Mildred Knight is convinced Gordon Boyd Noseworthy is a relative.
Mildred Knight and her husband Albert recently found out from a Weekend Telegram article that a man she believes is her relative died in Ontario with no next of kin identified to the hospital. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
She found out the Pouch Cove native was dead in North York, Ont., when a family member mentioned a Weekend Telegram story and she picked up a copy at the supermarket.
“I knew when I read it, it was him,” Knight said during an interview in her St. John’s home. She said a Pouch Cove resident had contacted the family to let them know the story was in the paper.
Hearing Noseworthy’s voice on his still-active answering machine Monday, Knight nodded her head and said it was definitely him.
“That’s him. That’s his father’s voice,” said Knight.
She said her father’s sister, Julie Ann (Newell) Noseworthy, was Noseworthy’s mother. Knight, 87, is roughly a year older than Noseworthy, who left Pouch Cove as a young man to strike out for the mainland.
An apartment complex neighbour of Noseworthy’s, Carline Watson, contacted The Telegram last week to say he had died Aug. 3 with no known next of kin. He had mentioned he was from Newfoundland and Watson wanted to let any relatives know of his death.
He collapsed in the complex parking garage July 24 and Watson visited him at the hospital. When he died, she used keys in his wallet to access his car to try to find some contact. Phone bills indicated he called no one and no one called him.
“Wow, that’s fantastic,” Watson said Monday when told relatives had contacted The Telegram.
The Telegram story garnered tremendous interest online and emails from readers who went on a genealogy hunt to try to help identify Noseworthy’s roots. One woman from Pouch Cove said she bought his childhood home and suggested he’d been to visit in recent years.
Another woman emailed late Monday afternoon to say her mother was Noseworthy’s cousin.
And another reader suggested her husband’s family spent part of a summer travelling by boat in the 1960s with a cook named Gord Noseworthy from Harry’s Harbour, Green Bay.
Watson was not granted access to Noseworthy’s apartment. The hospital where she said Noseworthy died, Humber River Hospital, would not confirm his death to The Telegram, citing privacy laws.
Knight said Noseworthy had a brother who is long dead — Victor — who she said died relatively young in Ontario.
Knight described Noseworthy as tall and thin like his father. He kept to himself, never even told anyone in the family where he worked or much about his life. He had been married once, but divorced, a brief fact he also relayed to Watson.
Knight said she only recalls Noseworthy coming home once, for his mother’s funeral years ago. Knight had worked at a nursing home where Julie Ann Noseworthy was a resident and said Noseworthy never contacted his mother, but she set aside a portion of her pension each month to leave him. She died 30 years ago, age 99.
She said Noseworthy didn’t stick around after the funeral.
While she doesn’t have the means to finance his entire funeral herself, she would like to have a grave opened up for him in Pouch Cove.
“I am sure his mother would love it if he was buried by her,” Knight said.
Noseworthy seemed to chose a life in which he kept family at an extreme distance. He had told Watson he had no one.
“He knew I was here. … It was his own decision,” Knight said. “I guess things happen like that.
“He wasn’t the type to mix up with people and they didn’t know his business or anything.”
Knight didn’t have her relative’s contact information and did not know he was sick. She spoke to him once years ago on the phone, but he’d moved since then.
“He’s gone away probably 55 years or something,” Knight said.
“It was only recently I have been thinking about him (that) I wonder, is he was dead? I never heard a word from him.”
Knight didn’t have a photo of Noseworthy.