Retired RCMP officer among Ottawa victims of violent storm

·3 min read
Ian Fraser, a retired RCMP officer, has been identified as the man killed by a falling tree at the Canadian Golf and Country Club during the derecho windstorm on May 21, 2022. He was 60 years old. (Belvedere Funeral Home - image credit)
Ian Fraser, a retired RCMP officer, has been identified as the man killed by a falling tree at the Canadian Golf and Country Club during the derecho windstorm on May 21, 2022. He was 60 years old. (Belvedere Funeral Home - image credit)

A retired RCMP officer has been identified as the man killed by a falling tree at a golf course in west Ottawa last Saturday when the deadly derecho windstorm pummelled the region.

Ian Fraser was at the Canadian Golf and Country Club near Highway 7 and Dwyer Hill Road when he was killed. He was 60 years old.

On Sunday, Ottawa police said they were investigating the death of a man who was hit by a tree at 7800 Golf Club Way.

At least 10 others were killed on May 21 as the storm swept across Ontario and into Quebec, and another person was killed the next day by a falling tree branch.

According to an obituary from a Charlottetown-based funeral home, Fraser was originally from Prince Edward Island. He is predeceased by his parents and "lovingly remembered" by his brother Wayne, according to the obituary.

Friends and former coworkers shared dozens of messages of condolence, remembering Fraser as a friendly person who was passionate about golf and staying fit.

The obituary states he worked with the RCMP and had a career with "varied" experiences and posts.

The RCMP confirmed Fraser was a retired member and had been working as an analyst in Ottawa.

"Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go to Ian's family, friends and colleagues at the sad news of his passing," reads a statement from the force.

It described Fraser as a "valued employee" who will be "dearly missed."

'You don't know if you'll be here tomorrow'

According to the RCMP Veterans' Association, Fraser joined the force in 1990 and served in P.E.I. and Ontario, including at the national headquarters in Ottawa, before retiring in 2013. He returned as a civilian analyst five years later.

Glen Siegersma, chief administration officer for the veteran's group, said Fraser's return shows he was drawn back to serving his country.

Siegersma shared his sympathies for Fraser's family and friends, calling it a "sad day for many." He also noted that he and Fraser are around the same age, and said he was struck by that fact.

"At 60 years old you still see yourself as being engaged and wanting to help as best you can," he said.

"It gives you pause and allows you to consider that you need to live every day that you can and contribute as best you can, because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow."

Death toll continues to rise

Joanne Labelle, a 64-year-old from Cornwall, Ont. was also killed in the storm.

She was camping with friends in the Peterborough area when she was struck by a falling tree, according to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Suppled by Zachary Labelle
Suppled by Zachary Labelle

Labelle's son Zachary said Labelle loved nature and being outside.

He described her as a positive person who was happy all the time and touched the lives of many during her 40-year career as a pharmacist.

Also among the storm's victims was a 44-year-old man from Ottawa. Renfrew County OPP said he died after being hit by a falling tree at a cottage near Calabogie, Ont.

Gatineau police said a 51-year-old woman drowned after a pontoon boat capsized in the Ottawa River near the Masson-Angers sector.

Provincial police announced Thursday that a 58-year-old man had died after being struck by a falling tree in Hastings County on Saturday around 3:30 p.m..

The man had gotten out of his vehicle in a remote area within the Municipality of Marmora & Lake, which is about 50 kilometres north of Belleville, Ont., according to Central Hastings OPP spokesperson Const. Barbra Hunter.

OPP also said 80-year-old Gail Greene of Ferguson's Falls, Ont., died Sunday afternoon when she was struck by a falling tree branch near Lanark, Ont.

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