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Very sad news ...

Nova Scotia, Canada
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Very sad news ...

It is with the overwhelming sorrow that I have learned that our dear friend “mardi” passed away on Friday after suffering several strokes.

Mardi was an incredible presence on the Trip Advisor Cuba forum. He shared his experience and expertise generously. Always ready to answer questions with patience, he was well respected for his sense of fairness.

Mardi’s generosity was matched by his sense of humour! How many posts did he sign “Joe King”. His ability to diffuse hot threads was well appreciated. Mardi's kindnesses were shared widely with his friends – playing on a pick-up baseball team, helping with renovations, and hanging out at his local pub.

Mardi leaves behind three children, who he had spoken of on many threads about travelling with them in Cuba. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday in Whitby, Ontario. In keeping with TA Guidelines, I will not divulge mardi’s personal identity; if anyone wants to send an expression of condolences to his family, please pm me.

This is truly sad news to share to our TA “family”, of which mardi was such a large part. May "Bro" rest in peace.

Old Havana
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Mont Tremblant...
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for Cayo Largo
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81. Re: Very sad news ...

The sheer number of kind, touching replies to Mad's tribute shows how truly appreciated Mardi was on this forum.

My deepest condolences to his family and to all his friends, and especially to his children...

Nova Scotia, Canada
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82. Re: Very sad news ...

Vetran poster macdon sent this to me by e-mail and asked me to post it on her behalf:

Very sad news.......when I first learned of Mardi's passing, I was stunned. In my eyes, Mardi was full of life and nothing would ever stop him. He had this wonderful personality and I never thought I would be attending his memorial service tomorrow.

I did have the pleasure of meeting Mardi about six years ago. We went to a Blue Jays/Yankees game at the Skydome. We laughed non stop and drank lots of beer and talked non stop about our trips to Cuba. He loved Varadero whereas I loved the Holguin area but we always had that common love for Cuba.

I remember one late Monday night over a year ago, Madrugada and I were watching TA at the same time and we were watching what Mardi was saying. We knew that night, that his privileges on TA would be suspended....he was just in one of those moods...having fun and yes a couple of days later, he was temporarily suspended. We think he had too many beers but at least he was happy. He loved trip advisor and even after a couple of beers, he was still able to log into the computer and provide helpful information. I remember those days when he prompted me with numerous references to the purple speedo lifeguard. How can we ever forget those days?

On a personal basis, I did have the pleasure of spending many hours in the many pubs of Whitby especially during this past year. Mardi definitely knew how to live. He lived life to its fullest. I remember he would always pull out his phone and show me pictures of his three children. He was such a proud daddy and loved his children and family very much. He was always helping someone, doing a little match making and/or giving a lot of helpful information.

This Cuba forum has definitely changed over the years but somehow he was able to continue responding in his very polite manner. I don't know how he did it. Mardi usually kept his cool. I on the other hand, closed my account about four months ago because I needed that break. I will be coming back as "macdon" once I get reinstated and perhaps Mardi can continue to enjoy our on line bantering once again wherever he may be.

Mardi was a class act and I will miss him very much.

RIP Mardi..

Toronto, Canada
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83. Re: Very sad news ...

I am still in shock and sad about this news. Everyone has spoken volumes about what kind of a person he was...so kind and generous. He reached out to so many people.

We didn't live far from where he lived and often met up with him for a drink and a chat. He was truly as kind in person as he was in his posts. He loved music and would dance to anything. Once he met us in our town just north of where he lived to hear a Cuban band and he must have danced to every single song. He even dragged the owner of the restaurant enthusiastically up to dance! He had a permanent smile. So welcoming!

I am positive that he is somewhere above Cuba listening to music right now and dancing in the sun above a clear blue Varadero beach.

He will be missed so much.

His family will be so touched to hear your thoughts about him in these posts:)

Calgary, Canada
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84. Re: Very sad news ...

When I first heard the news, I was too much in shock to really say much of anything. But today, I have spent some time reflecting on some of the things that Mardi wrote, and some of the things we discussed.

