Nicole Turcotte was a soldier.
She juggled two or three jobs at all times, volunteered in the community and was all around a level-headed, figure-it-out type of girl, with a gift and passion for photography.
The 22-year-old died in a violent car accident Saturday night on the QEW.
At the time, Turcotte had been attending Humber College for photography.
Friends say they will remember her for her strength, compassion and wild sense of humour.
“The best way I could describe Nicole is that she was just such a level person,” said JamieLee Bahry, Turcotte’s friend since kindergarten.
“She was very, “we’ll figure this out’ or ‘we’ll get through this’ — she always had more-or-less of a solution, and anybody could talk to her, it didn’t matter who you were or where you came from, what you were like. If you needed something she was there.”
The two girls attended the same schools growing up in Niagara Falls, first Princess Margaret Elementary and then Stamford Collegiate.
They also volunteered for years together at Niagara Falls Community Outreach, serving food to the homeless and those in need.
“We loved doing it together. It was our community service for high school but we did it long after that too, because it was just such a bonding experience — and she would talk to everybody there too.”
Bahry admired Turcotte for her sensibility.
“She held two or three jobs at all times and would do anything that she could do to help anybody,” she said.
She recalls a memory of Turcotte coming to visit a couple years ago.
“We went on a nice little nature walk and she took pictures. It was such a passion of hers. She loved being behind a lens — and she was really good at it.”
“Hopefully that will live on. I know it will, in fact.”
In school, Turcotte was known for being a bit wild, so long as it would put a smile on somebody’s face — even with her teachers.
“We thought we were ‘hilarious’ and would try to pull pranks on our teachers all the time,” Bahry recalls.
“We pied a couple of teachers one year, Post-it noted a car … newspapered the entire drama room once,” she said, and even provided photo evidence of the newspaper incident.
“Her passion was photography but all throughout high school she took construction and theatre classes as well. She had roles in many plays.”
“She never gave up,” said Bahry.
Turcotte also co-ran a youth group at Southminster United Church in Niagara Falls for about four years with her long-time friend Mikayla-Lynn Carter.
“It was ages six to 12 and she loved it just as much as I did,” said Carter. “The kids loved her too. They would make the crafts and give them to us so often. They adored her.”
The two also ended up being roommates for some time during post-secondary school.
“I moved to Toronto for school and so did she, so we made a deal … we lived together, and I think if it weren’t for her being there with me I never would have done it — or it would have been more scary than it was.”
“She was a very kindhearted, very full of energy type person … We use to go on hikes all the time, even in the winter time. And we loved camping, even if it was in my backyard.”
“She always put everyone else first and she always, no matter how silly it made herself seem or look in public, would do absolutely anything to make her friends happy and smile.”
Deanna Walters, who worked with Turcotte at a McDonald’s for about three years, said she was a hard worker who was always willing to pick up shifts or work midnights.
“She had a second job at Marineland as well and was always willing to help others out with shift changes and stuff. She was always laughing and smiling with her coworkers, she got along with everyone.”
A GoFundMe campaign to help pay for Turcotte’s funeral arrangements has been organized and can be found at, gofundme.com/39s33-nicoles-funeral.