The victim of last week’s tragic farm fatality in South Surrey has been identified.
The B.C. Coroners’ Service confirmed Wednesday that Kenneth Mark Nootebos, 51, died Oct. 6 on rural property in the 15600-block of 40 Avenue, while working on a mechanical beet-harvesting project.
“At about 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2016, he became entrapped in some of the machinery,” spokesperson Barb McLintock said in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon. “He was deceased at the scene.”
Nootebos, 51, is well-known on the Semiahmoo Peninsula as one of two brothers who operate Mary’s Garden, a family business with roots dating back to 1966.
Facebook tributes describe Nootebos as someone who was always there for his friends; an inspiration who will be sorely missed.
White Rock Coun. David Chesney calls Nootebos “a hometown hero in every sense of the word” who worked to help whoever “he crossed paths with.”
Writes Jas Singh, of neighbouring God’s Little Acre: “Kenny always said he wanted one day to be a hero. He was a hero all his life.”
Art Molenkamp describes Nootebos as “a man with a golden heart.”
Tributes and memories continued to pour in, with family, friends and coworkers past and present remembering the longtime resident.
“So, so sad – I had a big hug from Kenny a couple of days before this happened,” writes Colleen Holt. “I’ve known the family for 45 years and the kids all grew up together. My condolences to all of the Nootebos family.”
An Oct. 8 post on the Mary's Garden Facebook page states the week “has been a very difficult and sad one for the Mary’s Garden family but we just want our customers to know that the farm is still open for business…”
In the comment section underneath the post, customers and former Mary’s Garden employees left heartfelt messages and memories.
“Ken was a wonderful person. I remember when I was working there, he would show up with surprise mochas for everyone,” writes Jillian Lebeck.
“Our thoughts are with you all,” writes Laura Jones.
WorkSafeBC, BC Coroners’ Service and Surrey RCMP continue to investigate, according to McLintock.