When I first joined the forum, I was hesitant to comment much, as inexperienced as I was in terms of knowing about Cuba. But Mardi was one of the people who replied to me and made me believe that what I had to say might be worthwhile.

Over the years, we had discussions about beer and rum and about what we both liked about Varadero. For a while, we had some fun with talking like pirates. We discussed water and food, and many other things under the sun.

We found through many of our discussions that we also had some common interests outside of our interests in Cuba. I never had the opportunity to meet Mardi, but I had hoped that, since we both liked the same part of Cuba, that one day we might run into each other. Sadly, that was not to be.

Though I have always stayed at a resort, it was Mardi's stories about things to do in town (Varadero) that I enjoyed most. The times I have gone into the town, I have enjoyed seeing some of the places that Mardi may have sat and had a drink with his friends. Next trip, I will for sure raise a glass in Mardi's honour.

Rest in peace, my friend. Perhaps we will yet meet in another life, on the great beach in the sky, or wherever it is we are destined to go when this life is done with us.


Mississauga, Canada
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85. Re: Very sad news ...

There are no words to properly convey my thoughts and feelings about such a class act as Mardi !

R.I.P. Mardi


Newton Aycliffe...
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for Cuba, Rafael Freyre, Guardalavaca, Holguin
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86. Re: Very sad news ...

Thanks adanac for posting those kind words. I would say that out of everyone who posts on here you knew him better than anyone. I remember when we met at the Blau we talked about him and Macdon was there as well that night. I do so wish that I could have met him.

Also thanks Madrugada54 for posting that lovely tribute from Macdon. I know, too, how much she will miss him, as we all will.

A truly fine gentleman. Mardi.


Hamilton Ontario
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87. Re: Very sad news ...

Such sad news. I had to stop reading on page 4 to stop the tears.

I have not been on the Cuba forums much lately as we went to PC this year but Mardi and I would PM each other frequently.....I will miss him.

Thank you Mad for your touching tribute and Cuba Jack for making me smile through my tears.

Happy Friday Mardi...xxoo Deb

Québec, Canada
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88. Re: Very sad news ...

Maybe some of you remember me, Loulou......I use to be an active member here. I stopped posting for many different and personal reasons. I met Mardi here, almost 6 years ago.....And I wrote to Mardi last week, asking him info and he never replied and Mardi was always good at replying...As I am writing this, I have tears in my eyes. Mardi became a very good friend to me. We met in Cuba a couple of times, I had family in Cuba and he really enjoyed spending time with them. Mardi was always there for me, he listened to me so many times and encouraged me to move on. He never complained much. He enjoyed life and enjoyed people.............I am so sad for his children........he loved them so much and he was such a proud father. He use to tell me everything about them. I have no words to explain how I am feeling at the moment. But I can tell you, that I had hard times in the past few years and it has been difficult, but life goes on and we must cherish the good times, always.....I will miss you Mardi

Nova Scotia
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89. Re: Very sad news ...

Very sad news...I didn't have the opportunity to meet him, but always enjoyed his posts.

His helpful advice and humorous posts will be missed by many.

My condolences to his family and the many T.A. regulars who have interacted with Mardi for many more years than I.....

I will miss his presence....

Victoria BC
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90. Re: Very sad news ...

I just logged on and found this thread...to say I'm shocked and saddened is an understatement.

The Cuba travelling community has suffered a huge loss. I think Mardi taught each and every one of us something, whether it was about Cuba or Varadero or how to use humor to defuse situations or life in general.

A light has gone out in our world...you will be missed Mardi.

My heart goes out to his family and all those who knew him well, but most especially to his children.

This poem was given to me when I lost my mum far too early, it brings tears to my eyes but also comfort.


And if I go,

while you're still here...

Know that I live on,

vibrating to a different measure

--behind a thin veil you cannot see through.

You will not see me,

so you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar together again,

--both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to its fullest.

And when you need me,

Just whisper my name in your heart,

...I will be there.

Colleen Hitchcock

Edited: 07 June 2011, 00:59