The Hamilton Spectator
‘Lovely man ... big loss to our neighbourhood’
Family of Tim Alger grateful to those who helped after Kirkendaller collapsed while shovelling snow
Tim Alger was “one of those neighbours.”
The 64-year-old Kirkendall man died earlier this month after he collapsed while shovelling snow for others on his street. But not before leaving a mark on those he knew and loved.
“He (did) everything for everybody around this neighbourhood, and that’s what he was doing when he passed,” said Norine Alger, his wife of 40 years.
Norine, who was born and raised on Dundurn Street South, where the family still lives, said Tim was chipping ice on a neighbour’s driveway after a Feb. 27 snowstorm when a heart attack caused him to collapse.
Neighbours said several passersby took turns performing CPR until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital.
He survived the heart attack, but died March 3 as a result of “multiple fractures to the head,” his wife said.
“I just wish he didn’t go out that day. We might still have him here,” Norine said.
Tim was forced to leave his job in steel about a decade ago, after he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Instead, he did odd jobs for neighbours, like cutting grass and shovelling snow. He liked to keep busy.
“Mr. Stubborn, when he’s told … to slow down, he doesn’t,” Norine said, adding he was saving to buy the family a van.
Next-door neighbour of 19 years Cheryl Gibb has fond memories of Tim, who would often poke his head over the fence to crack a joke.
“He always had a smile for you,” she said. “He was funny. He had a really, really booming laugh that was just so heartwarming.”
Gibb said he’d do odd jobs and yardwork for her and her husband, often unprompted.
“I’d go out in my backyard and the lawn would be cut,” she said.
“Tim was always just out and about in the neighbourhood helping everyone out because he was a good guy.”
“We need more people like him,” she said.
Neighbour Jason Allen said he’ll “never forget the day” his youngest, Sam, “escaped from the backyard and went on a walkabout.” Sam, who was seven or eight at the time, has Down syndrome and had never been left unsupervised.
Allen said Sam made it to busy Dundurn Street a few hundred metres away.
“We came running out of the backyard in a panic ... fearing the worst, only to find Sam coming up the street, hand in hand in the care of a great neighbour,” Allen wrote. “Tim was just that kind of guy.”
A common theme emerged from the dozen or so comments on Allen’s Facebook post about Tim’s death.
Kirkendall has “lost a special person,” one member wrote. “He was a friendly member of our neighbourhood, keeping an eye out for all of us,” wrote another.
And another: “I will miss seeing Tim on our walks to and from school and around the neighbourhood. A lovely man and a big loss to our neighbourhood.”
Together, Allen and Gibb launched a GoFundMe for the family, which raised enough to cover Tim’s cremation — “he’s paid in full,” his wife said with a laugh, adding that she’s “overwhelmed” by the support.
Norine describes Tim as a “family man” who would “go without and give to his family first.” He had four grandchildren, some of whom lived with them on Dundurn, and he could often be seen walking them to school in the morning.
He died just days before the couple’s first great-grandchild was born.
The family says they want to thank those passersby who, through their actions in the wake of Tim’s collapse, gave them a chance to say goodbye.
“They saved his life for a little bit,” Norine said.