April 2020 - Portapique Obituaries - 'We will not forget...'


Stevenson, Cst Heidi – 1971-2020

It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce the sudden and tragic loss of our cherished mom, wife and daughter, Heidi Stevenson (Burkholder). Heidi died in the line of duty as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on April 19, 2020.

Born on July 11, 1971, Heidi grew up in Antigonish. Heidi graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Science in 1993. Heidi loved her chosen career. She held many different roles throughout her 23 years as an active member - most notably her time spent representing the RCMP across the continent as part of the Musical Ride. She loved her time working at headquarters as a Drug Recognition expert. Heidi dedicated herself to her role.

In addition to Dean, Connor, Ava and her parents, Heidi leaves behind her father’s partner, Merle Bryant; parents-in-law, Doug and Margaret Stevenson; aunts, Mary (Ken) Willsie, Waterloo, Ont.; Ruth (Tom) Witte, Liberty Center, Ohio, and cousins, Jeffrey, Susan, Lara and Marissa and a large extended family. She was predeceased by her stepfather, Joe Brophy; her grandparents, Clayton and Helen Burkholder and Owen and Margaret Bechtel.

A private family service will be held in the days to come. A proper celebration of Heidi’s life will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Foundation. If you would like to leave a special memory of Heidi or a condolence message to her family please do so by visiting: www.atlanticfuneralhomes.com  (Dartmouth Chapel).


O'Brien, Heather Elizabeth - 1965-2020

It is with great sadness we announce the unexpected passing of Heather Elizabeth O'Brien – 55, Masstown, wife, mother and grandmother on Sunday, April 19, 2020. She was the eldest daughter of the late Harold Murray and Enid (Gass) Lawerence.

Heather is survived by her loving husband of 35 years, Andrew "Teddy" O’Brien; sons, Andrew (Erin) O’Brien, Logan Green; daughters, Kathleen (Jeffrey) Devine, Darcy (Dustin) Dobson, Molly O’Brien (Leonard McLellan), Michaella O’Brien (Shannon Scott); step children, Kelly and Neil O’Brien; sister, Holly (Roy) Sullivan; brothers, David (Flo) Murray, John (Amy) Murray; many special nieces and nephews. She will be forever missed by Isaiah, McKenna, Lincoln, Scarlette, Liam, Wyatt, Rainna, Paisley, Lyle, Penny, Blake and Parker.

Heather was a life-time resident of Masstown. Heather’s next great love was nursing working VON for over 16 years. To say she loved her job is an understatement. She was truly gifted and wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place. Her spirit will live on in her children and grandchildren for many years to come.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Mattatall – Varner Funeral Home, 55 Young Street, Truro. Private messages of condolence may be sent to the family by viewing Heather’s obituary on-line and selecting "Send A Condolence" at: www.mattatallvarnerfh.com

GOULET, Gina Yvonne Marie

On April 19, 2020 Gina, 54, Shubenacadie was abruptly taken from this world by an act of senseless violence. Born in Middleton, she was a daughter of Yvan Goulet, of Brooklyn, and the late Rossalyne (McKee) Goulet. Gina was a vibrant, dynamic woman and a proud mother. She will be remembered for her kindness, generosity and ability to light up a room. Gina conquered cancer in 2016 and again in January 2020. Gina was a denturist of 27 years. Gina will be sadly missed by her beloved daughter, Amelia (David) Butler; father, Yvan; brother, Rick (Dawn) Goulet; sister, Micheline (Joseph) Kerekes; nieces, Lexi Goulet, Brittany Goulet and Kristian Kerekes; nephew, Julian Kerekes; a number of aunts, uncles and extended family. Cremation has taken place under the care of Ettinger Funeral Home, Shubenacadie. A guestbook set up outside of Ettinger Chapel Entrance, 2812 Highway 2, Shubenacadie, Tuesday, April 28th. Gina’s family was not onsite. A Celebration of Gina’s Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society. Tributes, words of comfort and memories of Gina may be shared with the family at: www.ettingerfuneralhome.com

GULENCHYN, Frank & Dawn

GULENCHYN, Frank & Dawn - In loving memory of Dawn and Frank Gulenchyn who were taken from us too soon. Survived by their two sons, Ryan and Jonathan and daughter, Traceena; lovingly remembered by all their brothers and sisters and their families. Nana and Papa to Riley, Nolan, Alyssa, Callie, Ethan, Isabella, Kaylee-Anne, Keagan and Makinlee. At peace with their late granddaughter, Heaven-Lee.

Frank was a loving son to the late Pearl and Peter Gulenchyn.

Dawn was a loving daughter to the late Ralph Patriquin (Helen) and Marion Rusnel (Deane). They will always be together and forever in our hearts. The family would like to thank everyone for the continued support throughout this difficult time.

