09/20/2013 00:02 EDT | Updated 11/19/2013 05:12 EST

Bus crash victims a microcosm of 'official' Ottawa

As the names and identities of the commuters killed in Wednesday's horrific bus crash were released it became clear how much they represented a microcosm of suburban life so representative of Ottawa.

They were civil servants, university students or employed in the high-tech industry, interconnecting worlds that came together in the front of a double-decker bus that would tragically strike a train at a level crossing during Wednesday morning's rush hour.

Ottawa is first and foremost a government town, but also a high-tech hub, home of the once-great Nortel, and a centre for universities.

In a way, the six victim are representative of so many people who come to Ottawa, or stay here, because this is where the jobs are, and where homes in leafy suburbs are still within grasp.

Michael Bleakney, 57, a engineer with Public Works and Government Services Canada, often cycled the 30-kilometre trek from his home to Portage Place in Gatineau, Que., where PWCSC's offices are. But on Wednesday, he was on the number 76 bus.

His friend, Randy Waugh, described Bleakney in a interview with CBC as simply "a funny man" who embraced Scottish culture to the point of taking Gaelic lessons although he had no Scottish ancestry. He was lead tenor in a local, award-winning choir.

Embodying the few degrees of separation that mark Ottawa communities, Waugh said he "vicariously" knew two of the other victims.

In his bagpiping circle, Waugh explained, another piper who called him yesterday turned out to be the cousin of the bus driver who was also killed. The father of a 21-year-old student who died was a bass player he once jammed with.

Ottawa, he said, has "grown to become a big city, but still has a smalltown feel."

Karen Krzyzewski, 53, worked for Library and Archives Canada, a 28-year veteran who believed in the value of libraries, according to the statement issued by LAC.

An internal message to her colleagues from the acting head of the LAC said "tragedy had struck one of our own" as he remembered Krzyzewski as someone who left her mark on the organization and was also known for her skill with knitting.

Perhaps only in Ottawa would a cabinet minister issue a personal condolence message, as Heritage Minister Shelly Glover did Thursday for Krzyzewski.

Ottawa is home to several universities and colleges, so it's not surprising the two youngest victims were students.

Connor Boyd and Kyle Nash, both 21, attended the same high school, and on Wednesday, en route to Carleton University, were likely sitting together on the bus.

Their Facebook pages are full of lore — their love of board games, comic books, science fiction — so predictive of clever boys who turn into young men on their way to bright futures.

Nash, who also studied at Algonquin College, had an extensive portfolio of films, graphics work and video games he had designed, and, making use of the Ottawa advantage, he had worked part-time at Statistics Canada.

Boyd, majoring in English, had taught English in Hong Kong and was also spending time studying game design.

His father, Rob Boyd, runs the Sandy Hill Community Centre, a harm-reduction site for HIV victims and IV drug users.

It's wrenching to read Boyd's Twitter feed Wednesday as he frantically tweeted the bus company, the city of Ottawa and even a CBC reporter trying to find out the number of the crashed bus.

Rob More, 35, had cerebral palsy and took the bus daily because he didn't drive. He thrived in Ottawa, eventually finding a job in a high-tech firm that became part of IBM, where he helped in the cafeteria and in the setting up of meetings.

His father, Mike More, told CBC reporter Kate Porter that his son learned work skills at LiveWorkPlay, an Ottawa-based group that helps people with intellectual disabilities and has a vision of building "a community where everyone belongs."

"He liked sitting on the second floor of the double-decker, looking out the window. He was doing what he liked doing," More said about his son.

Dave Woodard, 45, the driver who was killed, seemed to click with the commuters on their long route into the city. His wife, Terry Woodard, told CBC her husband would come home with "amazing stories" about how his passengers reacted to him.

"Some lady brought him cookies, thank-you cards for the ride that he gave them," she said. Another passenger commented on "how good he smelled."

The victims, all six of them, found success in Ottawa, and it seems a good deal of happiness.

What stands out in the photos of the Fallowfield crossing where they died is how surprisingly rural it appears, the vestige of a rapidly expanding city that still has bucolic edges.

But it's also now the site of a bus crash — in the words of Waugh, who had trouble speaking of his friend Bleakney in the past tense — that has "set the whole city into a state of shock."