Reunion with first homeless brother leads to second homeless brother

In an odd twist, stories that helped Diane Marlatt reunite with her lost brother in Saanich help locate second lost brother in Toronto

Good Samaritans helped Gary Marlatt

Good Samaritans helped Gary Marlatt

Last August, Diane Marlatt sat with tears in her eyes at a Tim Horton’s restaurant in Victoria and met her brother Gary who had been lost from the family for more than 25 years.

Through an article that ran in the Saanich News, Diane learned that Gary Marlatt, then 64 and suffering from years of untreated mental illness, had come to be known as “Derry.”

The soft spoken man was a fixture around Greater Victoria Tim Hortons locations, the jumping off point for two anonymous Good Samaritans to help him connect with doctors, mental health agencies, and his family.

Diane, who travelled from her home in Welland, Ont., was pleased to have met with Gary’s care providers. She confirmed his identity and helped him secure long-term housing and social services.

Most comforting, though, was the knowledge that her younger brother, after years of living on the street, was alive.

Now almost exactly a year later, it happened again.

A second of Diane’s five siblings who had also been disconnected from the family for more than 40 years and living on the street, was located this week.

Although the details are changed, the core of story remains the same. An outreach worker in Toronto had come across the stories about Gary in the News and contacted Diane to confirm the identity of her other lost brother, Bob.

“I was delighted and mystified,” Diane said. “It was my summertime surprise.”

A day after Diane first spoke to Bob, now 63, since he left the house as a teen, she’s able to laugh about the experience.

“Bob’s always danced to his own drum – both boys did – but they were different drums,” she said.

One of the few details that Gary remembered from his past was that he had a brother named Robert – despite having had not seen the man in four decades.

Diane, who had searched for her brothers periodically over the years, attributes her brothers’ disconnection from the family to the lack of love and abuse they suffered at the hand of their father. It was a situation she felt unequipped to intervene in as a young girl.

Bob now has Diane’s telephone number and an invitation to meet her and the surviving members of the family. Unlike her trip last summer to meet Gary, she’s waiting for Bob, who doesn’t face the same mental health challenges as his brother, to reach out.

“I’ve had a good career, three sons and five wonderful grandkids,” Diane said. “Now it’s kind of nice to have things tucked into place. I’ve always had unfinished business with my brothers.”

Gary remains stably housed in Saanich and is happy and healthy, according to friends.

“Bob was always a fun-loving, happy guy and he seemed to be quite happy when I talked to him,” she added. “It’s been a gamut of emotion.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Royal Bay pride crosswalk restored following graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Colwood high school

Victoria police retrieved a number of stolen items May 15 after arresting a man and woman squatting in an empty building. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police look to return stolen items following arrest of squatters

Golf clubs, power tools, jackets, cell phones and a MacBook Pro were retrieved

Protesters seen here rallying against the injunction order on April 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP enforce injunction at Fairy Creek blockade

Protesters can remain but police will ensure open access for loggers

A building in the 300-block of Mary Street sustained significant damage Saturday night after a suspicious fire was started. Police arrested an arson suspect Sunday. (Courtesy of Victoria Fire Department)
UPDATE: Vic West shelter resident to be evicted following suspicious fire

Building in 300-block of Mary Street sustained significant damage Saturday night

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance after sustaining life-threatening injuries. (Collin C photo)
Motorcyclist airlifted with life-threatening injuries after Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

(PQB News file photo)
RCMP on the hunt for serial Rathtrevor Beach flasher

Two separate incidents noted at provincial park on April 30 and May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Most Read