In Mark Jordan’s downtown Edmonton office, there’s a photo of his smiling father, one of a precious few the family has of him in police uniform.

“He’s never forgotten and always close to me,” he said.

He does not have many memories of Cst. Ian Jordan. He was just 16 months old when his father was injured in a serious crash that left him in a coma for three decades.

The officer was responding to a break and enter when his police cruiser collided with another cruiser on September 22, 1987 in Victoria, B.C. Both officers were responding to the same call.

For 30 years, Ian was breathing on his own and required a feeding tube.

Mark has many memories of visiting his father in hospital and having conversations with him. His father always listened.

“There were some non-verbal cues, but other than that there was no verbal contact, so it was difficult. But I always felt close to him,” Mark said.

Ian’s health had been declining, according to the family, and on Wednesday night, he died in hospital.

His widow, Hilary, said the family was hopeful that he’d recover in the first six months of his coma, but had since come to accept that he would likely not wake up.

“We’ll miss him very, very much. But we’re comforted that he is no longer struggling, that he is at peace now,” Hilary said in her Victoria home.

She believed Ian was communicating with the family using his eyes.

“He would widen them occasionally, especially when I talked about Mark. So we’re not just sure what his level of consciousness was, but I’d like to think he knew more than we thought he did,” Hilary explained.

Mark said he also noticed his father’s eye movement whenever he would visit, but said those interactions are “even more special” knowing that his father would usually respond whenever he was mentioned.

“I always liked to think he knew that I was there,” Mark said.

Tribute to his father 

Before Ian joined the Victoria Police Department, he earned a law degree from the University of Victoria.

In some ways, Mark followed in his father’s footsteps: studying political science from the same university and going to law school.

In 2016, he was called to the bar and he is now a criminal defense lawyer in Edmonton.

“The fact that I went into law, he went to law school, that was a bond that we had even though I never got to speak to him,” he said.

On his desk overlooking downtown, he has photos of his father, mother and grandfather.

“The thought of them being close to me when I’m working, knowing when I have a stressful day I can look to them, or look outside, and feel that they’re there in spirit supporting me.”

A funeral with full police honours is being planned.

With files from CTV Vancouver Island