TRIBUTE: Family mourns tragic death of Paul Rodgers

Prominent seafarer, motorcycle enthusiast killed in head-on collision

Nicholas Mercer
Published on June 26, 2014
Capt. Paul Rodgers
Submitted photo

Carbonear’s Capt. Paul Rodgers had a strong love for riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The 64-year-old did not purchase his first bike until he was in his 50s, and he was making 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 he was struck by the driver of a white pickup truck on Neck Road in Victoria.

Witnesses say the truck swerved into Paul’s lane and the two collided head-on. He was taken to hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries.

The tragedy has left a gaping hole in Paul Rodgers’ family, and he will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

“He did everything he could for us,” Paul’s son, 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 the 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 describes 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 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.


A family man

Paul loved to travel. 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.

“Dad had so much left to do,” said Chris.

A funeral service for Capt. Paul Rodgers is scheduled for Friday, June 27 at 2 p.m. from Bethany United Church in Carbonear.