Friends and supporters are raising money to help ship a man’s body home to his family.
Hugmar Baarh, a man well known on the local music scene and the skateboarding community, was found dead from accidental causes in his home recently.
Baarh had lived in Nanaimo since 2006, studied at Vancouver Island University’s jazz music program and gave private music lessons.
“He did a lot of open jam nights around town and he had performed here and there,” said Russ Morland, of The Electric Umbrella tattoo and gallery. “Lots of people would know him and he also worked as a chef in kitchens, so the chefs around town would know him as well.”
Morland has taken up the challenge to raise cash to have Baarh’s body returned to his family in Aruba, a small country in the Caribbean.
There are cultural and legal issues around cremation in Aruba and storing and shipping human remains is costly. Because Baarh’s family does not have the means to cover the transport costs, estimated at about $10,000, they need the community’s help to get his body home to Aruba.
Morland is raising additional money to help Baarh’s mother, Marieta Hernandis, fly to Nanaimo to claim her son’s body and to cover accommodation costs or to find someone who could offer her a place to stay.
Hernandis hopes to return to Aruba with her son’s remains early next week.
“I think they’re pretty much blue collar type of people, for sure, from what I can tell,” Morland said. “I mean, not many people just have $10,000 sitting around.”
People in Aruba are also raising money to help cover costs of funeral services there, Morland said.
There are also plans to build an additional feature at the Nanaimo Skate Bowl dedicated in Baarh’s name.
“We’re hoping to do something for Hugmar here at the downtown skatepark, which is in dire need of replenishment anyway,” Morland said.
Donations have have poured in from local supporters, friends and from Baarh’s friends and extended family in the Netherlands.
People can also drop off donations at The Electric Umbrella, 321 Wesley St., Underground Skate and Apparel, 6 Victoria Cres., and Island Riders, 6404 Metral Dr.