St. John's, N.L. — The father-in-law of Tom Gardiner, the man killed while working as a flagsman Thursday, said Gardiner he was, “loved by everybody.”
“He was always there to help anybody,” Merv Williams told The Telegram Friday.
Gardiner was struck and killed on the Route 80 highway between Heart’s Content and Old Perlican just before 9 a.m. Thursday while his crew was working to clear brush in the area.
Shortly after news of his death spread in the region, condolences poured in to the family from people across the province, who knew Gardiner as a kind, generous person and hard worker.
“Everybody’s devastated,” said William, who said his daughter is coping as best she can under the circumstances. “He was a big man, almost 300 pounds, but he was a gentle bear.”
Williams said Gardiner was originally from Placentia, where he met his wife Lori. The two celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in November. They lived in Labrador City for a few years before moving back to New Harbour in 2011.
“He was like a son to me … but he was a good friend too,” Williams said, fighting back tears.
Williams doesn’t know details of what happened, but he said Gardiner was struck by a pickup truck and was thrown 50 feet.
Williams said Gardiner was an experienced flagsman, who was “meticulous” about safety.
“He always wore his vest and would always make sure things were done right,” he said. “He’d make sure measurements were right and was headstrong about stuff like that. He was very particular.”
Williams said he’ll also remember the camaraderie he shared with his son-in-law.
“It’d be nothing for Tom to come in my shed and tidy it all up for me. He had a place for everything,” he said. “He was a wonderful man.”
Williams said Gardiner’s remains will soon be taken to Carnell’s Funeral Home in St. John’s. His ashes will then be taken to Warren’s Funeral Home in Dildo.