TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Water pours down the spillway from the Rivers Reservoir into the Little Saskatchewan River just southeast of Rivers on Monday. A Rivers woman is dead and a Brandon man is missing and presumed dead after an ATV accident at the spillway on Saturday.
About 100 people gathered at the Calvary Temple to say goodbye to a Chinese immigrant who was pushed into the Rivers Reservoir spillway by an ATV earlier this month.
Family, friends and co-workers filed into the church Saturday afternoon to pay respects to Jirong Gu, who came to Canada in July 2009 to live with his wife, Shuping Zhang, and young son Yuchen Gu.
The 39-year-old man began working at Maple Leaf Foods in March 2010.
The service was led by Rev. Albert Lee, who spoke to the mostly immigrant congregation, in both English and Mandarin in front a visibly sorrowful young family sitting in a front pew.
Many mourners lined up to place white flowers beside the urn and photo of Gu and by the time the line had passed, the photo was barely visible among the flowers.
"Many relatives and friends will remember Jirong as a gentle, kind man with a smile for everyone," read the obituary.
After songs and prayers, Gu’s young son recited a short speech on the church stage, his chin buried in his chest as he read the paper in his hand. After he spoke in Mandarin, the boy walked over to the black grand piano and played a short song for his father.
Gu also left behind his parents, Peigen Gu and Xiufang Chen from China, as well as his in-laws in China, Jinyu Zhang and Yufang Qui.
On July 12 at around 8:30 p.m., Gu was struck by an ATV at a popular fishing location, about 30 kilometres northwest of Brandon near Rivers. Gu was thrown into the spillway’s fast-moving current, which directs reservoir water from Rivers into the Little Saskatchewan River.
Police said a 58-year-old Rivers woman lost control of the ATV she was driving when she came down an embankment, striking Gu, who was fishing on the north side of the spillway.
Following the accident, sources told the Brandon Sun the two were thrown against a retaining wall and ended up in the water. One or more bystanders were able to retrieve the woman from the water and perform CPR, but she died on scene.
Two days later, Gu was found by RCMP, about 1.5 kilometres downstream from the accident.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 28, 2014