Gordon Parmenter is remembered as a father figure to many who had a way of connecting with people.
Parmenter, 78, was killed Sunday, April 14, during a shooting at the Salmon Arm Church of Christ that left another man injured.
“There’s a lot of people he informally parented through the years, just being there for people who are struggling,” said Gordon’s son David, deeply shaken by the loss.
David said his father lived his faith and took his role as church elder seriously.
“For him it wasn’t just work, he was actually there for people,” David said. “He just 100 per cent gave of his time and his energies to serving others.”
Every Sunday afternoon, after church, Gordon would meet with elderly members of the congregation who have difficulty leaving their homes.
David said his father was an expert at connecting with people.
“If it was little kids, he would get right down on their level and talk to them so they felt respected and understood.”
David described Gordon as the patriarch of a large family with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren both nearby and in the U.S.
“I know that all of my mother’s family looked at him as a brother and, in some cases, maybe even as a father figure.”
Gordon was born in the U.S. and served in the U.S. Navy. He worked as a manager for Coca Cola, a job which brought him to the Vernon area in the 1980s. The Parmenter family came to the Shuswap when Gordon bought a stake in a pig farm in Tappen in the late ‘80s.
“He loved this area, he loved the people here,” David said.
In his spare time, Gordon tried his hand as a pilot, scuba diver, rock hound and cabinet maker. David said his father accomplished a lot in his life and was always learning and trying new things.
A fire, which the police called suspicious at the time, tore through the trailer Gordon lived in on March 14. The family escaped the fire unharmed.
“Our family is really thankful for the last month. After they had that near-death experience we spent lots of quality time with them,” David said.
“We didn’t know we had so little time.”
In light of the tragedy on April 14, David said he is especially thankful they were able to salvage a few boxes of photographs from the fire at the trailer because it reminds them of what has been lost.
David said the family is feeling as though they are missing their nucleus, a man whose face constantly wore a smile and who always had an encouraging word to share.