The family of a 44-year-old Methuen man, who drowned Wednesday while trying to save a child, has launched an online fundraiser to help pay for arrangements and meet the needs of his four children.
Gary M. Simard, formerly of Haverhill, was identified Thursday as the drowning victim, but his child was successfully rescued from a rip current at Salisbury Beach.
“Gary lived his whole life for his family, his partner Alexis and their four children Gary, 13, Matthew, 11, Olivia, 8, and AJ, 6. Gary’s children all survived but sadly Gary did not. Gary truly was a hero who not only dedicated his life to his children but literally gave his life for them,” organizers wrote.
According to Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker and Salisbury Police Chief Thomas W. Fowler, Simard had been enjoying the day with family when one of the children with them was pulled from the shoreline and unable to swim back. Simard, along with two bystanders then went into the water to retrieve the child.
According to his obituary, Simard began his career working in the family business, Simard Gas and Oil Company, before moving on to car sales at Jaffarian Motor Sales and, for the past eight years, at the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, Mini of Peabody, where he was recently promoted to finance manager.
Calling hours are Monday, Sept. 25, from 4-7 p.m., at the at the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., Haverhill. Funeral services will be held in the funeral home Monday night at 7.
Donations may be made at GoFundMe.com.