Greg and Jamie Blair, two Nova Scotia natives with a love for the outdoors, were seldom seen apart from their family.
They would fish, canoe, hunt and drive four-wheelers on the dirt roads near their home with their siblings, children and grandchildren. Everyone lived in Truro, a large town in Colchester County about an hour north of Halifax.
“If there was a party, we were all there. It wasn’t just one, it was the grandkids, everybody,” said Kelly Dawn Blair, Greg’s older sister. “We did everything together, everything, all the time from the time we were kids until now. We’re very close.”
Greg and Jamie were among the 22 killed over the weekend in a horrific mass shooting that spanned several rural Nova Scotia communities.
Tomorrow would have been Greg’s 46th birthday, said Blair.
“It would have been a good day. It would have been,” she told Global News from her Truro home. “We’re going to celebrate still, which — that’s what he’d want.”
Greg, 46, and Jamie, 40, were business owners and operators in Truro. Their company sold and installed natural gas and propane units in the area.
They left behind four children: Tyler, 27, Craig, 24, Alex, 11, and Jack, 10. Blair said the eldest son will take care of his younger brothers.
“Ty is great with the kids, always has been,” said Blair. “It’s just hard to believe. I still don’t believe it.
“I just wish they were still here and we could celebrate with them tomorrow or this weekend.”
Both Blair and her cousin, Steve MacKinnon, described the couple as the life of the party — always trying to make everyone in the room laugh. It’s that fun-loving spirit that led them to embrace the family’s nicknames for them — “Frog” or “Froggy” for Greg and “Chicken” for Jamie.
“I don’t know why (Frog), that was my mother,” said Blair, smiling. “Chicken — that’s what we called (Jamie)… cause when my brother first got with her, all she would eat is McChickens, so the two oldest boys started calling her Chicken and we’ve called her chicken for 19 years now.”
Jamie is originally from Masstown, N.S. MacKinnon, who flew in from Oshawa, Ont. to be with his family, and said she was the kind of woman who would consider it “rude” if you visited their house without staying for supper.
“She’d have enough cooked for everybody. Very warm, welcoming people,” he told Global News. “People that was around they always made laugh.
“Greg was like a comedian with his vocabulary. He was one of a kind.”
Both Greg and Jamie had “hearts of gold,” he said. “If you needed anything, any time of the day, he’d be the first one to help ya.”
Blair said her family is coping with their loss as best they can under the restrictions of COVID-19. She’s already in touch with a local funeral home, she added, but has no idea when a date can be set for a celebration of life.
“It’s gonna be hard because when it does come that we can have it, it’s going to be like starting it all over again,” she explained. “That’s going to be hard to do.”