Kris Sturgess, a local well-known prop builder, has died. He was 46. (Contributed photo)

Kris Sturgess, a local well-known prop builder, has died. He was 46. (Contributed photo)

‘COVID has sadly changed how we live and die’: Red Deer prop builder dies at 46

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

The death of a well-known local prop builder has affected “so many people,” says his wife.

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly on April 28 at 46 years old, likely due to complications following a fairly routine surgery, his wife Danielle Timoffee told The Advocate Friday.

He was going to turn 47 this Saturday.

“Kris was a devoted and loving husband and father,” said Timoffee, while adding, his “death was not related to COVID, but his death has certainly been affected by COVID.”

Sturgess was in the intensive care unit for six days before he died, said Timoffee.

“We saw with our own eyes just how COVID is affecting our hospital, the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all the other frontline health-care workers,” she said, adding the virus was not a factor in her husband’s death.

“In a matter of those six short days we saw the entire ICU become overwhelmed with the number of new patients (COVID included) requiring the advanced care only available in that unit.

“I can’t stop from imagining what if that unit was already full when Kris was admitted. What if there were no ventilators available? Although we lost our beloved Kris, they were able to at least try to save him. If there was no bed and ventilator available we wouldn’t have even had that chance.”

COVID-19 prevented many from saying their goodbyes to Sturgess, she added.

“COVID has prevented the boys and I from being able to surround ourselves with the people we love and those that loved Kris to hug and grieve together,” said Timoffee.

“At a time when we need our supports the most, we aren’t able to reach out for that much needed touch. COVID is preventing us from having a celebration of life for Kris that he truly deserves. COVID has sadly changed how we live and how we die.”

Kris had many friends from completely varied and diverse walks of life, said Timoffee. He was always the first to offer help and support to anyone who needed it, friend and stranger alike. He was a generous man who impacted so many people with his gifts and talents.

Sturgess was known as the “builder, droid wrangler and manager” of Red Deer R2D2. He participated in events with the 501st Badlands Garrison and Calgary Ghostbusters to raise money for charity.

He helped raise over $7,500 for charities like Make-A-Wish, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Airdrie Food Bank and Tails to Tell Cat Rescue.

A GoFundMe page, in support of his sons Benjamin and Lukas, was launched this week. As of Friday, more than $5,500 has been raised through the account, organized by Candace Amelia.

A memorial service will be held in the future when COVID regulations allow.

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Kris Sturgess with Red Deer R2D2. (Photo from GoFundMe)

Kris Sturgess with Red Deer R2D2. (Photo from GoFundMe)