A Swift Current woman who was among six people killed in a highway crash is being remembered by family and former students.
Retired teacher Carolynne Gould, 71, was on her way to the family cabin in Meadow Lake two weeks ago when her SUV collided head-on with another SUV on Highway 4 north of Elrose.
In the other vehicle was a young family from Rosetown — Troy and Carissa Gasper, and their three children ages two, four and six. RCMP have not said what caused the crash.
Gould’s oldest son, Jody, spoke Wednesday to 650 CKOM about the devastating loss of his mother and a family he never met.
“There’s no animosity. There’s no anger. There’s just pain. Just pain because it’s so tragic for that family – a whole, young family – it absolutely tears my heart apart,” Jody said.
“I lost my mom, but I had a lot of good years with her, and they were just starting, you know, and the fact they are not going to get those years is horribly painful.”
Jody, 44, and his brother Jay, 35, were already at the cabin when RCMP called saying Gould had been in a fatal crash.
While the Gasper family was identified hours after the tragedy, Jody said his family needed time.
“We just couldn’t do it. It was too hard. And really, we weren’t ready – we weren’t ready to put it out there,” he said.
“How do you do it without diminishing the other side? It’s such a horrible accident for the other family involved. There is no way to look at this positively. It’s just a horrible accident on both sides of the coin.”
Jody said the hardest day since the crash was one week later – when he and Jay went to lay flowers at the site and speak to police in Rosetown.
“As I was driving through Rosetown, people were just going to the arena for (the Gasper) family’s funeral. That was tough,” he said.
“There was a large part of me that wanted to go too, but there was so many heavy things happening that day. I just didn’t think I could take it.”
Crash victim was devoted teacher, wrestling coach
Gould was born in Saskatoon but spent many years in Meadow Lake before eventually moving to Swift Current for a teaching job.
She was hired in 1969 as the cosmetology teacher at the then-brand new Swift Current Comprehensive High School. She taught there until retiring in 1999 and continued to substitute teach until her death.
Jody said he’s received calls since the crash from many former students sharing stories of his mother.
“The most amazing thing is the amount of people that have come out and tried to console us. She touched a lot of lives,” he said.
Aside from teaching, Jody said his mother was heavily involved in the community and helped out the school’s track and field program.
When Jody’s high school wrestling coach suffered a heart attack, and couldn’t continue coaching, Gould found a way to help her son and other students.
“Mom, knowing that the program would close, got fully certified as a coach. One of the first female coaches, that we knew of, in Canada,” Jody said.
“She coached me to a provincial championship.”
Both Jody and Jay went on to wrestle at the university level in Regina, where they both still live.
Gould kept coaching in Swift Current for several years until someone else took over. Jody said even after she retired from teaching, Gould stayed involved in the program – becoming one of the three southern Saskatchewan Prairie Masters for wrestling.
“She just loved being around kids and helping them and getting them to achieve their goals – that was my mom.”
A public memorial for Gould will be held Sept. 8 at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School.