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Lark Harbour still reeling after Christmas tragedy

The Town of Lark Harbour continues to come to grips with a tragedy that saw two of his residents killed in the early morning of Dec. 26
The Town of Lark Harbour continues to come to grips with a tragedy that saw two of his residents killed in the early morning of Dec. 26

Paul Sheppard is trying to come to grips with a Christmas tragedy that has left his hometown struggling with the loss of two respected residents.

Merle Sheppard and his wife, Marilyn, were killed after being struck by a truck as they walked home from a family gathering in Lark Harbour in the early morning hours of Boxing Day.

Walter Alfred Joyce, Marilyn’s brother-in-law who had been home from Alberta visiting family for the holidays, has been charged with impaired driving causing death.

Paul Sheppard, a cousin of Merle, said things have been pretty quiet in the town since news spread about the deaths of the two people known to everybody in the community.

“It’s like somebody hauled a blanket right over us,” Sheppard said from Lark Harbour Thursday morning. “It certainly put the kibosh on Christmas around here.”

Sheppard said people in the community are feeling terrible about the incident because so many people have been affected by it and the closeness of the families hasn’t been lost on anybody.

He described Merle and Marilyn as good people who got along with everybody.

Likewise, he has known Joyce and his parents for many years and considered them fine people who never caused any grief for anybody.

“It’s a sad time and my heart goes out to Alfred and to the Sheppard family,” he said. “I know it was a bad tragedy. I don’t know what happened in there on the road. I don’t say anybody knows that.”

A joint funeral service for the couple is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at St. James Anglican Church in Lark Harbour. Sheppard will serve as one of the pallbearers.

A lot of people are hurting in the community and Sheppard has seen an outpouring of support, not only for the couple, but for the family member charged.

“That poor young man, his life is down the drain,” he said.

Joyce will return to Fort McMurray as soon as travel arrangements can be made, but is staying with family in York Harbour in the interim.

He is scheduled to appear in provincial court Jan. 17 in Corner Brook.

Merle Sheppard and his wife, Marilyn, were killed after being struck by a truck as they walked home from a family gathering in Lark Harbour in the early morning hours of Boxing Day.

Walter Alfred Joyce, Marilyn’s brother-in-law who had been home from Alberta visiting family for the holidays, has been charged with impaired driving causing death.

Paul Sheppard, a cousin of Merle, said things have been pretty quiet in the town since news spread about the deaths of the two people known to everybody in the community.

“It’s like somebody hauled a blanket right over us,” Sheppard said from Lark Harbour Thursday morning. “It certainly put the kibosh on Christmas around here.”

Sheppard said people in the community are feeling terrible about the incident because so many people have been affected by it and the closeness of the families hasn’t been lost on anybody.

He described Merle and Marilyn as good people who got along with everybody.

Likewise, he has known Joyce and his parents for many years and considered them fine people who never caused any grief for anybody.

“It’s a sad time and my heart goes out to Alfred and to the Sheppard family,” he said. “I know it was a bad tragedy. I don’t know what happened in there on the road. I don’t say anybody knows that.”

A joint funeral service for the couple is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at St. James Anglican Church in Lark Harbour. Sheppard will serve as one of the pallbearers.

A lot of people are hurting in the community and Sheppard has seen an outpouring of support, not only for the couple, but for the family member charged.

“That poor young man, his life is down the drain,” he said.

Joyce will return to Fort McMurray as soon as travel arrangements can be made, but is staying with family in York Harbour in the interim.

He is scheduled to appear in provincial court Jan. 17 in Corner Brook.

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