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Labrador Heli Crash

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Every so often, there is someone who changes the direction or focus of one's career. Ken Steele is one of the two or three who had such an effect on mine. He went out of his way, a very long time ago, to say the right things to the right people, and the path of my career was changed forever. Thanks, buddy.


Thanks, too, for the good times overseas, for the St. John's pub crawls, for introducing me to new music, and most of all, for leaving the machine running when we landed 14 miles inside Thailand by mistake. But never, ever forget who, after you got shot at, was stupid enough to go and take pictures of the weapons installation for posterity.


Rest in peace, my good friend. And thanks for the stories.

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Passed along from Mike Mason...


Subject: Ken Steele's funeral





As most of you would have known Ken at some period during your careers and few had the opportunity to attend his funeral, I felt that you might be interested in hearing about the funeral. Tuesday, October 9, was a miserable, cold, wet day in Newfoundland. However, when I arrived at the church in Gander, a good-sized crowd had already gathered in the foyer prior to the service.


Having been away from Newfoundland and the offshore for many years, there were only a few faces that I recognized initially; however, soon old faces from Universal, such as Bob Pardy, Bob Bartlett and Eugene Matthews, showed up, as well as Barry Clouter from Halifax. By the time the funeral began the church was two-thirds full mostly with the "graybeards, " people who had worked with and known Kenny during his time with Universal, the Coast Guard and his more recent activities on the Labrador Coast and, of course, friends from his youth in Gander. The service was fairly simple and short with Kenny's sister speaking about Kenny as a child and his brother-in-law reading a letter of fond memories from a family in Labrador where Kenny had spent a great deal of time early in his career.


As I had only flown into Gander late the night before the funeral, I hadn't had the opportunity to talk with Kenny's family and, as there was no reception planned for after the funeral, felt I had missed the chance to speak to some of his friends. However, I should have known better. After the funeral ended, with Bob Pardy and several others, I found myself down at the clubhouse of the local motorcycle chapter where a large crowd had gathered. There the old photos of Kenny and his friends were passed around, old stories and memories were shared accompanied with lots of laughter and partaking of libations. It was interesting to see what a large cross section of society Kenny had contact with, from executives like Harry Steele to leather-clad motorcycle friends, all of the above who came to say their good-byes. I left after a couple of hours and hitched a ride back to St. John's; however, I am certain the "farewell" went on into the wee hours and Kenny was there with the boys to the very end.


To die at a young age was a tragic loss. If it's any consolation, Ken died doing what he loved most, flying, and where he probably most loved being, on the Labrador Coast.


Ken, you won't be soon forgotten!


Mike Mason


(Please pass on to those who you feel might be interested.)

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Its quite sad to see anyone leave this world in such away, especially someone who seems to have touched so many lives and been kind to so many.


Im sure he will be missed and I offer my deepest condolences to all those that knew him.



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