WEBBER, Joseph Gordon Eric "Joe"

Age 36, of Wyse’s Corner was taken from this world tragically on April 19, 2020 in Shubenacadie. Born in Halifax, he was a son of Thomas Webber, Wyse’s Corner and the late Shirley (Boutilier) Webber. Joe was a loving father, partner, son, brother, uncle and a friend to many. Though family was at the top of the list, he had other passions in life. He loved his family immensely. Besides his father, Joe will be sadly missed by daughters, Emily, Rory and Shirley; partner, Shanda MacLeod; sister and closest friend, Laura; niece, Allie; nephew, Rylee; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins as well as a wide circle of friends. He was predeceased by his mother, Shirley Webber; paternal grandparents, Gordon and Laura Webber; maternal grandparents, Eric and Joyce Boutilier. Cremation has taken place under the care and direction of Ettinger Funeral Home, Shubenacadie. As per Joe’s wishes there will be no formal funeral service. Memorial donations may be made to the gofundme page set up to help the family. Tributes, words of comfort and memories of Joe may be shared with the family at: www.ettingerfuneralhome.com

McCULLY (Kierstead), Lisa Rebecca

Age 49, Portapique. It is with unspeakable grief that we announce the death of Lisa on Saturday, April 18, 2020, due to a senseless act of violence in Portapique. Her adventurous spirit led her to Guatemala in her grade 11 year, where she lived high in the mountains with an indigenous family. Her third year of university was spent in Strasbourg, France for total immersion, and backpacking around Europe with her mother before returning to Canada. Lisa earned a degree in Arts and Languages from Mount Allison. After 10 years out west, she returned east and began teaching in Nova Scotia. She married Stuart McCully and they had two stellar children. Eventually becoming the primary caregiver of the children, Lisa settled in beautiful Portapique. Lisa was predeceased by her beloved brother, Jonathan Kierstead. She leaves behind two precious children; sister, Jenny (Blair Abbass), Halifax; mother, Emily Kierstead (Don Murray), Truro; father, John Kierstead, Quispamsis, N.B.; uncle, David Cosman, Mahone Bay. She was very close to her sister-in-law, Gail, whom we thank for her strength and support through this horrific time. Lisa’s family express their profound appreciation to the members of the R.C.M.P who responded to the horrific situation, for gently protecting the children and also to the anonymous 911 person who stayed on the phone with them for two hours. Arrangements have been entrusted to Mattatall - Varner Funeral Home, 55 Young St., Truro. A private funeral service was held, Sunday, April 26th, Rev. Glenn MacLean officiated. Donations may be made to Debert Elementary School, Truro Youth Choir or West Colchester Minor Hockey Association. Private messages of condolence may be sent to the family by viewing Lisa’s obituary on-line and selecting "Send A Condolence" at: www.mattatallvarnerfh.com

Mcleod, Sean Andrew

Age 44, Wentworth/Springhill. It is with broken hearts that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved father, grandfather, son, brother and friend at his home on the river in Wentworth with the absolute love of his life, Alanna Jenkins, by his side on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Born August 6, 1975, the second son to Dale and Audrey (Kavalak) Mcleod. In March 1997, Sean completed the Correctional Training Program which was just the start of his 23 year career as a correctional officer at Springhill Institution. Sean will be more than missed by us, his daughters, Amielia and Taylor (Logan); granddaughter, Ellie, who was the light of his life; parents, Dale and Audrey; brothers, Scott (Charline), Chris (Susan); nieces, Samantha, Paige, Isabelle and nephew, Alexander; as well as many cousins and Alanna’s entire family. He was predeceased by his grandmother, Edna Kavalak; uncles, Charles, Norman and Tommy as well as his aunt, Judy Courtney (Mcleod). A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider the other families who have been affected by this senseless and tragic act. Donations may be made to the Go Fund Me pages for the other families. Arrangements have been entrusted to Colchester Community Funeral Home, 512 Willow St., Truro. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family by visiting: www.colchestercommunity.com

