Ontario woman seeks family of deceased N.L. man

Barb Sweet bsweet@thetelegram.com
Published on August 9, 2014
Telegram investigates

Does anyone know Gordon Boyd Noseworthy?
A North York, Ont., woman contacted The Telegram this week to say her apartment complex neighbour had died and doesn’t appear to have any next of kin.

Carline Watson said the man said he was originally from Newfoundland, but was divorced and has no children.

According to Watson, as of Friday there had so far been no funeral for Noseworthy, as there is no one for the hospital to contact.

Attempts, through numerous phone calls, to get officials at the Humber River Hospital to verify the story were unsuccessful.

A social worker who returned a phone call to The Telegram left a message suggesting the reporter talk to the neighbour — a conversation which had already occurred.

Finally reached later, the social worker said she could not speak about the case and referred The Telegram to the hospital’s public relations spokesman.

Late Friday afternoon, public and corporate communications director Gerard Power told The Telegram that because of privacy laws, he could not confirm either whether Noseworthy had died or say anything about his case.

He said in general if someone dies without a known next of kin, the hospital has protocols, including notifying police and the public guardian and trustee to try to find a relative.

Patients passing away without anyone to contact or claim their remains happens from time to time.

“Unfortunately this is not new,” he said.

The phone at Noseworthy’s residence was still in service Friday, with the message, “Hello, this is Gord. I am away from my phone at the present time.”

According to Watson, Noseworthy, 86, died on Aug. 3 and had lived in the Harding Avenue building for 34 years.

He owned a 1980 Dodge Aspen that he didn’t drive anymore, but tinkered with often.

Watson said she and her husband had a parking space near Noseworthy’s and were passing by one recent day when he collapsed. 

“We hadn’t seen him in two weeks. … He was very thin,” she said, adding she learned afterwards he had prostate cancer and other health problems.

Watson said they called an ambulance and he was admitted to the Humber River Hospital on July 24.

Watson said she visited him every day at the hospital except the day he died, when she was in church.

She said he had keys in his wallet, so she was able to access his car in the hopes of finding contact information for someone in Newfoundland. Watson was not granted access to his apartment.

Watson acknowledged she and her husband hadn’t spoken with Noseworthy at length during the year they have lived there, so she doesn’t know much else about him. He wasn’t alert much while he was in hospital.

“He was a very softspoken man,” she said.

Watson said phone bills in his car didn’t show any calls made to anyone or any calls made to him.

“He would say, ‘I have no one. For anyone to be buried alone is not nice,’” she said. “I can’t believe this man had no family members.”

An Internet search turned up no obituary for Noseworthy.