Saskatchewan

Lloydminster man killed while changing tire remembered as 'amazing father'

Tanner Graf, 22, was a common-law husband and a father to a baby girl when he died on Highway 16.

Tanner Graf was common-law husband, father to baby girl

Tanner Graf was 22 years old at the time of his death when he was struck by semi-truck while changing a tire on a northwest Saskatchewan highway. (Submitted by Melissa White)

A 22-year-old man who was struck by a semi-truck and killed while changing a tire on the side of the highway is remembered as a loving partner and father, and a man who loved his job. 

Tanner Graf worked for a tire company in Lloydminster. As part of his work duties, he was helping a stranded driver who needed a tire change on Highway 16 near Paynton, Sask., early Friday evening. That's when RCMP say a passing semi-truck struck and killed him.

RCMP did not say if charges are pending against the driver. 

Graf was a common-law partner to Katelyn Smiley, 22. Together they have a four-month-old baby girl named Sadie, his mother-in-law told CBC news on Sunday. 

Graf remembered as 'amazing father'

Tanner Graf's common-law partner Katelyn Smiley and their daughter Sadie observe a roadside memorial set up for Graf after he was struck and killed on the side of a north Saskatchewan highway by a semi-truck. (Submitted by Melissa White)

"Tanner was so dedicated to his little girl," his partner's mother, Melissa White, said. "He'd come home on his lunch breaks just to see her, pick her up and dance with her. He was just an amazing father."

She said Graf was a respectful man and a good partner to her daughter. He also had a goofy side and was well-liked among friends and family.

White said her daughter is having a difficult time dealing with Graf's death, but said it's been a comfort seeing how people in their community of Lloydminster have been sharing their condolences and support with her. 

"She looks at Sadie in constant reminder. I think she's angry because her daughter is going to grow up without a father, knowing how much of a loving dad he is," White said.

"You just don't think of something like that. You don't think that when you go out to your job, that something like this is going to happen. It's so tragic."

Graf's widow, his parents and other mourners placed a roadside memorial for him on Saturday at the site of the crash.

White said they made a wooden cross covered with photos of Graf and his family, and held a small memorial for him near where he died. She says a more formal service is still being planned. 

Fundraiser started for Graf's family

Tanner Graf's daughter, Sadie, wraps herself in her dad's favourite sweater while holding his hat. The photo was taken Sunday morning, two days after Graf's death. (Submitted by Melissa White)

White recently moved to Nova Scotia and is working on getting back to Lloydminster to be with her daughter. Shortly after Graf's death, she started an online fundraiser on the gofundme website to help her widowed daughter.

White said she was overwhelmed by how people are willing to help her grieving daughter and granddaughter any way they can.

"Katelyn's now a single mother, and I think that's one of her biggest worries right now is being a single parent and the worries of, 'what if I can't do this or get that?,' and just to help her along with the baby."

White also said a friend of Smiley's is working on organizing a benefit in Lloydminster for the family.

Tanner Graf and his common-law partner Katelyn Smiley pose together in this photo provided by Smiley's mother. (Gofundme)

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