I found Tim Jones intimidating at first. He was blunt, got straight to the point. No time for 100 questions.
He always had his phone on him but didn’t like to text. His usual response to a text or email was simply “call me.”
He never said “bye” at the end of a conversation. He just hung up, like they do on TV.
When I accompanied North Shore Rescue on a search for Tom Billings, a U.K. tourist suspected to be missing in the North Shore mountains, I found out just how busy he was.
In search of every detail, I was writing an in-depth feature on the hikers’ disappearance. Tim agreed to sit down with me for half an hour and go over the story — from start to finish — before I got on a search helicopter. During this time he briefly answered calls from the Globe & Mail and Global TV — no wonder he had to keep conversations short.
Tim treated Tom Billings’ disappearance like a puzzle. While searching the mountains, he also canvassed North Van stores for sightings, routinely talked to the Vancouver Police and was in constant contact with the 22-year-old’s family in England.
I wasn’t intimidated anymore after spending that afternoon with him and the rest of his team members.
Tim was who he was, and I could tell he truly worried about the people he was searching for. Yes, he was blunt but he was also caring too.
I was at my husband’s work party when I found about Tim’s heart attack. I couldn’t believe he died because he was always the strong one, the one constantly out saving people.
His memorial was beautiful and I think everything he would want it to be. Helicopters flying overhead, carrying his ashes up into the mountains. His fellow search and rescuers from across the province by his side.
The North Shore has lost a true hero. RIP Tim.