'It makes it real that he's gone': Calgary family mourning after man's body recovered from Peace River

Calgary father Aaron Kingma was reported missing after being swept into the Peace River in northeastern B.C. on Wednesday, May 29, 2019.

Nearly two months after a Calgary man was swept away while fishing in northeastern B.C., his body has been recovered from the Peace River.

Aaron Kingma’s sister-in-law, Angela Patterson, said a family in Peace River spotted something in the river near Hudson’s Hope, west of Fort St. John. The family informed local RCMP, who later worked with Kingma’s family to positively identify the body. He had been missing since being pulled underwater by a strong current while fishing May 29.

“We’re relieved that he’s found and we’re able to bring him home. However, it makes it real that he’s gone,” said Patterson.

“We’ll be able to move forward and continue to grieve. We are very thankful to the family in Peace River for their quick thinking and calling it in and not just brushing it off as something in the water.”

Patterson created the GoFundMe page ‘The Kingma’s – We miss you Aaron/Daddy!’ on June 3, with a goal of raising money for Kingma’s wife, Andrea, and two daughters aged nine and one. Aaron was the primary wage-earner in the family, so the money already raised has been going towards day-to-day expenses. It will also be used to cover the cost of transport from B.C. to Calgary and for a funeral.

“We have to wait until the B.C. coroner can release Aaron to us and we’ll make arrangments from there,” said Patterson. “We’ve used the money to help Andrea and the family during this time.”

The GoFundMe had reached over $21,000 by Friday, which was far more than Patterson anticipated.

“There’s been a lot of people who wanted to contribute to the family. It’s helped tremendously for Andrea and the girls, and alleviated a lot of the financial stress that they’re facing.”

Kingma was a good man, said Patterson. He often went on “daddy-daughter dates” with his nine-year-old and didn’t shy away from wearing princess tiaras or colourful stickers when his daughter asked him to. With his younger daughter, he went to baby gymnastics.

“He and his wife were very much in love. They went on dates and loved trying new restaurants in Calgary. She’s taking it day by day,” said Patterson.

She said they hope to reach out to the family who found Kingman and expects the funeral to be in early or mid-August.

— With files from The Canadian Press

sbabych@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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