We were honoured to meet Aaron Wallis and his family of Sherbrooke, Quebec again when they attended the Canadian Dry Stone Wall festival near Rockport, Ontario, Thanksgiving weekend, 2010.
It was two days before this photo above was taken (at that festival) that I remember taking a break from the part of the bridge I was working on to watch intently as he had his boys carefully place small pieces of hearting in the bridge we were all building. It was a very moving sight. I thought I took a picture of the family intently working together but can't find it in my files .
Festival of Stone, Oct 2012 - Aaron Wallis at the double-arch bridge.
Aaron had taken part in an arch building course I led the year before at the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. He was so enthusiastic that he brought along two of his employees from his landscaping firm in Quebec. They went back home with some great new skills and Aaron wrote me to say he was totally in love with walling. He also set about to translate some DSWA of Canada website articles into French which I very much appreciated.
We kept in touch, planning to work together again and possibly hold a dry stone festival/gathering in the Province of Quebec in 2011 but suddenly things changed.
The last time he wrote me was to say he had become very sick and that as much as he wanted to, he was not able to remain involved in walling. He wrote to say that his " CTScan showed that the cancer had evolved very fast and that (his) time was counted" though he and his family would continue to do battle against the disease.
Besides the joy of seeing Aaron, it was especially wonderful to see Stephanie and the boys helping again bringing buckets of hearting to be put into another bridge, and greeting friends and wallers from across the world who remembered them well.
I received some very sad news yesterday that Aaron had passed away last Friday morning, January 4 after fighting cancer for over year. The dry stone world has lost a good friend and a wonderful man, and our thoughts are with Stephanie and the boys.