Eskasoni mourning 'inseparable' father, son killed in crash

Eskasoni First Nation is mourning the deaths of Simon Jeddore, left, and Noel Jeddore. They were killed in a car crash in East Bay, N.S., on Friday. (Submitted by Rhenelda Jeddore - image credit)
Eskasoni First Nation is mourning the deaths of Simon Jeddore, left, and Noel Jeddore. They were killed in a car crash in East Bay, N.S., on Friday. (Submitted by Rhenelda Jeddore - image credit)

A father and son from Eskasoni First Nation are being remembered for giving back to their communities in their own ways.

Simon Jeddore, 80, and Noel Jeddore, 38, were killed on Friday after their SUV collided with a transport truck along a snow-covered road in East Bay, N.S.

Family and friends of the pair say they shared a close bond and were always together.

"It's going to be a double funeral because Simon and Noel were inseparable. That's how it should be, they should be together," said Rhenelda Sylliboy, who was Noel's cousin, and Simon's goddaughter and niece.

The Eskasoni woman said Simon was the community's fire chief for over 35 years. He joined the station in the 1970s when he was one of only three firefighters.

She said the father of five had likely responded to hundreds of fires and accidents in his time as a first responder.

"You hear that fire siren, you know he's behind that wheel," Sylliboy said.

'He loved what he did' 

Sylliboy said Simon even purchased a station wagon that he outfitted with red lights and a sound system to be used as a makeshift ambulance.

She said he only retired from Eskasoni's fire department a decade ago, but was made an honorary chief of a brand new, modern station that was built in the community.

"He loved what he did and he was also involved with the church. He was the groundskeeper, a cross-bearer [for an annual ceremony], maintenance guy — basically everything he did and it was all volunteer work."

Simon also had his own repair shop, where he fixed small engines. A jack of all trades, Sylliboy said her uncle kept working on machinery into his older years and had recently fixed a lawnmower at the local church with the help of the parish priest.

"He said, 'Father, can you help me? It's heavy — if you can lift this, I can get the part out and teach you how to do this.'"

Sylliboy was in Sydney when the crash happened. She later travelled to the hospital to identify their bodies and pray over them.

"It's pretty rough," she said. "The community is taking it very hard. They're going to be missed."

Submitted by Rhenelda Jeddore
Submitted by Rhenelda Jeddore

Alexsanderine Stevens, who has lived next door to the Jeddore family all her life, considered Noel to be one of her best friends.

She says the 38-year-old was quiet and a homebody, who always looked out for his family. He also enjoyed technology, playing video games, baking and cooking.

"He was different, but he was a good different," said Stevens. "Noel was Simon's No. 1 driver. He looked after his parents. He went grocery shopping for them, gassed up vehicles … he really did what he could for them."

Two peas in a pod

A registered nurse at the Eskasoni Health Centre, Stevens said the loss has been devastating for the community, but it serves as a reminder that life can change in the blink of an eye.

"It's tragic," she said. "There's going to be a void there. Two peas in a pod, those two."

Following news of the deaths, a crisis team has set up comfort centres where people can get food and be together.

Stevens said many people in the community have been gathering at the Jeddore home to share stories, tears and a few laughs.

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