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Blacks Harbour man gave till the end


BLACKS HARBOUR - Recovering from heart surgery, Gary Edward Tidd told organizers to hold off on a benefit day they planned for him.

The Blacks Harbour village councillor did not want to interfere with an event already planned for a local child needing heart surgery, his daughter Carrie Hall recalled on Wednesday, two days after her father's death Monday at 63 in the Saint John Regional Hospital.

Tidd and Ronnie Breau organized many fundraisers for people facing health crises. "They were actually going to put one on for a little girl having heart surgery," Hall said.

Former colleagues at the Connors Bros. Ltd. maintenance shop planned to hold a benefit for him April 30.

"Did they have the benefit for the little girl yet?" Hall recalled her father asking.

"I said, 'No, not yet.' He said, 'Well, I don't want to have one. You just let them know that if it's too close to hers, I don't want to take anything away from her.'"

"He was still looking out for others," his daughter said.

Tidd attended his last meeting of Blacks Harbour village council Feb. 16, the day before his surgery. "I just can't believe it, you just never know," Mayor Terry James said on Tuesday.

Tidd worked for Connors Bros. Ltd. for 49 years. The company laid him off a week before his surgery, when it eliminated 30 positions. He planned to find another job, knowing too many people who got sick soon after retirement.

"He had to get his surgery over first and once he got better from that he was going to start looking for work," Hall said.

He also planned to return to his village council duties.

He suffered two strokes after the valve replacement operation, the second one a week ago last Sunday, Hall said.

"I used to go to the dances and to the activities at the youth centre there when I was a kid," James recalled. "I know that he was there all the time for those type of things, and he was a strong advocate for the youth. A lot of people remember that."

"He had a great love of family, loved his kids and his grandkids. Family was really important," Hall said.

He was born in Middleton, N.S., on July 1, 1947. He is survived by his wife Cindy, daughters Melinda and Carrie, sons Darrell, Randy and Christopher, 11 grandchildren, a great granddaughter, a brother Phillip, a sister Margaret and nieces, nephews and cousins.

He fished flounder, a skill he taught his children.

"And, boy, could he ever cook," Hall recalled. "Fish cakes, fried fish, barbecue, he did all the Christmas cooking, fruitcakes, butterballs, pies, everything."

"He had a strong faith," his daughter said. Tidd belonged to the Knights of Columbus. He was a former member of the Pennfield Lions Club.

He donated his corneas, bone marrow and skin. "He was a special guy," Hall said. "He donated right to the end."

He served on the village council from 1977 to 1986, from 1989 to 1992, and won an election again in 2008. His son Darrell and son-in-law Kalvin Hall each served on the council, James said.

The family will receive visitors at the St. George Funeral Home and Crematorium from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. today. Father Paul Doucet will officiate at Funeral Mass, with Rev. Gordon Cooke assisting, at Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church, at 11 a.m. Friday. Burial will follow in the spring.

The family would appreciate donations to the Charlotte County Cancer Society or the New Brunswick Heart and Stroke Foundation.

SOURCE: New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal (Saint John, NB) - March 10, 2011.

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