Brother says he'll miss carving with Ronnie Taylor, well-known artist in N.W.T.

Ronald Taylor was found dead on Twin Pine Hill last Wednesday. His brother says he’s going to miss carving with his younger brother, Ronnie, most of all.

Ronald Taylor, 51, was found dead on Twin Pine Hill last week

Ronnie Taylor, 51, was a well-known carver in the Northwest Territories. His body was found in May on Twin Pine Hill in Yellowknife. (Submitted by Nora Taylor)

Derrald Taylor says he's going to miss carving with his younger brother, Ronnie, most of all.

Ronald Taylor, a well-known carver in the Northwest Territories, died last week. The 51-year-old's body was discovered on Twin Pine Hill by RCMP last Wednesday. 

The brothers are both carvers. Ronnie was born in Inuvik and grew up in Tuktoyaktuk. He moved to Yellowknife in the 2000s, shortly after his brother.

Even before the move, Derrald said Ronnie would visit the city to carve with him.

"Me and him used to stand beside carvings and we'd brainstorm, we'd just look at carvings and decide what to do," Derrald said.

"I think those are the times I'm going to really think of him, when I'm doing my work, because he helped me out a lot."

A 'funny character'

Friends describe Ronnie as a 'funny character' who was always quick with a joke.

Ronnie Taylor carved often with his brother and friends. He's being remembered as a 'funny character' after his death earlier in May. (Submitted by Priscilla Taylor)

Eli Nasogaluak, another artist in Yellowknife, knew him for more than 40 years. The pair met when Ronnie was a child, and used to carve at the same studio in the city.

Nasogaluak said he hopes people remember his friend for his good character.

"He was a really nice guy to hang around with and visit and joke around with and laugh," Nasogaluak said, adding Ronnie was passionate about his work.

Derrald Taylor, Ronnie Taylor's brother says he'll miss carving with his brother. Ronnie Taylor's body was discovered on Twin Pine Hill by. (Submitted by Nora Taylor)

"He's just the type of fellow who just brightens up someone's day by joking and laughing."

Ronnie taught carving to children and adults and held workshops in Yellowknife with his brother. Before that, he was a carving teacher in Tuktoyaktuk.

Ronnie also participated in the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik, where his brother said Ronnie would hold workshops and mingle with students to pass on his knowledge.

Ronnie's struggles

Despite his happy demeanour, Ronnie struggled with an addiction to alcohol for over 20 years, Derrald explained. 

Things became really bad for Ronnie over the past year, and he began spending many nights on the street.

"He was trying to find ways to get off it, but he couldn't find a way," Derrald said.

The territory's coroners office is investigating how Ronnie died, a spokesperson said. 

Derrald said he feels his brother's death could have been avoided if better resources were available in Yellowknife.

"Not only my brother, but there's been other deaths ... and I think it's the same story. It's just from the addictions," he said.

Eli Nasogaluak, another artist in Yellowknife, knew Ronnie Taylor for over 40 years. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

"The sobering centre and the day [shelter], they're really handy but that's just for the day and overnight sleeping," Derrald said. "What they need is a detox centre where they can receive the help and try to get off their addictions."

Derrald is planning his brother's funeral in Tuktoyaktuk.

The family hopes to hold the service this weekend. A GoFundMe campaign was started to help raise funds to fly family members to the funeral.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Derrald Taylor as Ronald Taylor in photo captions.
    May 17, 2018 9:21 AM CT