Salt Spring Islanders are mourning another community loss following the untimely death of Daniel Lantz last week.
Lantz, who would have turned 40 in February, was reported to have died suddenly on Sept. 21. Emergency services including Salt Spring Fire Rescue were called to a north-end property on Monday afternoon. Friends have confirmed that Lantz died in an accident doing tree-falling work that day. The BC Coroner’s Service is investigating to determine the cause of death and any contributing factors.
Lantz leaves behind his wife Aki, eight-year-old daughter Sora and six-year-old son Tida. Kristine Poetker, whose children go to the same school, has opened a GoFundMe campaign with a $50,000 fundraising goal to help support the family.
“They’re a very close family. They stayed close to home a lot and were really supportive and loving and spent a lot of time together. They’re a really heart-centred family with a lot of love for each other and their community,” Poetker said.
Poetker said Lantz had lots of friends and loved to play music. He played drums and jammed weekly with a group of close friends. She added the whole family loves nature and trees and are very connected with the outdoors.
“Daniel was always a shining light, always smiling. He loved to celebrate life every day,” Poetker said.
Aki is originally form Japan and her family is all located there, but she is receiving support from Daniel’s mother Linda, who lives on Vancouver Island and is staying with the family on Salt Spring for now. Daniel’s brother Raymond has also come to B.C. and is making daily visits. The island’s strong Japanese community is lending their support as well.
As Poetker explained, Lantz was the primary earner for the family through his work as an arborist and a tree-faller. His wife was primarily responsible for caring for the children and the home, so the loss will have an ongoing financial impact, as well as being emotionally devastating.
Islander Bryan Young also knows the family and has asked friends to please contribute to the fund if they can.
“Daniel was such a lovely soul,” Young said. “There is a word in Japanese — ‘genki’ — that doesn’t have an apt translation. It means ‘peppy,’ ‘full of bright spirit,’ or ‘positive’ and that was Daniel. He was also the husband to our land when we first bought it, bringing our old fruit trees back to life beautifully.”
A celebration of life for Lantz was held outside the family’s home on Sunday.
Donations can be made at gofundme.com.