After an assault by armed robbers claimed the life of a La Ronge restauranteur, the community has begun to mourn a man who loved to help local youth succeed.
RCMP said Simon Grant, 64, was assaulted by masked men after hours at his restaurant, Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que. The perpetrators fled the scene with cash, and Grant was airlifted to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon where he succumbed to his injuries Monday.
Town Councillor Jordan McPhail said Grant gave him one of his first jobs at the Subway in La Ronge. Grant, he said, was known as a great employer of young people. McPhail said Grant’s death has shaken the northern town.
“He was well known to a lot of people in the community,” McPhail said. “Everyone is shocked.”
Grant was known to some as “Subway Simon” after the van he drove while managing the sandwich shop, McPhail said, and was also a staple at local hockey games where he ran the concession.
“A lot of at-risk youth were employed by Simon and he was very, very patient with them,” McPhail said. “He was always focused on hiring young people and being a mentor for them.”
Grant had a great sense of humour and loved to tease, McPhail said, but there was always an added push in the right direction. McPhail said part of the reason he entered local politics was due to Grant often asking him, in his half-teasing way, “Why don’t you clean your act up and run this town already?”
“He’d always give you that little extra to make you smile,” McPhail said.
McPhail said he hopes Grant is remembered for the many positive contributions he made to the community, and not just for the tragic circumstances surrounding his death.
“There’s still so many positive stories, such as Simon’s life, that don’t seem to make the news until something bad happens,” McPhail said.
Desiree Schafer, who had recently started working for Grant at Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que, said Grant was a kind, genuine man who was well-known throughout the community and loved by his staff.
“He and Cora have always treated his workers very well – like family,” Schafer told paNOW. “He was a very upbeat person and had such a contagious energy about him. I’m just really shocked this would happen to him. I know he is already missed by so many people.”
Schafer said the community is “heartbroken” at the loss, and tributes have already begun to collect outside Louisiana’s.
“People have been stopping by the restaurant to leave flowers and pictures just outside the front door in memory of him,” Schafer said. “Simon touched so many people’s lives.”
Even after his passing, Grant’s legacy is one of hope; a family member told paNOW Grant was an organ donor, and today his donation saved at least five lives.
RCMP said their investigation into Grant’s death is ongoing, and have asked anyone who was in the area Saturday night to come forward. Tips can be directed to the La Ronge RCMP detachment or made anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
The investigation is being treated as a homicide.
On Twitter: @TMacPhersonNews
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