Passings: York student Adam MacDonald was ‘a true Renaissance man’

close up view of Adam McDonald

York University humanities student Adam MacDonald was “a true Renaissance man,” says his father Derrill MacDonald. “He didn’t care what other people thought of him.” He did things his way, and in his own time. “He was his own man.”

Mr. MacDonald died tragically on Monday, March 5, following a car accident. He was 26. The flag will be lowered from 9am Tuesday, March 20 until 1pm Wednesday, March 21 in his memory.

Adam MacDonald Mr. MacDonald had a wide range of interests and passions. A lover of animals, nature, politics and music, Mr. MacDonald had only recently decided on a career path that both excited and interested him. From humanities, he planned to switch into the Computer Science Program at York to pursue work in the field of Internet security with either the RCMP or the federal government. He had already graduated on the dean’s honour list from Georgian College, where he first became hooked on computers.

It took him a while to figure out what he wanted to do, but then he had it all worked out, says his father. He would always meticulously research everything first. His eclectic interests had him reading Hunter S. Thompson one moment and science fiction fantasy the next. “He knew everything about everything. From the time he was little, he read everything,” says his father. “And he would talk to anybody, young, old, it didn’t matter.” His connection to his brother, Mark, one year older, was one of the strongest and they were very close – best friends as well as brothers.

He reveled in the chance to discuss world events and was always boning up on politics and social justice issues. He was a fan of Adam MacDonald documentaries and American director Michael Moore’s films, and would champion the underdog, constantly questioning why and how people were allowed to get away with their corruption. “One of the things he loved about York was the ability to debate with everyone.” His father says he could never win a debate with him in part because he had always thoroughly researched the topic ahead of time and knew everything about it.

One thing was clear – his mind was lightning fast. “He was brilliant. He was always in the top percentile for his age.” With that quick mind, though, came the ability for boredom, which several of his elementary school teachers realized. “I used to spend a lot of time in schools with him because he gave some of the teachers a hard time,” remembers his father. “For other teachers, though, he was their favourite and best student.” If he loved the subject, he excelled, and if not, well, as his father says, he was always pulling pranks and often had a devious look on his face. He had a wicked sense of humour.

Mr. MacDonald was also creative and he channeled much of that creativity into his music. A self-taught musician, he owned two acoustic and two electric guitars, and a host of amplifiers. He loved listening to rock music, but when he picked up his guitar, he usually played ballads. He loved to jam with his friends just for the love of the music, or simply play quietly in his room.

Another passion was the wildlife surrounding the secluded cabin near Edmonton that his mom, Nancy Rosychuk, owns. He loved spending large swaths of time there fishing and enjoying all that nature had to offer

Mr. MacDonald leaves his father, brother, mother and step-mom, Terri McLennan MacDonald. He also leaves his grandmothers Elaine MacDonald and Julia Darville.

A celebration of Mr. MacDonald’s life was held earlier in March at Trinity United Church in Newmarket. Online condolences may be made by visiting the Roadhouse & Rose Funeral Home website.