Fam­ily mourns tragic death of Paul Rodgers

Prom­i­nent sea­farer, mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­ast killed in head-on col­li­sion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Capt. Paul Rodgers

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