Boy and grand­fa­ther were in­sep­a­ra­ble

Jani Daliyana­zlou took his grand­son ice fish­ing at Water­ford Ponds. He fell through and drowned. His grand­son lived.

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - JOANNA FRKETICH

Jani Daliyana­zlou died mak­ing sure his nineyear-old grand­son Stephan Nis­san was saved from the frigid wa­ter af­ter they fell through the ice at a Nor­folk County con­ser­va­tion area dur­ing Fam­ily Day week­end.

“His main worry as he was drown­ing was mak­ing sure Stephan was OK,” said his daugh­ter Nahrin Nis­san af­ter talk­ing to res­cuers. “If any­thing hap­pened he’d rather it hap­pen to him­self.”

The 68-year-old re­tired steel­worker fished ev­ery week­end year-round with his only grand­child. Dur­ing the week the two would plot which con­ser­va­tion area to ex­plore next.

“They were very close,” said Nis­san. “Every­one who knew him knew how much they loved each other, you wouldn’t see one with­out the other. This is a tragic end­ing.”

The two would come home at the end of the week­end tri­umphant and grill their catch on the bar­be­cue, smelling up the whole Limeridge Road West neigh­bour­hood but al­ways will­ing to share the de­li­cious re­sult with their neigh­bours.

“We owe him so much for tak­ing care of our only son,” said Nis­san. “He lived all his life for us. It’s hard tak­ing all of this in. It feels so empty with­out him. He was a per­son you could re­ally rely on. Now he’s not there.”

Stephan was skat­ing, as he of­ten did dur­ing their fish­ing out­ings, when Daliyana­zlou fell through the ice Satur­day in wa­ter about five-me­tres deep. He was about 80 me­tres from shore at the Water­ford North Con­ser­va­tion Area off Con­ces­sion 8, about 50 kilo­me­tres south­west of Hamil­ton.

His grand­son tried to save him, but fell in the wa­ter him­self.

Two men heard their yells for help and put them­selves in jeop­ardy to pull the Grade 4 stu­dent at Burling­ton’s St. Anne El­e­men­tary School out of the wa­ter with a branch around 5 p.m. They were un­able to reach Daliyana­zlou.

“When they took him out of the wa­ter, he wanted to jump back in,” said Nis­san, adding res­cuers told her they had to hold him back. “Stephan is so brave.”

Nis­san called the two men on Sun­day to thank them for res­cu­ing Stephan from the pond.

“We are very grate­ful they saved our only

son,” said Nis­san. “They were very sad. They were cry­ing. They wish they could have done more.”

Nis­san and her hus­band Evan Nis­san were at their Burling­ton home when they got a call from po­lice that Stephan was at Nor­folk Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in Sim­coe with mild hy­pother­mia.

“She put Stephan on the phone and he was re­ally cry­ing,” she said. “It was far for us to get to him.”

It wasn’t un­til Nis­san got there that she dis­cov­ered her dad was still miss­ing. His body was re­cov­ered just af­ter noon on Sun­day by the On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice un­der­wa­ter search and re­cov­ery unit.

“Stephan doesn’t be­lieve he’s passed,” said Nis­san. “He keeps ask­ing: ‘Did the hos­pi­tal call? Is he OK? When is he com­ing home?’ ... It’s just so sad … With every­one’s love and prayers hope­fully Stephan will get through this trau­matic time in his life.”

Daliyana­zlou was born in Iran and lived in Qatar and Greece be­fore im­mi­grat­ing to Canada roughly 35 years ago.

“He loved this coun­try,” said Nis­san. “He al­ways counted his bless­ings that he lived here. He was very grate­ful.”

He never mar­ried, ded­i­cat­ing most of his life to his only child.

“I was mostly with him from the day I was born,” said Nis­san, who also has a re­la­tion­ship with her mom. “He gave me ev­ery­thing. He al­ways would take me fish­ing when I was a lit­tle girl. He would take me swim­ming. He knew I loved shop­ping so he would take me. He was very gen­er­ous. If we couldn’t af­ford some­thing, he’d just work ex­tra hard.”

He en­joyed his job as a welder at Na­tional Steel Car for 22 years and he was a vol­un­teer at the St. Mary’s Assyr­ian Church of the East on Stone Church Road West.

“Jani was a great man, lov­ing, hon­est, hard­work­ing and ad­ven­tur­ous,” said Nis­san. “We all are feel­ing a big void in our lives.”

He re­tired about one year ago and put all his fo­cus on Stephan. He would pick him up af­ter school, take him to all of his ac­tiv­i­ties and they spent ev­ery week­end to­gether “hang­ing out in the wilder­ness.” Their favourite spot was Bin­brook Con­ser­va­tion Area.

“They com­pleted each other,” said Nis­san. “He was en­joy­ing ev­ery mo­ment of his re­tire­ment. He lived life to the fullest. We’re so sad it was cut short. He de­served more.”

Nis­san says her dad joined them on ev­ery fam­ily va­ca­tion. His favourite was a trip to Do­mini­can Repub­lic.

He liked to build things and was par­tic­u­larly proud of the shed he com­pleted.

He en­joyed boat­ing and had big plans to buy Stephan his own boat one day.

His pas­sion was bar­be­cu­ing, es­pe­cially dur­ing fam­ily pic­nics.

“He was a sim­ple man who en­joyed the sim­ple things in life like food and fam­ily,” said Nis­san. A view­ing will take place Thurs­day at 10 a.m. at the Assyr­ian church at 63 Stone Church Rd. W., Hamil­ton, with a funeral mass to fol­low at 11.

COUR­TESY NAHRIN NIS­SAN

Jani Daliyana­zlou, 68, shown here with Stephan Nis­san, died Satur­day af­ter fall­ing through the ice at the Water­ford North Con­ser­va­tion Area.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OPP

Res­cue work­ers on the scene late Satur­day.

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