In Memory of David Scharf — Almonte United Church Tragedy

In Memory of David Scharf — Almonte United Church Tragedy


Brian Scharf was looking and still looking for photos of  the Almonte United Church steeple placement after the church fire , Steeple was placed by Hurdman Brothers crane. My grandfather was killed at the church after the steeple placement,crushed by crane being dismantled. This is what I found– if anyone has clearer photos please email me.

Charlene Scharf-Lafleur added that it was an accidental death. Thank you.

Mark as done

Charlene Scharf-Lafleur
David R Scharf accidental death

Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 19 Jun 1956, Tue,
  3. Page 19


Gail Grabe I remember that day vividly, Brian. I was a young student at Church Street school just a few blocks away. Not sure of the year but it was a horrible tragedy, every time I am in Almonte and drive by the site I think of it.




Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Citizen,
  2. 19 Jun 1956, Tue,
  3. Page 16


Clipped from

  1. The Ottawa Journal,
  2. 27 Jun 1956, Wed,
  3. Page 14


Almonte Gazette June 21 1956

An inquest has been ordered into
the tragic death of David
Seharf, 47 years old of North
Gower, an employee of Hurdman
Bridge & Construction Co., Ottawa,
who was crushed under a
I huge crane which was being tak-
| en apart after lifting the bell and
| steeple onto the Almonte United
I Church tower, Monday afternoon^
CMr. Scharf, lying under a joint
in the crane boom, had just removed
two pins holding two sections
together when he was crushed.
Hard To Understand
Walter Hurdman, of Hurdman
Brothers Contractors, owners of
the crane, said Mr. Scharf, an experienced
rigger, apparently pulled
the pins before his fellow
worker, Albert Lacelle loosened
the cable which keeps the boom
in the air. Normal procedure is to
loosen the cable, then Jake out
of the pins.
Mr. Lacelle could not understand
why the dead man had not
waited. “We take the crane apart
two or three times a day,” he
The accident happened in front
of the church and was a great
shock to spectators who had been
watching the operation of the
giant crane.
The district coroner, Dr. A. A.
Metcalfe considered the circumstances
and decided that there
was no need of an inquest. The
man had been pronounced dead
by Dr. O. H. Schulte” Constables
Keith Crockt’ord and John A.
Ellis investigated the mishap. .
Dr. Metcalfe advised the County
Crown Attorney Mr. J. A. B. Dulmage,
Q.C. of Smiths Falls that in
his opinion there were no factors
that would call for an inquest.
Mr. Dulmage assented. But next
day Mr. W. J. Munro of Ottawa,
provincial inspector for the Ont.
Dept, of Labor, conferred with
Dr. Metcalfe and told him he
thought it might be a good idea
to hold an inquest. It is, presumed
that he was considering the mechanical
circumstances and the possibilities
of future accidents of a
like nature as there was no apparent
evidence of anything else.
When Dr. Metcalfe acquainted
Mr. Dulmage with this request
from the Labor Dept, inspector,
the Crown Attorney agreed that
an inquiry should go forward. The
date was set for Tuesday evening,
June 26, in the town hall, Almonte.
The accident victim, Mr. Scharf,
was born in Cyrville but lived in
Ottawa the greater part of his
life. He moved to North Gower
four years ago. He is survived by
his wife, a son, two daughters and
a number of brothers and sisters.
He attended the Anglican Church.
The body was conveyed to the
funeral parlors of Hulse & Playfair
in, Ottawa and the funeral
was conducted this Thursday afternoon
by Archdeacon C. G. Hepburn.
Owing to an error in the report
of last week’s council meeting it
was made to appear that the special
committee appointed some
time ago to deal with the Hartley
mill situation was ’composed of
Councillors P. W. Strickland,
Archie Levitan and Reeve A. W.
Smith. As a matter of fact Mr.
Levitan did not serve on the committee
and Councillor A. H. Whitten
should have been given the
credit. Mr. Strickland was chairman.
This mistake was not
brought to the attention of the
Gazette by Mr. Whitten but was
noticed in going over the clerk’s
minutes. The committee worked
hard to get a buyer for the good
building which seemed to have become
a sort of industrial orphan
through a series of back-firing


The Almonte Fire 1955– Almonte United Church

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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