Shooting victim: Michael Lunn, a big-hearted family guy

Michael Lunn, who was killed in the Nanaimo sawmill shooting, had seven siblings, three children and seven grandchildren, and a heart as big as his family, a sister said Thursday.

“He had seven sisters and he was good to all of us, every one of us,” said his sister Linda Bledsoe said Thursday. “He’s very, very family oriented.”

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Lunn, a forklift driver at Western Forest Products for nearly 35 years, was the first person shot. He was in the parking lot as he got out of his truck to start work just before 7 a.m. Wednesday. Lunn was also a steward with the union.

Outside the Western Forest Products mill Thursday, family members hung red shirts on the chain link fence in memory of Lunn, who loved to wear red. Those who loved him wrote messages of condolences and dropped off flowers.

Lunn, 62, was married to his wife, Marlene Helm, for 44 years. Bledsoe said he treated her “like a queen.”

The couple have three adult children, Marc, Mitchell, and Marcy, and seven grandchildren, all of whom live in the Nanaimo area.

“He was with his grandkids every chance he could get,” Bledsoe said. “They went on cruises and he went fishing with them. They just travelled everywhere.”

Around Christmas, Lunn could typically be found in a Santa costume, making the kids laugh and handing out presents, Bledsoe said. Lunn was always happy and jovial, she said.

Bledsoe’s family used to to live in Florida and Lunn, his wife and their three kids would often come to visit, making the obligatory trip to Disney World.

Bledsoe recently moved back to Nanaimo from North Carolina and Lunn had promised to drive with her to North Carolina to get the rest of her things.

“He was very selfless,” she said. “He was always helping somebody. His family always came first in everything.”

She has fond memories of a Caribbean cruise with Lunn and Marlene as well as Bledsoe’s husband and son, who both died last year.

Lunn and his family also did a lot of camping around the Island, his sister said.

After his more than three decades at the sawmill, Lunn’s mother was trying to talk him into retiring, Bledsoe said. Lunn and his wife “talked about retiring and selling [their home] and just travelling the world,” she said.

Marlene and the couple’s children are surrounded by family as they try to cope with the loss, Bledsoe said.

“We’re all coping, we’re just being with each other.”

The hardest part, she said, is trying to understand the reason for such violence.

“It’s just hard for me to understand what this is all about. We don’t know if it was a personal thing, was it a work thing, we don’t know.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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