Family members of slain senior don’t blame suspect

Family members of an 85-year-old man who died after an attack at a facility for dementia patients in the Okanagan city of Vernon, B.C., have expressed sympathy for the suspect and for staff members who dealt with the tragedy’s aftermath.

VERNON, B.C. — Family members of an 85-year-old man who died after an attack at a facility for dementia patients in the Okanagan city of Vernon, B.C., have expressed sympathy for the suspect and for staff members who dealt with the tragedy’s aftermath.

Bill May was a patient at Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s residential care facility when he died after an incident Aug. 18.

John Furman, a 95-year-old veteran of the Second World War, is facing a murder charge in connection with the case.

During an emotional meeting with the media on Monday, sons Paul May and Scott May called their dad a hero but noted he also experienced several physical confrontations during his two years as a resident of the care home.

Hospital officials are now going to have to ask themselves whether similar tragedies can be prevented in the future, they said.

“We also have no hard feelings for the resident who committed the assault,” Paul May told reporters, noting the incident was a tragedy for all involved. “He could not have been motivated by any personal animosity towards Bill.”

But Scott May questioned whether the provincial government and health officials have done all they could have following a report in early 2012 by BC Ombudsperson Kim Carter.

The 448-page report, The Best of Care: Getting it Right for Seniors in British Columbia, made 143 findings and 176 recommendations about seniors’ care in the province.

Scott May said it appears that not all the recommendations were followed.

“That concerns me,” he said, adding he hopes something can be done to prevent future tragedies.

“It’s a tough population to deal with because of the dementia and potential for aggression,” he said. “So when you’re putting them all together — and I’m not saying you shouldn’t — it’s a bit of a recipe for, you know, potential troubles, and in this case it did.”

He said he doesn’t want other families to go through a similar experience.

The family learned about what had happened when police came to their door at about 1 a.m. Aug. 19. That’s when Paul May was told his dad was dead following an incident with another resident.

He said his father had been asleep in his bed when the alleged assault occurred.

His dad was the son of a First World War veteran, a brother to three siblings, a father to three sons, and a husband for 57 years, he said. He was also a local businessman who worked hard, provided well for his family and was generous but not frivolous.

In fact, he said his father started a local glass plant in 1969, providing jobs and opportunity to the community before retiring in 1989.

Scott May said even though his father didn’t have a university degree, he ascended into a management position in business, a position he arrived at through tenacity, hard work, intelligence, care and passion.

But during his final years, Bill May suffered from dementia and didn’t know who his family was during visits, although he was mobile and in good health, said Paul May.

Nonetheless, he had some kind words for care-home staff.

“Our experience was that the staff are committed and caring group of people, always able to maintain an upbeat atmosphere, speaking kindly but not in a patronizing manner to the residents,” he added. “They spoke fondly of dad, even though he could get agitated at times, though likely no worse nor better than the others.”

Still, Paul May called his father’s death sudden and unexpected.

“Dad was also a hero. He was a hero to many, a hero to his staff, to his wife and his children.”

Just Posted

One of the last buildings needed for Red Deer’s 2019 Winter Games is being completed

RDC residence is on schedule, despite ‘tight’ time-frame, says RDC official

Police, firefighters, paramedics taught counter terrorism this week in Red Deer

Three-day course led by experts on fighting terrorists

Red Deer private school fails to support gay-straight alliances

School could lose per pupil grant from province

Red Deer man patrols streets at night after his truck was stolen twice in 3 months

‘I stay up every single night, they drive around, they test every car door…’

Lowry has strong words for Raptors’ lack of communication after loss

TORONTO — Raptors coach Nick Nurse might not have had a good… Continue reading

S. Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ accuse coaches of derailing team

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The Garlic Girls, South Korea’s hugely popular… Continue reading

Trump administration defends its case against CNN’s Acosta

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to fend off a… Continue reading

Long hidden, Marie Antoinette’s jewels go up for auction

GENEVA — Diamond and pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, a giant pearl pendant… Continue reading

A No-Go: Athletes and officials weigh in after Calgary votes ‘no’ to 2026 bid

TORONTO — Rotating Olympic hosts? A single go-to destination every four years?… Continue reading

Predators may have NHL’s best goalie combo on, off ice

NASHVILLE — Pekka Rinne is off to an even better start than… Continue reading

Canadian Premier League buys Ontario’s League 1, looks to develop talent there

TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League has bought Ontario’s League 1 and… Continue reading

Most Read