The dawn of a new year is a time to both imagine the seemingly endless possibilities the next 12 months may bring and also remember those whose lives ended in the year gone by.
Families will mourn the loss of loved ones in their own way, but as a community Prince George remembers some high-profile people who were laid to rest in 2012.
Bob and Anne Martin both spent decades in public life and the husband and wife died weeks apart in November.
Anne, a former municipal politician, arts patron and advocate for children with disabilities, died on Nov. 11 at the age of 80. In addition to the nine years she spent on city council, she will be remembered for her work with the Child Development Centre, the Two Rivers Art Gallery, UNBC and a host of other local causes.
"She had an incredible capacity for work and also impeccable integrity," former mayor John Backhouse said. "She had the community at heart in everything she did and so, as a member of council and one of my colleagues, it was very easy to work with her."
Her husband Bob died at age 79 on Nov. 27. Bob, who sat on city council for three years in the 1970s, was also known for his political work behind the scenes with the NDP. He was credited with helping get Paul Ramsey and Lois Boone elected provincially.
"I think that was the thing he talked about more than anything else, helping other people get to where they were going to go," said Peter Martin, the son of Anne and Bob.
Four local mill workers were also laid to rest in 2012 after a pair of industrial accidents shook Prince George and Burns Lake. On Jan. 20, Robert Luggi, 45, and Carl Charlie, 42, were killed in an explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake. Three months later on April 23, Alan Little, 43, and Glenn Roche, 46, died when Lakeland Mills in Prince George went up in flames.
Many other workers were injured in the two blasts and investigations have been launched into what caused the deadly explosions. All four men were remembered for their hard work and dedication.
"He was one of the most reliable, hard-working employees we've ever seen," Sinclar Group Forest Products president Greg Stewart said of Roche. "He was courageous and he stood up for his himself and his friends and co-workers. He was never afraid of a challenge."
Len Whitehead remembered how his friend Little would always be there to help someone in need.
"If you needed help, he was the first guy there and he'd ask for nothing in return," Whitehead said. "He had an amazing way of connecting with people, he was just a good listener. He was a man of absolute unassailable integrity."
Prince George also mourned the death of the Altizer family, killed in a collision on Highway 97 north of McLeese Lake on Feb. 9. Matt and Leah, their children Jonathan and Emily and Matt's sister Heather Kress were travelling to Vancouver to watch a Davis Cup tennis tie between Canada and France.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral at the Civic Centre for the family and well wishes came in from across the country.
"The moment we learned of the tragedy was horrific. We were almost in shock, we didn't know how to react," Matt and Heather's brother Eugene Altizer said. "And then from that moment on, the support, the letters, the flowers. . ."
Matt, who worked at the Citizen as a systems analyst was 40 and had been married to Leah, 35, for 16 years. Jonathan, a Grade 9 student at Prince George Secondary School was 14, and his sister Emily, in Grade 7 at Westwood elementary was 12. Heather was 47.
Holly Hill, the 33-year-old daughter of former Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill, died in May after getting a blood infection when her immune system was compromised due to chemotherapy treatment. Holly was being treated by Dr. Suresh Katakkar, and the chief oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the north used some unconventional treatments.
Katakkar was eventually suspended for violating BC Cancer Agency protocols and resigned in June. Some of Katakkar's former patients and their families were outraged at his departure and Jay said his daughter would have felt the same way.
"I know that Holly would want me to speak out on behalf of the doctor," Jay said. "If she was still alive she would be appalled at what's transpired partly because of her."
Don Beal, 77, died Sept. 17 after being featured in a series in the Citizen examining end-of-life issues. Beal spoke about his time living at Prince George Rotary Hospice House and the support he received from family and friends as well as staff and volunteers at the centre.
Greg Matters, who was voted by readers at the Citizen newsmaker of the year, also died in 2012. The 40-year-old military veteran was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he was shot in a police incident on Sept. 10.
Other notable residents who died last year include prominent lawyer and former CNC chairman John Galt Wilson; former city councilor Phyllis Parker; Prince George Sports Hall of Fame member Ken Larsen and forestry pioneer Allan Stevens.