Family mourns tragic death of Paul Rodgers
Prominent seafarer, motorcycle enthusiast killed in head-on collision
Capt. Paul Rodgers of Carbonear did not purchase his first motorcycle until he was in his 50s, and the 64- year- old was more than entranced by his brawny Harley-Davidson.
When riding conditions were right, he took every opportunity to make up for lost time.
“It was something he always wanted to do,” his eldest son Chris said of his dad’s decision to purchase a motorcycle.
It was this love of riding that brought Paul out for a second run on a cool evening on June 23. Paul and his wife Kay had just returned from a run up the North Shore of Conception Bay to purchase flowers for the couple’s garden.
The pair returned home and planted the flowers. That finished and dinner completed, Paul set out on his trusty “hog” again as the sun was beginning its final descent across the sky.
There was a slight wind, nothing powerful enough to dissuade any biker from taking advantage of the evening. Seasoned bikers would say it was the perfect night for a ride.
“Dad wanted to get another run in before dark,” said Chris.
Firing up the engine, Paul set off again for the North Shore. This time, however, it would be his last.
On his way back, police say a white pickup veered into Paul’s lane on Neck Road in Victoria. The two vehicles collided head-on, though police say neither speed nor alcohol was a factor in the collision.
Paul was taken to hospital with serious injuries, and later died.
An investigation in ongoing, and police are not ruling out the possibility of charges against the driver of the pickup.
The tragedy has left a gaping hole in Paul Rodgers’ family, and he will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him. It also sent shockwaves through the motorcycling community.
“He did everything he could for us,” Chris told The Compass on Wednesday. “He loved mom, his children and his grandchildren.”
“Dad also loved riding the bike,” he added.
A prominent seaman
Paul began working on boats in his teens. He started as a steward before progressing up the ranks.
Paul was first mate on vessels with his father Maxwell and eventually Paul became a skipper aboard Marine Atlantic ferries.
“Dad worked up from the bottom,” said Chris.
He began captaining vessels going up the Labrador coast. When the company cut back some of its runs, Paul became the captain of the MV Caribou, ferrying passengers from this province to the mainland across the Cabot Strait.
In 2006, he retired from his position with Marine Atlantic. But, that was not the end of his seafaring.
Paul would become the captain of the MV Northern Ranger, guiding it along the Labrador coast. He also did some pilot work.
Paul made numerous contacts during his years and was known as an excellent ship handler. When a company needed a vessel safely guided into Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Paul was often called upon for his expertise.
“Dad did that in the summers and spent time with family in the fall and winter,” said Chris.
Prior to his passing, Paul had declined a job offer to pilot a ship.
“Dad said he was going to give it up when he turned 65,” said Chris. “He was going to spend time with his family.”
A strong man
Chris described his father as a tenacious man. It is a fitting moniker when you consider Paul courageously fought off cancer twice in his lifetime, even travelling for chemotherapy sessions by himself so as not to burden his family.
First, there was prostate, which was followed by a bought of colon cancer.
“He was a very strong man,” said Chris.
Paul loved to travel, and the couple took many cruises together.
Motorcycles were not Paul’s only passion. He also loved cars, in particular Camaros. Paul had just purchased a new one and was set to enjoy that as well.
“Dad had so much left to do,” said Chris.
A funeral service for Capt. Paul Rodgers took place on Friday, June 27 from Bethany United Church in Carbonear.
Capt. Paul Rodgers