Word spread and the city was in shock. This was old Joe, a fixture on the beach, the saver of many lives, and a teacher for the children - an indestructible force. The hospital telephones range constantly and his room was filled with flowers. Vancouver loved Joe Fortes.
On February 4, 1922, Seraphim "Joe" Fortes died in his adopted homeland, far from the sunny isle where he was born.
The priests fell silent, having finished the requiem for "Our Joe" and the bearers lifted the coffin to begin the slow, quiet, inevitable procession to the doors. It wasn't all sad though. For probably the first and last time on so solemn an occasion in such a sacred place, the deep pipes of the church organ rumbled into the swinging strains of "Old Black Joe".
In that little park where he lived and served for so long, there is a simple granite monument - a drinking fountain, which is low enough for the smallest child to reach. Over it is a modest bronze plaque with the head and shoulders of a heavy-set man and three little youngsters below. On the granite it says:
Little children loved him.
But it wasn't only the children who loved Joe. He was the heart of a Vancouver that lived and grew and worked and built and loved and played quietly and decently and honestly amid the frenetic excitement that superficially characterized the Roaring Twenties.
The inscription says: 'This fountain erected by the citizens and children, co-operating with the Kiwanis Club of Vancouver, commemorates the life and deeds of 'Joe' Fortes. For many years guardian of this beach.
-Little Children Loved Him-
Thanks to Alan Morley and his book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis for the above information.
I hope you find the beauty around you.