knew him is going to remember him the same way: as a very kind, generous, fun-loving person,” he said, wearing Hubbard’s vintage Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens jersey.
Hubbard gave it to Lafond when he became a Senators fan about 10 years ago.