Remembering Jay Dearman

Jay Dearman, Gabriola firefighterOn January 24th, 2018, our friend and fellow firefighter Jay Dearman died. Jay was struck by a vehicle while out for a run along Berry Point Road.

Jay joined the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department in June of 2012. You may have seen him fighting a fire, responding to a motor vehicle incident, or attending a medical call as a first responder.

You may have known him for his exceptional cabinet-making skills, or as an avid fisherman, or for the decade he spent coaching junior softball on the Lower Mainland.  He loved people and people loved him.

We will remember Jay for the cheerful twinkle in his eye and his wide-ranging sense of humour. He was considerate, thoughtful, and kind.

Our whole department misses Jay greatly, and we are devastated by this loss. Our thoughts are with his family.

There will be a service for Jay at the Albert Reed Memorial Firehall (730 Church Street) at 2 pm on Saturday, February 10th, 2018.


  1. Zulis says:

    Very sorry for this tragic loss of Jay, from his firefighting comrades, his family and from our community. Peace be with each of you as you grieve and with Jay as he moves to another adventure. May you feel comforted by your memories of life moments with Jay

  2. Giovanni says:

    Very sad about this nasty story.

  3. Debenedetto Family says:

    Our deepest heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and coworkers. May all Gabriolans wrap you in warmth, strength and courage as you all struggle to navigate your way through this senseless tragedy.

  4. Laurissa says:

    I didn’t know Jay. However my friend is a member of the Gabriola FD. Being a BCAS member I can only imagine how devestating it must be to lose a crew member so tragically. My heart goes out to all of you and the hurt your “little Island” will feel. My condolences to all of you.

  5. Jethro says:

    Such a good picture of Jay. That’s how I will remember him.

  6. Florence Sutherland says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. We didn’t know Jay, but the sadness of this accident touches us all. Our condolences to Jay’s family and to his comrades and friends.

  7. Ken Gurr says:

    We are totally devastated. Getting this tragic news while being so far away from our friends and community who we ache to be with.

    Jay was a beautiful beautiful man with that ready grin and spark in his eyes. Trigger quick with a laugh. I loved his teasing and endless mischief. He called me Kenny Kengurr with an Indian accent. I used to drop by his shop for a coffee and some friendly ribbing about the Leafs vs the Oilers, if I hadn’t caught up with him in village picking up Suzanne from the library.

    Please hoist a beer and share a funny story about Jay. And all our love and hugs to dear Suzanne and their daughters.

    It is impossible to think of Gabe without the Dear Man, All our love and comfort to his family and his many many pals.

  8. Diane J. Green says:

    Terribly sad about the loss of Jay. What an absolutely shocking and heartbreaking situation. My sincerest condolences to all his family, friends and colleagues.

  9. Dean Shock says:

    Very sad to hear the news about Jay, I am certain he will be missed by many. He was a man who brought a positive light to our community.

  10. Carolyn Wilkinson says:

    I didn’t know Jay but I know Suzanne and my heart goes out to her and their children. So sorry for the tragic loss of father, husband and friend to many.

  11. Miranda Holmes says:

    A wonderful, wonderful man who will be missed by many for a very long time. My deepest condolences to Suzanne and the rest of Jay’s family.

  12. Tobi Elliott says:

    I’m deeply sorry for your loss, Suzanne and the Dearman family. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but my heart goes out to you. I pray somehow you will be comforted by the knowledge that Jay’s light and love of life brought so much joy to everyone around him. I remember serving the running club at Silva Bay and Jay always made me smile so much. He carried light. xo

  13. SHARON HOOTON says:

    I was so terribly saddened to hear this news, again whilst being so far away from our wonderful island.

    My heart aches for the pain and loss Suzanne and his family and friends must be feeling. Jay was a wonderful, genuine, happy guy who literally always had a smile on his face.

    I just cannot comprehend how such a terrible tragedy can happen on our quiet little island.

  14. Carol Ramsay says:

    Sometimes, when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated. And that is how it feels, losing Jay. My heart hurts a lot. Warm thoughts and love to his family, friends and all of his firefighting family.