Jenkins, Alanna Susanne

June 13, 1983 - April 19, 2020, Wentworth/New Glasgow. In our darkest hour, our brightest light has gone out, never to shine again. With an overwhelming sadness and beyond broken hearts, we are left to grieve the loss of our beautiful daughter in a senseless, tragic act on Sunday, April, 19, 2020. Her greatest loves were Sean, family, friends and being stepmom to Sean’s two girls, Taylor and Mia, as well as being Nana Lana to sweet little Ellie! Alanna was a graduate of New Glasgow High School and later St. F.X. University. She worked at Nova Institute for Women as a correctional officer and manager for the last 15 years. Alanna will be missed by: her Nan, Bette Munro, New Glasgow; stepdaughters, Taylor (Logan) and Mia, as well as beautiful granddaughter, Ellie; uncle Wayne Munro (Jill and Henry); aunt Kim "Sis" (David); aunts: Linda (Hugh) Macdonald; Eva "Debbie" Edwards; Gladys Lorimer; Elsie Ryan; Doris (Roger) Dixon; uncle Foster (Dot) Jenkins; uncle Bill (Ingrid) Crandall; numerous cousins; in-laws, Dale and Audrey Mcleod. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date to be determined. Donations in Alanna’s memory can be made to benefit their two daughters, Taylor and Mia, and granddaughter, Ellie, where a trust has been established at: https://www.gofundme.com/ f/sean-amp-alanna or donations to a local children’s charity in her name. Arrangements are under the direction of R.H. Porter Funeral Home, New Glasgow. Condolences may be sent by visiting: www.rhporter.ca We thank everyone who has reached out. To the RCMP, our deepest appreciation for doing your jobs and working relentlessly to find our beautiful girl. Goodbye sweet girl, we love you so much! Dad, Mom and Josh.

Campbell, Margaret Lillian (Hyslop) - November 7, 1954 - April 19, 2020

It is with saddened hearts that the family of Lillian Campbell announces her tragic passing in Wentworth on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Lillian was the beloved wife of Michael Hyslop and cherished mother to Chas Hyslop of Whitehorse, Yukon. She and Michael retired to Nova Scotia from Whitehorse, Yukon in 2014. Lillian was the eldest child of the late Donald and Freda Campbell of Glengarry County, Ont. and later Kelowna, B.C., and the dear daughter-in-law to the late Bob Hyslop of Wentworth, the late Eleanor Hyslop of Toronto, Ont., and dear stepdaughter-in-law to Carol Hyslop of Wentworth. She is survived by her siblings, Leona, Betty (Norman Macleod), Gord (Debbie), Jean (Kevin Matthews) and Brenda (Blake Johnson); sister-in-law, Robyn (John Rood); brothers-in-law, Jon (Laura), Marc (Liliana); nieces and nephews, Alisdair, Katrina, Lindsey (Nabeel), Kyle, Colin, Ciara, Waverly, Gisselle; grandniece, Emery, and grandnephew, Nixon. Sympathy may be expressed, in lieu of flowers, through a donation to the NICU at Foothills Medical Centre or by mailing to 800-11012 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary, AB, T2J 6A5. Funeral arrangements are in the care of Macdiarmid’s Funeral Home and Crematorium, Oxford (902-447-2930). Condolences and memories may be shared with the family by visiting: www.mmcfunerals.com

Beaton, Kristen Nicole "Kris"

Age 33, Onslow Mountain, Colchester Co. It is with great sadness and heavy hearts we announce the tragic passing of our beautiful angel Kristen Nicole Beaton and her unborn, baby Beaton, on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Kristen lived in Onslow Mountain with her husband Nick Beaton and her pride and joy, Daxton Anthony Beaton. Kris was born in North River on March 20, 1987 and is the daughter of Wade Roode, North River, and the late Lisa (Cameron) Roode. Besides her husband Nick and her son Daxton, she is survived by sister, Kayla Roode (Kelsie Newcombe), Truro; brother, Rick (Shannan) Roode, Belmont; Grandparents, Bonnie Roode, North River; Randall and Sybil Cameron, Middleton; brother-in-law, Jacob (Katherine) Beaton; nephews, Cooper and Easton Beaton, Truro; Other mother Bev Beaton, Belmont. Besides her mom Lisa Roode, she was predeceased by her grandfather, Eugene Roode; Grandmother, Joan Cameron; father-in-law, Tony Beaton. Kris enjoyed her work with the VON but she loved her clients like they were family. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Arrangements have been entrusted to Mattatall Varner Funeral Home, 55 Young St., Truro. Donations in memory may be made to her son, Daxton. Private messages of condolence may be sent to the family by viewing Kris’s obituary online and selecting "Send A Condolence" at: www.mattatallvarnerfh.com

