A photo of Nicholas Funke from a GoFundMe page set up in his honour. (Photo:gofundme.com)

A photo of Nicholas Funke from a GoFundMe page set up in his honour. (Photo:gofundme.com)

B.C. man killed while being Good Samaritan on Coquihalla: ‘He couldn’t help but help people’

GoFundMe page has raised more than $15K in honour of 35-year-old Nicholas Funke

A GoFundMe page has been launched in honour of a Surrey man killed while “acting as a Good Samaritan” after a multi-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla Highway on Feb. 11

Nicholas Funk —who is being remembered by friends as a “shirt off his back kind of guy” — saw the crash and got out to help, said his partner Tanya Jones.

“He wasn’t even travelling in the same direction of the accident,” Jones told the Now-Leader, “but he saw it and he stopped and he got out to help. Two days earlier, on his way to (visit family in) the Okanagan, he stopped and helped and pulled somebody out of a ditch. He couldn’t help but help people, it was absolutely who he was.”

Funke, 35, was coming home when the tragedy took his life on Family Day Weekend, just south of Merritt on Highway 5.

Police initially said they did not know the cause of the crash, but a driver in the area told Black Press that a semi-truck appeared to be involved.

See also: One killed in Hwy. 5 crash on Family Day weekend

Jones said the support she’s received has helped her “tremendously” in this time of grief.

“I have an incredible support network and have been so very well taken care of and loved and supported. It’s quite overwhelming,” she told the Now-Leader.

“We were supposed to get married this year,” she added.

More than $15,000 of the $20,000 goal has been raised through a GoFundMe campaign so far.

According to the fundraising page, dollars raised will be used “for a celebration of Life, other costs Jones may have and/or as part of a horticulture scholarship in Nick’s name.”

“Whenever he did any fundraising, it was usually for horticulture scholarships,” explained Jones. “It was something he really believed in and he really supported the horticulture industry in B.C. and Canada, so I would love to have some resources available to contribute to a scholarship.”

Funke had been in the industry for about a decade, Jones noted, starting from a landscaper and working his way up to being an arborist.

Jones told the Now-Leader Funke was “gregarious” and “could light up a room.”

“He has a huge big smile and he was just so genuine in his compassion for everybody,” she said. “He’s a pillar of strength, if you needed some support or help or guidance, you could go to Nick. He would puzzle over it and come up with a plan for you. He’s just such a good guy.”

Jones said she wants people to remember Funke for the “really, really genuine person” he was.

“He was my best friend.”

-With files from Black Press