Nfld. & Labrador

Jerry Weir remembered as 'man of the people' by former colleagues

The former president of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities was killed in a horrific collision in Robert's Arm on Sunday.

Former president of Coalition of Persons with Disabilities killed in collision in Robert's Arm

Jerry Weir was the town clerk of Little Bay Islands. He had lived most of his life in the Notre Dame Bay community. (Julia Cook/CBC)

Jerry Weir, one of four people whose lives were taken in a horrific highway crash, is being remembered as a leader who was a "man of the people."

Weir, 63, had served as president of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador and was town clerk of Little Bay Islands, a community now preparing for resettlement. 

"Jerry's a deeply caring man. A man of deep faith," said Paul Walsh, Weir's successor with COD-NL.

"He had a deep caring for others and a belief in the dignity of the person, the dignity of every individual, and the importance of equity in our society."

Weir's leadership, which began in 2010, helped catapult the coalition into the community, and strengthen its role working with government toward a more inclusive society. 

He worked to promote his values at every turn, Walsh said.

'We will miss a friend'

Walsh and his colleagues are now dealing with the sudden loss on both a professional and personal level. 

"We get together every month as a board, and as you're aware Jerry was in Little Bay Islands, so we didn't get to see him every month but we certainly heard from him every month," Walsh said Wednesday.

"The board will miss his calming voice, the board will miss his common sense and his reflective analysis of situations. We will miss a friend."

Former president of COD-NL Jerry Weir speaks at a news conference in 2015 on emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities. (CBC)

Walsh extended sympathy to the Weir family and the family of Cyril Winsor, and Kathleen and Kaleigh Madore, who also died in the crash. The lone survivor, Cyril Winsor's wife, remains in hospital in serious condition. 

Weir was also seen as leader in his hometown of Little Bay Islands, Notre Dame Bay, where he acted as town clerk. He was born in the community and came back in 1981 to teach at the local school. He worked there for 30 years before he retired.

Weir was outspoken on the issue of relocation, as he watched his community dwindle in population and increase in age. 

"Jerry was a man of the people, who was a leader, who spoke for and on behalf of others," Walsh said.

"Those are rare people in our lives that truly and deeply care for the individual and for their dignity."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.