Gregory Blair Scott & Jamie Marie (Gratto) Blair

Gregory Scott Blair - Age 45, Portapique, and Jamie Marie (Gratto) Blair - Age 40, Portapique. It is with broken hearts we announce the sudden passing of two of our beloved family members. Father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandparents and friend. Greg was born on April 23, 1974 to Jack and Carolann (Macburnie) Blair. Jamie was born on October 18, 1979 to Kurt and Tina (Lane) Gratto. Greg and Jamie ran GB Gas and Energy together, a family business which included their two older sons. Greg and Jamie loved spending every minute surrounded by family and especially their new granddaughter, Hayden,. Greg and Jamie were so loved by their boys, Tyler (Jade Boudreau) Blair, Craig (Krista) Blair, Alexander Blair and Jack Blair; granddaughter, Hayden Jean Blair; sisters, Kelly (Shawn Rushton) Blair, Rebecca (Cory) Mackay; brothers, Alec (Brittany) Gratto, Jeffrey Gratto; grandmother, Irene (Mccully) Gratto; nieces, Jaime Lee (Devin) Thompson, Michaela Dawn Blair-raymond, Scarlet Gratto, Violet Gratto, Jasmine Gratto; nephews, Zavier Gratto; great nieces, Ava Lee Thompson, Amelia Dawn Thompson; fur grandbabies, Zoe, Molly, Joe, Sawyer and Brock. Greg was predeceased by his grandparents, Aubrey and Helena (Mackenzie) Blair, Jack and Marjorie (Reade) MacBurnie. Jamie was predeceased by her grandparents, Keith and Helen (Baker) Lane, Aubrey Gratto. We ask you consider making a donation to the four brave and strong boys of Greg and Jamie. Arrangements have been entrusted to Colchester Community Funeral Home, 512 Willow St., Truro. Messages of sympathy may be sent to the family by visiting: www.Colchestercommunity.com


TUCK, Aaron Todd - Age 45 years. Born in Halifax. His father, Bruce Tuck (deceased) and mother, Gloria Mae and Angus Rogers (both deceased). OLIVER, Jolene Lori - Age 39 years. Born in Calgary, Alta. and beloved daughter of John and Bonnie Oliver. Jolene was the youngest of three girls. Sister, Crystal and Warren Mendiuk and their children, Josh and Sara. Sister, Tammy Oliver-mccurdie and her husband, Ken Mccurdie and their children, Richard, Justin and Sydney. TUCK, Emily Mae - Age 17 years. Born in Calgary, Alta. Aaron Todd Tuck lived his life devoted to his wife and daughter. Jolene Lori Oliver was a career waitress and loved connecting with people in the community. Emily Mae Tuck was a wonderful blend of both her parents and enjoyed playing her fiddle (never call it a violin), creating art and writing poetry. Emily spent a great deal of time in the garage with her dad where she learned about mechanics and often helped him with his projects. She had a talent for and enjoyed working in construction and wanted to apprentice as a welder. As an Alberta/Nova Scotian family, who spent their early years in Calgary, Alta. and their later years in Nova Scotia their memories will remain etched in our hearts forever!

Additional Portapique victims

As of press-time we had not received obituaries for the following Portapique shooting victims. The Shoreline Journal searched the internet for media stories to provide some information to our coverage as complete as possible.

Tom Bagley, a retired firefighter, was killed in the shooting spree, when he want to check on the fire and gunshot sounds at his neighbour’s residence on Hunter Road, Wentworth. He would have celebrated his 71st birthday on Tuesday, April 21st. His daughter, Charlene Bagley, wrote he died trying to help others. "Tom was an awesome individual that could always bring a smile and a laugh any place and in any situation," Jeff Flanagan wrote about his uncle on Facebook.

Corrie Ellison, 42, who was visiting his father in Portapique is being remembered by friends as "a beautiful soul." Corrie left his father’s house to go take pictures of a nearby structure fire. When he did not return his brother, who was also visiting their father went looking for him; found his body roadside, but heard additional shots. The brother ran and hid in the woods overnight, calling is father to call 911, but not to return the call, as he did not want his phone to ring and light up in the darkness.

Peter & Joy Bond

The Bond’s lived in Portapique. More social media accounts of relatives and a Seaview Full Gospel Church, 195 Back Bay Loop Rd, Back Bay New Brunswick E5C 2W3 had several postings from friends who spoke highly about the couple and were asking for those wishing to do so to donate to a special church fund being set up to help the family. Many of the Church’s Facebook page contained messages, "were loved by their family, friends and community."

John Zahl & Elizabeth Joanne Thomas

John Zahl and his wife, Elizbeth Joanne Thomas lived in Portapique. The couple met in Nova Scotia, but lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 20 years. Zahl was a retired FedEx employee and also served in the U.S. Navy as a Russian translator while Thomas worked at the University of New Mexico. The couple retired in Nova Scotia, where Thomas is from.

A website for the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, New Mexico said, "A former Albuquerque couple appears to be among the victims of a mass shooting in a rural Nova Scotia community that has left at least 22 dead. The home belonging to John Zahl and his wife, Joanne Thomas, was found burned following a rampage over the weekend in the town of Portapique, according to The Associated Press. It was Canada’s worst mass shooting, and authorities are still searching for a motive. Zahl retired from FedEx, and Thomas was a former University of New Mexico employee".


MMaurice Rees, Publisher
The Shoreline Journal
Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0
PH: 902-647-2968; Cell: 902-890-9850
E-mail: maurice@theshorelinejournal.com