Joe Greif kneels near the damaged bench that is dedicated to the memory of his late wife

Joe Greif kneels near the damaged bench that is dedicated to the memory of his late wife

‘Sick act’ riles grieving man

PORT HARDY—Joe Greif is not a violent man, but the 82-year-old said he wouldn’t mind just a few moments alone with the person responsible for desecrating a bench dedicated to his dead wife.

PORT HARDY—Joe Greif is not a violent man, but the 82-year-old said he wouldn’t mind just a few moments alone with the person responsible for desecrating a bench dedicated to his dead wife.

Greif said he learned about the act of vandalism only after a friend called him.

“He was walking his dog by the seawall and saw someone had taken out the stainless steel bolts and the boards of the bench were lying on the grass,” he said of the bench he paid more than $1,000 to erect in his wife, Lillian’s, memory.

“My wife always loved the water, the ocean, lakes and stuff like that,” said Greif.

“The wife of my old friend, Ben Perlini Sr. put a bench there for him when he died and I thought it be a good thing to do for my wife as well.” Wed on St. Patrick’s Day in 1951, the Greifs were married three months shy of 60 years when a year-long battle with cancer claimed Lillian last December.

The bench is usually a calm place where her husband can go and be alone with his thoughts.

But the thoughtless vandals spoiled that, he said.

“I look at it as some sick S.O.B. … well, because something like this happened it brought out the worst in me,” he said.

Greif called the District of Port Hardy to see what could be done and the municipality quickly replaced the bolts and put the bench together again.

While grateful, Greif said he’s still irked at the person or people responsible for the damage.

“The person who did this should be exposed, it was a very sick act and a memorial should be untouched by anyone.”