Windsor

Young father, passionate culinary student dies of apparent drug overdose

As Windsor continues to grapple with a drug crisis, one of the latest suspected overdose deaths is a 30-year-old father who was training to become a professional chef.

Mike Caron had one semester left before graduating the culinary college program

Mike Caron was 30 when he died over the past weekend, leaving behind his son and partner who had kids of her own. (Submitted by family)

As Windsor continues to wrestle with a drug crisis, family and friends are grappling with the sudden death of 30-year-old Mike Caron, who's leaving behind a young son and was training to become a professional chef.

"Mike had an amazing talent as a chef and a bright future ahead of him," said aunt Tammy Jakobszen. "I miss his smile and his laugh, he was always a joker."

Caron died in his room over the weekend of an apparent drug overdose. He battled addiction and mental health issues in the past. Friends said he appeared to have his life back on track, with a few bumps along the way.

"Mike was a very proud father to his beautiful son," said Jakobszen.

He's also leaving behind his partner, who had children of her own.

Close to graduating

He had a passion for food and was getting ready to graduate St. Clair College's Culinary Management Program next year. He had just one semester left.

"No matter what was going on in his life he was always there," said Austin Dowling, a culinary student. "Mike just brought this positive energy into the room every time."

Michelle Morand, manager of Ted Farron's Gourmet Butcher Shop, always enjoyed working with Mike Caron. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Some of his former coworkers at Ted Farron's Gourmet Butcher Shop are remembering him as a "joker" who always made them laugh, someone who was humble, wise and generous.

"We always had laughs when he was here," said manager Michelle Morand.

One moment she'll never forget is when her husband Ted taught Caron how to make sausages at the shop.

"He was just so excited to learn that. Every time he'd make it, he would come in the office and say 'come and look at the sausage," said Morand.

Amber Alves, who worked with Caron at the butcher shop, said he was "the type of person that would give you his last $5 he had to make sure you got home ok on the bus."

Mike Caron was excited to be given opportunities while he worked at Ted Farron's Gourmet Butcher Shop. (Submitted by Amber Alves)

Death prompts friend to take action

His death was also the tipping point for friend Brandon Bailey. He has published his personal cell phone on social media with hopes of encouraging those with addiction issues to "never use alone."

Bailey is prepared to drive anywhere in the city to be with someone who may be using illegal drugs.

"I carry naloxone on me all the time," said Bailey. "I will administer naloxone, call 911, do rescue breathing until EMS shows up."

"He was a close friend," said Bailey.

About the Author

Jason Viau is a video journalist, TV host and radio newsreader at CBC Windsor. He was born in North Bay, but has lived in Windsor for most of his life. Since graduating from St. Clair College, he's worked in print, TV and radio. Email him at jason.viau@cbc.ca