  15. Marilyn Smith says:

    So very sorry to hear this news… Heartfelt sorrow to Suzanne. Such a loss and sad tragedy. I didn’t know Jay personally, but I do want to thank him for all that he did for our people and fire dept on this island. He obviously lived to help and be there for others.. Remembering you fondly now Jay.. Thank-you Thank-you..

  16. William W. Jost says:

    We’ve known the Dearmans for about 25 years, mostly through hockey. My wife taught Sarah in grade two. Fast forward a few years, and Sarah married our son Eric.

    We were always grateful that our son had married into such a beautiful family. Instinctively, whenever Jay and I would meet, there would be a hug, and we called each other “brother”.

    Jay was the brother that I never had. We called each other “brother from another mother.” I can see him saying that as I write this.

    I could go on…Jay I will truly miss you, and I’m deeply saddened that we won’t be able to share our grandchild growing up, but I will be there for that child in your absence, and I guarantee, they will get to know you.

    I will leave this with an Emily Dickinson quote:

    “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.”

    We will miss you brother!

    Bill & Carol

  17. Carly McMahon says:

    We met Jay and Suzanne when they first moved to the Island and quickly Jay gave me the name of Carly Warly. I will never forget the sound of his voice bellowing that across the Village parking lot while picking up Suzanne after a day of work. He was always smiling and full of life and we are all better for having had him in our lives. You will be greatly missed and never forgotten.

  18. Donna Deacon says:

    Our sincere condolences to the Dearman family, his friends and fellow firefighters. We didn’t know Jay personally, but we do want to say how much we appreciate the work he did to keep this island community safe. Thank you for your service.

    Donna & Garry

  19. Mindy Joseph says:

    I’m far away from Gabe right now but my heart is with you, Suzanne, and the Dearman family. I know you’re all surrounded by a web of love and gentle support and I am adding my few strands to help in its strength and tenderness. I hope you can feel a little comfort from this as you grieve for your Beloved Jay.
    I’m sending you my deepest condolences.

    Mindy Joseph

  20. Ilona and bill beedie says:

    I didn’t know Jay personally but Bill knew him well through the garage. A stellar man, who will be missed tremendously. Sending strength and love to the family. Unfortunately, we will be out of the country for the memorial but our thoughts will be with you all. Bill and ilona Beedie.

  21. Magda Wos and Tad Samiec says:

    We are so sorry to hear this terrible news! Jay was one of the nicest people we got to know when we moved to the Island over a year ago. Not only he did an outstanding job on the cabinetry in our new home but he kept me calm and collected when I was feeling lost moving from The Big City to The Quiet Island. We had some lovely conversations over a cup of tea in my kitchen and he truly lived up to his name. Jay, you will not be forgotten because good people like you stay in our hearts forever. Our deepest sympathy to Suzanne and the Dearman Family.

  22. Charles Boyte, CFO Chief PIFR says:

    Dear Chief Jackson,

    Please know our hearts are with you, the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department, Jay’s wife, family and friends, the Gabriola community and all the emergency responders that attended this tragic incident. Your dedication to bravely step up to answer emergency calls daily shows your exceptional care for your community and all that live in it. I can see from the posts that dedication to community is clearly a philosophy Jay supported and was happy to have in his life. It is also clear that Jay was a fine man, a proud member of your emergency team, dearly loved and highly respected by all those that knew and cared for him. Our sincerest condolences to all of you on behalf of Pender Island Fire Rescue.

  23. Diane Hicks says:

    My heart aches at the loss of this wonderful man…..Jay holds a very special place in our hearts as he spent several years coaching softball with my husband Dan in Maple Ridge and after Dan passed away he was such a support and caring heart for our Meagan (aka Super Meg). His laugh and the sparkle in his eye will always be remembered.

