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Brad Mccarron

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For those who may be unaware, Brad McCarron passed away on Thursday, November 22nd after battling cancer for the last couple of years. He was brave 'til the end and even told a visitor in his last week that there were countless people in the world worse off than him. I can only hope that I have the same aplomb when and if I'm faced with that situation.


I attached Brad's obituary to this for a bit of a career summary, which was varied, successful and, from what I can see, a lot of fun.


I have known Brad for almost 16 years, all of which time he was heavily involved in helicopters and occupied several different positions. I can still remember him with his cherubic smile (and red suspenders) walking around the office spreading sunshine. Brad believed that every dark cloud just needed a little dusting off and he often proved it. I am trying to remember if I ever saw him down and I cannot recall such a time. I have seen him very angry but he was still able to smile and maintain his composure through it all. If you didn't know him you probably wouldn't even realize he was angry.


At Brad's celebration of life, at his home near Duncan last Sunday, his house was packed with people from all over the country who had come to pay their last respects. Although there were some tearful moments it was really a joyful tribute to a man who was a great father, husband and human.


Many people who knew Brad well took the microphone (including his oldest son Leo, who did a great job for a child of any age, let alone a boy of only 5 or so) and regaled the rest of us with stories of meeting, knowing and loving him.


A common theme amongst many of the speakers was how Brad had lured them into a false sense of security while giving them samples of his home made hooch. I was able to relate as he had once done the same to me and I can still remember how impressed my wife was when she had to pull the car over on the way home so as to avoid a cleaning bill later. It was a leather interior so I'm not sure what she was so concerned about. Brad was going to help me make my own fractionating (he was the closest thing to an expert I have ever met) still so I could follow in his footsteps but unfortunately time ran out.


I never got a chance during Brad's Celebration of Life to grab the microphone and relate any stories, although I did manage to tell a couple out on the deck as a few helicopter people stood around and shared their experiences of knowing him. My favourite story of my own experiences with Brad relate back to when he was in marketing back in the 1990's.


We had just finished a job and thought we were supposed to head back to Edmonton. However the cook in the camp we were in came out to the helicopter and informed us we had to call Brad before going anywhere. I managed to reach him on his truck phone and over the sound of the humming tires he told me the plan had changed and we were to go to Sylvan Lake the next morning to start another job. I didn't know where Sylvan Lake was and Brad told me, "No problem, just head to Red Deer and you'll see if just before you get there". I asked if he had coordinates for the staging area we had to go to and he said, "I don't have them yet but can give them to you tomorrow. I will be ice fishing in the southwest corner so just come and land and we can talk". This sounded dubious to me so I asked how I would find him. He said, "There will be a half dozen of us out on the ice and we'll wave when we see you. You'll find us no problem". Satisfied with that answer my engineer and I called it a day. I should have looked at the map and called him back.


The next day we got in the helicopter and headed towards Red Deer. By this time I had glanced at Sylvan Lake on the map and had a rough idea where it was but failed to give it the detail I should have. You see it's difficult to find the southwest corner of a lozenge shaped lake that runs northwest-southeast. Exceedingly difficult. When I was about 10 miles back and could just barely make out what I figured was the lake in front of me, I studied its shape on the map. I pointed it out to my engineer and asked him where the southwest corner was. He just looked at the map, then looked at me, then looked at the map, then looked at me again. I took it back from him after thanking him for his help. I decided that since there was no southwest corner I would start with the northwest (sort of) corner and work along the west shoreline trying to find the 6 fisherpeople. How hard could it be to spot 6 people out on the ice of a frozen, white lake?


Apparently Sylvan Lake is a hotspot of fishing activity. When I was 5 miles back I started to see what appeared to be black spots all around the perimeter of the lake. I thought perhaps it was one of those lakes that has a swampy area with lots of stumps and snags around the edge but then it became obvious that some of the spots were moving. Only some of them though... the other thousand or so spots were quite still.


This was the day that I discovered if you fly low and slow along a shoreline where hundreds (at least) of people are fishing they will all wave at you in unison. I landed 5 times that day before I finally found Brad. I knew it was him because when we landed he came out to the helicopter instead of running away like all the other people had. After I shut down I got out to explain to him there was no southwest corner and all the difficulties I had experienced. He never stopped smiling during my explanation, laughed very hard when I was describing all the people who waved me in and who then ran away, and then he said, "Well you made it here so if it was a test you passed"! He then asked me if I would mind unloading the helicopter so I could take his friends' kids for a ride. Of course I didn't mind. That's the kind of guy Brad was. Almost nothing ever phased him.


November 22nd has always meant the Kennedy assassination to me, although that occurred before I was born. Forevermore, for me,s Obit.pdf it will mean the day Brad left us.


RIP amigo,




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I am very saddened too hear of Brad's passing......one of the good guys I have known for many years, and always good times when we got together.

Sincere condolences to Brads family......he will surely be missed.

Godspeed my friend.

Bob Kellie

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I met Brad when he was Base Manager for NMH Houston. I would frequently go over to Houston and help him out. Brad played in the local Rec Hockey league and had said to me, "next time you come over bring your gear and play." So the next time I did. Being as it is Rec Hockey it was not very serious. I can't remember if we were winning or not but the other team had a guy who was taking the game way more serious than the rest of us. We line up for a faceoff and Brad lines up against this guy, I will never forget and still laugh when I think of it. Brad says to the guy, "Buddy, there are no scouts here, they left about 15 years ago!"

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  • 9 years later...

I am the son of John Bradford McCarron and I can tell you it’s been hard living without him for 10 years. He passed away when I was 5 years old and since then always thinking if he is proud of me doing this or that. I’m not religious but I feel as if he is looking down at me. My dad was a sympathetic, kind, a good-sport and a hard worker until the end!

Now that I’m 15 years old a lot of family and friends say I look like him a lot but more importantly some say I have his heart.

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