Whitehorse resident Eric Grant remembered as 'stand-up guy'

Friends of 35-year-old Whitehorse resident Eric Grant, killed in Inuvik on Saturday, are remembering a man they say they could always count on.

Zack Witham first met Grant about six or seven years ago working at placer mine near Dawson City.

He said they developed a deep friendship over the years. Witham, a mobile welder, and Grant, the owner of Gearhead Mechanical Services, often helped each other, said Witham.

"Just a stand-up guy, if you were in a bind he'd do anything for you," said Witham. There were many times when one of the two would have a problem, and "you'd just drop what you're doing and go help."

"He was the first to do something like that for anyone else."

Witham said he and Grant saw each other when they were working outside of Whitehorse. But he saw Grant less frequently in the city, because Grant wanted to spend time with his two young sons who were the priority of his life.

Jon Wilkie, an equipment operator in Dawson City, said he met Grant 10 years ago at the Minto Mine where they became instant friends.

 "Eric was loud— overpoweringly loud— he had a big booming voice, you knew that he was in the room," said Wilkie. 

Wilkie said Grant also had an incredible ability to offend some people, but without being rude.

"He also had this incredible obliviousness to him, for a smart guy who was really sharp, sometimes he was just completely unaware of his own redneckisms," said Wilkie.

He said some of Grant's passions included machinery, guns, muscle cars, bulldozers and mining.

But underneath Grant's Finning Tractor cap was an amazing amount of knowledge, said Wilkie. He read a lot about history and politics among other topics fuelled by a deeply curious nature.

"When he talked guns, he knew exactly what he was talking about. When he talked politics, he knew them exactly. When he talked facts, figures, history, bam, he was there,"  he said.

Wilkie said he and Grant didn't always agree on politics, but Grant always accepted and respected Wilkie's opinions.

"I never once had a bad moment with him, who else can you say you've known for a decade and all your memories of that person are good," he said.

Grant's death is being investigated by authorities in the Northwest Territories, including the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission.

The commission said it will not comment on the circumstances of his death while its investigation continues.