Beloved volunteer Tim George remembered

By Denise Titian, February 21, 2017

The family of late Tim George held a luncheon in his memory at the Port Alberni Friendship Centre on Feb. 17.

Photo by Denise Titian

Port Alberni — 

It has been one year since the sudden passing of Port Alberni Friendship Center’s most beloved and tireless volunteer, Tim George, and his family paid tribute to him with a memorial luncheon.

Family, friends, clients and PAFC staff and board members gathered Feb. 17 to honour and remember Tim, who was from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.

He was well-known by anybody who spent any time at the PAFC. For more than 30 years, if anything needed doing, he would be the one to show up and help out no matter what. He did that right up until he became ill and passed away on Feb. 18, 2016.

A year later, Tim’s surviving siblings—Alice, Thomas, Anne, Louisa and Patricia—prepared a public luncheon in his honor.

With assistance from the Port Alberni Friendship Center staff, they decorated the hall with NHL Montreal Canadiens logos. Each of the Georges wore the signature red hockey jersey. Thomas George said the nod to the Montreal Canadiens came from the George brothers’ childhood.

They spent a lot of time playing street hockey with other neighborhood kids. With their vivid childhood imagination they made the game more interesting by selecting actual NHL team names when they played.

“He always picked his favorite Montreal Canadiens and, taking it a step further, he would pretend he was hockey great Guy LeFleur. He loved LeFleur!” said Thomas.

As the years went by, some of the George siblings became Vancouver Canucks fans, but not Tim. He was true to the Canadiens until the end. In Tim’s honor, his family members set aside their Canucks jerseys and wore the red and blue Canadiens colors.

One of the sisters told Ha-Shilth-Sa that she introduced her new boyfriend to Tim many years back. “My boyfriend was from Montreal and Tim had me up on a pedestal just because of that,” she laughed.

Following lunch Dennis Manson recalled how helpful Tim was.

“In our culture, whenever any help is needed we call on one another because we are related, and that’s the way Tim was,” said Manson.

“He touched a lot of people in many different ways; he mentored youth by playing sports with them, trying to steer them in the right direction,” said Thomas George. “I was friends with him, played volleyball with him. It was an honor to know him,” said luncheon guest Joe Keitlah.

“Tim really lived his life like a true kou-uss person; he was very special and very well-taught,” said Andrea Amos-Stoney.

“On behalf of Ahousaht families living in Port Alberni I want to thank the George family for sharing Tim with us for all those years,” said Ahousaht elder Wally Samuel. He went on to say that Tim was a true-blue volunteer, always available and always helping.

“He’d be up early to unlock the doors and he never wanted money and he never punched a clock. He did it from the goodness of his heart,” said Samuel.

Darlene Leonew of the PAFC also thanked the family for sharing Tim.

“We miss him too and we will keep his memory alive,” she told the George family.

Hesquiaht elder Simon Lucas talked about family ties and told the Georges that their grandmother came from one of the Hesquiaht houses.

“I knew your brother. He was everywhere, always helping,” said Lucas. “You have something to be very proud of, that your brother held himself up very well in public,” Lucas told them. He promised the family that his family will be there to honor Tim’s memory when the George’s host a memorial potlatch. “My family will be there to honor him because he was of great value to us all,” said Lucas.

“A lot of who he was and what he did tied in with what the Friendship Center is all about and we’re very proud of that said,” said Thomas George.

The George family will announce a date for a memorial potlatch for their brother in the near future.