What should have been one of the happiest times has turned into a nightmare for an Okanagan family whose oldest adult son died in a tragic single-vehicle car crash near Kamloops Jan 12.
Only weeks after finding out he and his fiancée were expecting their first child, Leon Marchand Holmes died during a single vehicle rollover near Kamloops on Highway 1.
|Leon Marchand Holmes and fiancé Denise Lalonde. facebook photo|
He was on his way home from his second day of work at New Gold mine near Kamloops. The 36-year-old was a passenger in a car that left the road, rolled, and came to a crashing stop around 5:30 p.m. that Saturday. The driver was not seriously injured. Marchand Holmes died on impact.
“This is a mother’s nightmare,” said Marty Marchand Ring during a phone call with Black Press Media from her home. “His fiancé is two months’ pregnant. All that’s left of him is the baby she carries and our memories. That’s all that’s left.”
Marchand Holmes, who grew up in Hedley in the Similkameen Valley, found out just two weeks before his death he and Denise Lalonde were expecting their first child.
“At least he got to share the news with his immediate family two weeks prior to his passing. He was excited and looking forward to his future. He was finally becoming a father,” she said.
A light in the darkness, Marchand Ring and Marchand Holmes’ younger sister Rose Holmes went to the first ultrasound.
“It was wonderful. We got to hear the heartbeat and we know there’s a part of him here,” she said.
There was no life insurance from work as he was just two days on the job, so coworkers started a Gofundme campaign.
“We’re hoping to get them up on their feet. The Gofundme page was started by his coworkers at New Gold and a woman Leon graduated high school from put out that Amazon gift cards can be bought and sent to Denise to buy things for the baby.”
Marchand Ring said her son was born to be a father.
“All the little girls called him Uncle Leon. So many of the kids called him Uncle Leon. He paired little girls up with their horses. He would find the horses, work them and pair them up so they were a good match,” she said.
|Leon Marchand Holmes. facebook photo|
On top of a horse or working them was Marchand Holmes’ “happy place,” his mother said.
A service was held in Hedley on Jan. 18. More than 25 people showed up on horseback to pay their respects.
“It was quite the sight. It was really nice. It would be what he wanted. He loved this valley. He would look out and say, ‘Isn’t this place beautiful?’”
To donate to the Gofundme campaign clickhere.
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