OTTAWA — Jamie York’s charisma and energy left indelible impressions in the memories of his family.
The 35-year-old commercial diver was an adventurer, an outdoorsman and a “real character,” said his cousin, Bobbie Jo York.
York died Tuesday, trapped by the current under a Trenton dam as police, firefighters and even a search-and-rescue unit from nearby JRCC Trenton tried desperately to free him.
He had been inspecting the dam while working for O.D.S. Marine Construction. The Ontario Ministry of Labour is investigating the circumstances of his death.
Growing up, Bobbie Jo York said she developed a wariness of watermelon after York told her the seeds would take root in her stomach.
“He would pick on me,” she said, remembering going out on the water with him, only to have him tip the canoe.
But brotherly affection was behind his good-natured jests. Bobbie Jo York’s brother had died while she was still young, and Jamie York stepped in to fill the void.
“He was more to me like my brother than my cousin,” she said.
Bobbie Jo’s aunt, Bev York, said Jamie York hoped to give his one-year-old son, Graysen, the same treatment when he was older.
Bev York described him as a kind-hearted, loving, “happy-go-lucky” person who “adored” his son, as well as his partner, Delanie Fontaine.
“He had a personality that people would just reach for,” she said, adding that he had been in his usual “high spirits” when they last spoke several weeks ago.
“It was such a great loss,” she said.
Bobbie Jo York said her cousin learned to dive while in Australia, which was just one stop on his travels. Bev York added he also spent time in New Zealand and much of Europe.
A memorial service is to be held in the Westboro Chapel of the Tubman Funeral Home at 403 Richmond Rd. on Saturday at 11 a.m. Donations to CHEO would be appreciated.