    May the love and hugs being sent your way keep you all warm during this most difficult time.

    xo Diane Hicks

  24. Kit Pepper says:

    I only knew Jay by sight, but his open and friendly smile always gave my spirits an ‘up-lift.’ But, from the library, we do know Suzanne and want to send our deepest, heart-felt condolences for such a tragic loss. Kit and Wesley

  25. Liz says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news . Thinking of you all at this time

  26. Cindy Manning says:

    We are heart broken at Jay’s passing. I’ve never met such an upbeat, positive ray of sunshine or shall I say ‘Jay’ of sunshine. Although we live elsewhere now, it’s as if we can literally feel the sorrow and heartache coming from the island, which we called home for many years, all the way to our new home as we try to come to terms with the loss of a beautiful person. I’ll never forget Jay. He had a nickname for me too and would joke with our daughter when we would see him on the ferry to Nanaimo, he’d ask us “where are you going”, we would say ” to Nanaimo” for which he would playfully mispronounce ” oh, to Ny-na-mo” and look at us like there was nothing wrong, then smile and say “what” ? in that mischievous Jay way. He always took a genuine interest in our lives. He will be missed.
    Suzanne, our thoughts are with you and your family at this very sad time.
    Cindy & Family

  27. Randy Bishop says:

    I was very saddened to hear this news. Jay and I first met in the early 80’s while doing our benchwork and joinery apprenticeship. We quickly became friends and neighbours. We went on to work together for over 10 years. We lost contact when he and Suzanne moved from Maple Ridge but I remember him fondly. I had the great fortune to run into him again a few years ago just as he was leaving the mainland to start a new life on Gabriola. I am so grateful to have shared an evening of food and friendship as we reminisced and caught up on life. Deepest sympathy to Suzanne, Carla and Sarah.

  28. Patti Livie says:

    Our condolences to Suzanne and her family along with the GFD family. We didn’t know Jay personally but when I did see him he always had a smile on his face. Jay will be sadly missed by everyone.
    Patti and Steve

  29. Tori Steele says:

    Jay and I were good friends in elementary school/jr high.. we used to hang out and he was such a goofy guy always made me laugh.. it was such a joy to see him at our 40 th grad reunion just last year after such a long time. I was so happy to reconnect. So sad to hear this news today my condolences to his family who he loved so much. RIP old friend

  30. Penny Sidor says:

    Love and hugs and peace to Jay’s family and friends at this time of tragedy and loss. Holding you in our hearts.

    • Carla Craig says:

      So sorry to hear of the lose of such a special person.
      It was so great to see Jay at our 40th reunion. He truly knew how to make a person smile….
      Those we love are never lost.
      The live each day in all of us.
      Carla Craig

  31. David Franklin says:

    Jay was a high school friend and we lost contact when he moved away from White Rock. But we were able to reconnect last June at a school reunion. He had not changed a bit – same big smile, same nicknames (some rude!). So glad I was able to see him again. I was saddened with the news and wanted to express condolences to Suzanne.

  32. Peggy Murry says:

    I’ve known Jay since Junior High School, and like Tori Steele, so enjoyed catching up with him at our 40th School Reunion. I just heard this horrible news a few minutes ago, and am in disbelief! I am so sad, and like many others can still see the twinkle in his eye, and his contagious smile. He was always so fun, and thoughtful! I send my best wishes to his family, and fellow firefighters. I can’t believe he is gone, but he will never be forgotten. It sounds like there is a lot of love for Jay, and his family, so I trust his family will be in good hands! From a very sad school hood friend.

  33. Marie-Joelle Lucke says:

    I’ve known the Dearmans since 1988 when Carla and I became best friends in Kindergarten. I’ve always considered Jay & Suzanne as part of my extended “chosen” family, and when we met up for special occasions, it was always like no time had passed.

    Jay was always making up little ditties for people. You could pretty much bet that within the first time of meeting you, he would have come up with a nickname or a song to tease you with. He was an epic teaser- it was one of his ways of connecting with people. From the “biting rabbit” to songs about boys we had crushes on, Jay always kept us laughing. Even though I’m now a 34 year old mum with 2 kids of my own, whenever I saw him, he would still hum the tune he used to drive me crazy with during sleepovers as a kid.

