Dahlke remembered as hard worker and 'old soul'
By Sue Tiffin
Friends and family are mourning the unexpected loss of a Dysart man they say was well-known, well-loved and who enjoyed life.
Dylan Dahlke, 29, was killed by homicide in Highlands East in the early morning hours of July 6.
“My mom [Tobey] always thought of Dylan as gregarious,” said Dylan’s sister, Adeilah. “He had absolutely no fear as a child and would make friends of strangers within minutes. He had such a warm and welcoming soul and was able to easily connect with people from all walks of life, and of any age. He was described often as an ‘old soul.’”
Growing up, Dylan loved nature, creating artwork including poetry and glasswork, and music.
“He always loved music, especially rock and roll,” said Adeilah. “He taught himself how to play bass guitar in high school, but later on preferred to sing and play the spoons. From a young age and until his last days he was blasting good tunes at full volume to get the full feel of the song.”
Adeilah lovingly said her brother was, “such a nerd,” who was a “huge role model” for her in their childhood because he seemed to know about everything.
“He was such a fast learner and he tried to gobble up as much information as possible,” she said. “He went through phases of being obsessed with Roman and Greek mythology, the Middle Ages, or Vikings, and he even taught himself how to read Runes.”
When asked to speak of Dylan, his dad, Haro, recited a poem from The Portable Dragon he said Dylan knew by heart. He said his son was most curious and very clever, that he had more talent than even he knew.
“We played a lot of chess together,” he said. “He was a good boy.”
Carrie Brammer, a friend who has known Dylan for the past five years, also said that Dylan was an old soul, and that he was a hard worker wanting to help anyone who needed it. He learned stonemasonry, drywalling, tile setting and roofing and was enthusiastic about work.
“That boy was built like a brick house and he would go, go, go,” she said. “He would go to work all day and then he would come here and do work at my house. He was a go-getter. He was not afraid of hard work.”
Bob Main, who said he has known Dylan since Dylan was a young boy, said he was keen to learn and be involved in projects and was a very giving person.
“He was always eager to help,” he said. “And always enthusiastic, especially when it came to doing something creative. Always very enthusiastic. Spending a couple of hours with you, helping you out ... He wasn’t scared of anything much. He wasn’t scared to get his hands dirty or scared to [do heavy lifting] if he had to, he was a hands-on guy.”
“When he was working, whether on a trade, his artwork, or his garden he was his true self: contemplative, passionate, caring and inspired,” said Adeilah.
But it wasn’t all about work for Dylan, who also really loved a good bonfire, and relaxing with friends. Brammer said she had never seen him with a sad face.
“He would give you, and not even figuratively speaking, he would literally give you the shirt off his back,” said Brammer. “He was always smiling, he was carefree, he aimed to please others. If he could put a smile on your face then it made him smile.”
“Dylan always had a good sense of humour,” said Main. “He had this great deep belly whole-hearted laugh.”
Main remembers a time when the two men were having a laugh outside, climbing a tree.
“Dylan had to outdo me, he climbed this pine tree, of course he had to go right to the top, and then branches started breaking,” he laughed, remembering how the branches broke under Dylan’s weight, slowing him down until he fell from the last branch about nine feet off the ground.
“He got up from that and laughed,” said Main. “He was an asset to the community. We had a lot of fun with him. He loved life, he loved enjoying life, he didn’t let all the little heartaches and everything get to him, he was one of those guys, you know, rock on.”
As part of the ongoing investigation into Dylan’s death, police have arrested and charged Robert Ferguson, 58, of Highlands East with second-degree murder. Further details of the investigation have not been released.
Two celebrations of life will be held for Dylan. One is being organized by friends for July 16 at the Haliburton Curling Club from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and organizers are looking for photos to add to a slideshow. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to help. Another celebration of life will be held on July 23 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the Haliburton Legion.
Brammer said she is expecting his celebration of life to be “packed.”
“He was extremely loved in this community, by everybody,” she said.