Popular crossing guard Eric Saide guides a student safely across 24 Avenue in South Surrey. Below

Popular crossing guard Eric Saide guides a student safely across 24 Avenue in South Surrey. Below

‘Amazing’ South Surrey crossing guard remembered

Popular longtime crossing guard Eric Saide died Thursday at Peace Arch Hospital

A popular South Surrey crossing guard is being remembered as a sweet man who was “so great” with kids.

Eric Saide – who guided children safely across two of South Surrey’s busiest road for nearly two decades – died Thursday at Peace Arch Hospital. He was 86.

“That man was amazing,” Saide’s wife of 47 years, Carol, said Monday.

Saide became a well-known sight to drivers starting in 1998, when he began watching over children crossing 176 Street at 20 Avenue, as they headed to the now-closed Grandview Elementary.

After eight years, he took up post in the 17100-block of 24 Avenue, where students heading to and from Pacific Heights Elementary counted on his watchful eye, and motorists came to know his trademark two-finger wave.

“Never the hand open, always the ‘V’ sign,” Saide told Peace Arch News in a December 2015 interview … “At the beginning, only maybe 50 per cent would wave back.”

Saide – who had eight children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren – officially retired from his crossing-guard duties just over a year ago.

At the retirement assembly, students spoke of Saide’s friendly smile and teachers described him as “all the students’ favourite person.”

Former students echoed the sentiments online, thanking Saide for his years of service and a wave that “would just permeate my heart all day.”

Saide joined the ranks of the Commonwealth Frontiersmen in 1976, and volunteered as a crossing guard because he enjoyed the people he met, took pleasure in watching all the kids grow up in front of him and didn’t like sitting around.

Born in Looma, Alta., he spent 50 years in the aviation industry, as an aircraft engineer with AirWest, then AirBC. He told PAN it was a career that afforded him opportunities few others get – including sharing a drink with future Ugandan president Idi Amin.

Carol Saide said her husband spent his last six months in the hospital, after collapsing at home in June. At that time, doctors didn’t expect him to survive more than two or three weeks, she said.

“He was so determined and so strong,” she said. “I used to tell him he’s like a Duracell battery. He goes down, and he charges up. He used to tell me, don’t be surprised, I might be here until I’m 87.”

She described the unexpected extra months in hospice as “a blessing in a way.”

“Everybody got their time with him, to talk, whatever they wanted to talk about,” she said.

“He was a really good person,” she added.

“When he died, I was hugging him and telling him how much we all loved him.”

A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 21) at Aldergrove Canadian Reform Church, 26655 24 Ave.; a burial is to follow, on Jan. 25 in Alberta.

Eric and Carol Saide

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Photo: Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
COVID-19 vaccination bookings start Monday for some Surrey seniors

First up is seniors aged 90-plus, and Indigenous seniors, elders aged 65-plus

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

B.C. RCMP Lower Mainland District officer, Asst. Commissioner Stephen Thatcher presents RCMP blankets to (from left) Chief James Hobart, Chief Maureen Chapman, Chief Derek Epp and Chief Mark Point. (RCMP)
Historic agreement significantly expands Indigenous role in Lower Mainland policing

Community Safety Agreement builds relationship of ‘trust, communication and prevention,’ says Chief

Most Read