Ponch Tyson Thomas Bird remembered as good-hearted man who looked out for his friends

Photos of Ponch Tyson Thomas Bird sit on a shelf at MacKenzie Funeral Home, where friends and family members gathered for a wake service on Friday. Bird is Prince Albert’s second homicide victim of 2023. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Ponch Tyson Thomas Bird was remembered as a good-hearted man who always looked out for his friends during a wake service at MacKenzie Funeral Home in Prince Albert on Friday.

Bird died of injuries sustained at what police identified as a known encampment in Prince Albert on July 22. His death is Prince Albert’s second homicide of 2023.

On Friday, friends and family paid their respects to a man remembered for his positive attitude.

“He is dearly going to be missed,” said Garth Prosper, the supervisor at Moose Lodge where Bird was known to visit. “He was one of the good guys, I’ll tell you that right now.”

Prosper was one of a group of Moose Lodge staff members and volunteers who attended the wake to pay their respects. He said the last few days following Bird’s death have been emotional.

“When he would show up with other friends, he was appreciative and grateful, and just generally a good guy, and a happy guy at that,” Prosper said. “I never heard any peeps out of him—nothing but ‘thank you.’”

Friends and family packed into the MacKenzie Funeral Home chapel Friday afternoon for a lengthy service. Attendees were invited up to the podium to share their best memories of Bird. Many said he was always a positive person who looked out for his street family.

“He’d just keep me out of trouble, even though I was older,” one speaker remembered. “(He’d say), ‘just don’t go down that path.’”

“He was a good-hearted man, and he’s gone too soon,” said another, who remembered Bird as someone who was always trying to help others find a meal or a place to stay.

Bird is survived by his mother, Rose Marie Bird, his father, Thomas Lavallee, his two children, his common-law spouse, Freda Ballantyne, numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins, and two godchildren.

The Prince Albert Police Service is still investigating Bird’s death. On Thursday, they executed a search warrant in the 1000 Block of Eighth Street East as part of their investigation. Police arrested one man on outstanding warrants following the search, but have made no arrests in relation to the homicide.

Police have asked anyone with information about Bird’s death to contact them at 306-953-4222.