Sky Scene 06

Douglas Andrew Gerrard

October 14, 1961 ~ January 8, 2024 (age 62) 62 Years Old

Douglas Gerrard Obituary

With great sadness, we announce the sudden passing of Douglas Gerrard of Seech Lake, Manitoba at the age of 62.  

He leaves to mourn siblings Christine (Laurence) Bertram, Alex (Kirsten), Nelson, Lois (Dennis) Ostash and Ian (Cathy) and their families. He was predeceased by his parents, George and Helga Gerrard.

Doug was brought up on the family farm in Strathclair and as the youngest, held a special place in the family.  There was much to do on the farm and he enjoyed few things more than working with his family.   

Following school in Strathclair, Doug studied heavy duty mechanics at ACC in Brandon and then worked at Shoal Lake Farm Equipment. In the early 1980s, there was a very active flying club in Strathclair and Doug obtained his pilot’s licence. Having found his true interest and aptitude, he obtained a commercial pilot’s licence in 1987.  

Doug started his career as a bush pilot, flew for Northways and others for several years and then moved on to the precision flying required for aerial geophysical surveying with Sander Geophysical.

His preference for challenging, hands-on flying also attracted him to aerial firefighting. As a pilot with Manitoba Air Services, Air Spray and Buffalo Airways, he spent many years firefighting in Western Canada, NWT and overseas, mostly with CL-215 water bombers.

In 2006, Doug ferried a post-WWII Douglas A26 from Alberta across the Pacific to Australia via several long and somewhat risky flights. While this was a highlight, he ferried many other single and dual engine aircraft on intercontinental trips that required careful planning and good flying.

Interspersed with firefighting, Doug’s aerial survey and ferry work with Sander continued until last year. This and other work, took him to many countries and to remote locations such as Greenland and the outback of Australia. He passed 15,000 hours as a pilot several years ago, all without an accident in spite of the demanding flying he undertook.

Although Doug’s work took him away for long periods of time and he developed many friends in the industry, home was always the Strathclair area, close to family. When at home, he enjoyed the house he built overlooking Seech Lake, undertook numerous projects including a homebuilt airplane and building a large workshop, worked on aircraft and helped on the farm. He enjoyed reading and was always ready to use his many skills to help. In later years, he filled much of his time at home in his well-equipped workshop.

 Doug was sociable, loved a family gathering, and was always ready to tell a story, especially about flying. Along life’s journey he remained good hearted and forward thinking and will be missed.

" Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings"

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Graveside service at a later date.

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