    I wanted to share my experiences having been a kid around Jay because, as goofy as he was, there is another side to him that is so important to honour. He was a great, great parent. He talked about his girls’ accomplishments with so much pride. He cared deeply and fiercely for his daughters and the friends they brought into their fold. As teens Carla and I used to roll our eyes at how “strict” he could be about things, but reflecting back, he was only ever concerned about creating the boundaries kids desperately need from their parents. We were lucky to have a parent like Jay, and I say “we” intentionally, because he parented me too. Jay had such a way of creating inclusivity with his daughter’s friends. He had a gift for finding a way to connect with people, and for this, the Dearman home always felt like a safe space to be kid. Its been an absolute privilege to have had had Jay be so involved in my childhood. I feel very blessed he was in my life and I will miss him dearly. He truly was one of the goods ones.

    Suzanne, Carla, and Sarah, you three were his world. I know at this time, there is no consolation, and I am heartbroken for you all, but hopefully, to know you were loved that much can offer you some comfort.

    I’m sending you all my love (as well as to Cam, K&K, and Eric),

    xx Marie-Joelle

  34. Lori says:

    We were shocked and so sad to hear about Jay.

    Scott and I both knew Jay growing up in White Rock and we will forever remember his smiling face and great humour.

    I am happy that Jay was able to attend our 40th grad reunion in 2017. We all loved seeing him and reminiscing about funny stories and things we did together.

    Our sincere condolences to Jay’s family.

    Lori Ishikawa and Scott Angus

  35. Sharon and Norm Fitzsimonds, Salmon Arm, B.C. says:

    Jay was our brother in law and was very loved and admired for his talents. He was a great tease and loved all of his family members. We will miss you so much Jay. RIP. We all loved him too and are so sorry for what happened to him.

  36. Suzanne Kimpan says:

    I’ve read all the deeply felt comments for Jay Dearman. I never knew him but have a sense of him now and feel the island’s loss even greater than I did before. I cannot imagine the incredible grief his family must be feeling. Suzanne was my favorite librarian and my heart goes out to her and her family in these dark days. As a homecare provider to our elder members, I have come across many of the first responders and firefighters. Their dedication and their commitment to helping others is always inspiring. They are shining examples of how to be in the world. The loss of a team member such as Jay must be devastating. I send my most profound condolences to everyone who is reeling from this senseless tragedy. To his family, I hope you find the strength and courage in the days ahead to live through this loss so that Jay’s memory becomes a beacon of light in your lives. His love does lives on.

  37. Melinda and Don says:

    Oh Jay!…how can this be!..we are so far away and this news has devastated us! Dear Suzanne our love and condolences…it is so feeble given your very great loss…all our very great loss…i loved Jay and his beautiful love of people and life…thank you Jay for being the beautiful light you were in our community…how we are less without you… praying for the whole family.

  38. Zoe Lamb says:

    This is such sad news. Jay was such a wonderful man; he truly brought a smile to my face every time I saw him. I loved hearing his stories about running and working with the fire department! Dear Suzanne I am so sorry for your loss… my heart is with you and your daugthers… sending love. xox

  39. Ray Rafuse says:

    I first met Jay and Suzanne in 2010 while on a bicycle tour with Cam’s dad, Bob and 4 other guys. Their house was the first stop on our “Tour de Vancouver Island”. We were welcomed into their house and fed like kings. Lots of laughs and some wine late into the night. Jay and I swapped stories about our time with Telus which seemed to happen every time I saw him after that. All the guys in our group felt the same way, that these are kind, generous fun people to be with. The love of his family and the love they felt for him was always evident. Koa, his grandson, is really going to miss fishing with his “Bubbers”.

  40. Paola E. Rodriguez Ruah says:

    My sincerest condolences to Suzanne and the rest of the family. Even though I knew Jay briefly, I will never forget him singing with my friend Kathleen the song “Purple People Eater.” RIP.

  41. Ian Hynds says:

    Very sorry to hear of Jay’s passing. I remember him from high school and when he ran his cabinet shop in Kits. Funny man.