After an assault by armed robbers claimed the life of a La Ronge restaurant owner, the community is mourning a man who loved to help local youth succeed.
RCMP said Simon Grant, 64, was assaulted by masked men after hours at his restaurant, Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que, on April15.
The perpetrators fled the scene with cash, and Grant was airlifted to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon where he died from his injuries Monday.
“He was well known to a lot of people in the community,” said town Coun. Jordan McPhail. “Everyone is shocked.”
McPhail said Grant gave him one of his first jobs at the Subway in La Ronge, and was known to hire young people from the community.
“A lot of at-risk youth were employed by Simon and he was very, very patient with them,” McPhail said. “He was always focused on hiring young people and being a mentor for them.”
McPhail said Grant was known to some as “Subway Simon” after the van he drove while managing the sandwich shop. The restaurant owner was also a staple at local hockey games where he ran the concession.
The councillor said Grant had a great sense of humour and loved to tease, but there was always an added push in the right direction.
McPhail credited part of his decision to enter local politics to Grant, who often asked in his half-teasing way, “Why don’t you clean your act up and run this town already?”
“He’d always give you that little extra to make you smile,” McPhail said.
McPhail said he hopes Grant is remembered for the many positive contributions he made to the community, and not just for the tragic circumstances surrounding his death.
“There’s still so many positive stories, such as Simon’s life, that don’t seem to make the news until something bad happens,” McPhail said.
Desiree Schafer, who had recently started working for Grant at Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que, described him as a kind, genuine man who was well-known throughout the community and loved by his staff.
“Always treated his workers very well – like family,” Schafer told paNOW.
“He was a very upbeat person and had such a contagious energy about him. I’m just really shocked this would happen to him. I know he is already missed by so many people.”
Schafer said the community is “heartbroken” at the loss, and tributes have already started to collect outside Louisiana’s.
“People have been stopping by the restaurant to leave flowers and pictures just outside the front door in memory of him,” Schafer said. “Simon touched so many people’s lives.”
Even after his passing, Grant’s legacy is one of hope. A family member told paNOW Grant was an organ donor, and his donation has saved at least five lives so far.
RCMP said the investigation into Grant’s death is ongoing, and have asked anyone who was in the area Saturday night to come forward.
Tips can be directed to the La Ronge RCMP detachment or made anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
The investigation is being treated as a homicide.
La Ronge is located about 240 kilometres northeast of Prince Albert.