Ontario couple killed in Tennessee wildfires were set to celebrate 50th wedding anniversary

Canadians John and Marilyn Tegler, the parents of Woodstock Fire Chief Scott Tegler, were set to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary before they were tragically killed with 11 others in the wildfire-ravaged city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

“The last contact we received was somewhere shortly after 8 p.m. Monday night, a text that they were in the process of evacuating the house in Tennessee,” Dave LaPointe, the Teglers’ son-in-law, told Global News from his Woodstock home Friday.

ChangSha Night Net

READ MORE: Canadian couple John and Marilyn Tegler killed in Tennessee wildfires

“I think for the most part we’d come to the reality that we weren’t going to get good news,” LaPointe said, adding family hung onto hope that their loved ones were safe.

“When I saw Scott come in the house last night it was just — no words can describe it.”

He added that Scott Tegler has spent his career saving people from fires and it was incredibly difficult for him to be so far from his parents and unable to help them.

“I guess the irony of the whole thing, I mean he’s 20 plus years with the service and he’s seen it all but to lose his own parents in that respect is just overwhelming,” he said.

“They’re going to be greatly missed.”

LaPointe said family members had travelled to Tennessee in an effort to bring their loved ones’ remains back to Ontario in the near future.

John Tegler, 71, worked in corporate finance and lived in Woodstock with his 70-year-old wife most of their lives.

“Just very family-oriented nice people that would do anything for you,” LaPointe said, adding that the couple also had three grandchildren.

WATCH: Ontario couple among 13 people killed in Tennessee wildfires. Mark Carcasole reports. (Dec. 2)

“[They] doted on their grandkids and their accomplishments and [they were] just two of the nicest people you would have ever met.”

“They were great people and nobody deserves to go out this way.”

LaPointe said they moved to Georgia a little over 20 years ago and later retired and bought a vacation home in Tennessee where they spent their spare time.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Firefighter records terrifying drive through heart of Gatlinburg blaze

“If anything good could come out of it, they were together and they were in a place they liked to be if there’s a silver lining to it I guess,” he said, adding that the local community has rallied around the family.

“It’s been overwhelming, all the support. My phone’s been blowing up all day and the house phone, the cell phone, the emails —; as Woodstock’s getting bigger it’s still a small town.”

LaPointe said the couple were on foot close to their vacation property when they were killed in the blaze.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Gatlinburg man desperate to find his missing family

“We don’t know why they abandoned the vehicle or if they couldn’t get through and were possibly trying to get back to the house to try to ride it out,” he said.

“I don’t know that we’ll ever know that answer.”

Joe Da Ponte contributed to this report

WATCH: 2 Canadians among dead in Tennessee wildfires

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation