Thursday, February 15, 2007

Names from the Ocean Ranger Disaster

Valentine's Day is never just Valentine's Day for me, and I am sure it is true for many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, especially those who were around 25 years ago. It is the day before the anniversary of the Ocean Ranger Disaster. For many of us, February 15th is as recognizable a date as the 14th. Today is the 25th anniversary of the disaster, of the morning when the province woke up to hear the unthinkable, that so many men were lost in one fell swoop. An island used to painful losses at sea or on the ice, suddenly had this new, unprecedented horror. Men lost en masse with no survivors.

I did not know anyone on the Ocean Ranger. My surprise and sadness that day was about the enormity of it while others experienced it on a very singular level, no doubt aware of the hugeness of it all but enveloped in their own personal grief. So how to remember these men 25 years later? Men I did not know.

Well, I took some time to read each name and remember them not as just names or numbers or a part of a famous disaster we remember every year, but as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, boyfriends, grandsons, uncles, cousins and friends; in terms of missed birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations, and wedding days; as children that would never be born and loves never found; as jokes not told and songs not sung; and as a goodnight kiss missed forever. Maybe you'd like to do the same and take a few minutes to read the names and remember someone you may not have known and the families and friends he left behind.

I am so very sorry for your loss, every one.

Jim Dodd
Derek Escott
Cyril Greene
Derek Holden
Rick Sheppard
Frank Smit
Daniel Conway
Terrance Dwyer
Fred Harnum
Randy Noseworthy
John Pinhorn
Dennis Ryan
William Smith
Woodrow Warford
Tom Hatfield
Arthur Dagg
Kenneth Chafe
Gerald Clarke
Douglas Putt
Gary Crawford
Norman Halliday
Wayne Miller
Gord Mitchell
Perry Morrison
Greg Caines
Wayne Drake
Cliff Kuhl
Robert Wilson
David Chalmers
Robert Howell
Robert Fenez
Jack Jacobson
Robert Madden
George Augot
Nicholas Baldwin
Kenneth Blackmore
Thomas Blevins
David Boutcher
Wade Brinston
Paul Bursey
Norman Dawe













Thomas Donlon
Joseph Burry
Leon Droddy
William Dugas
Domenic Dyke
Andrew Evoy
Randell Ferguson
Ronald Foley
Melvin Freid
Carl Fry
George Grandy
Guy Garbeau
Regineld Gorum
Capt. Clarence Hauss
Ron Heffernan
Gregory Hickey
Robert Hicks
Albert Howell
Harold LeDrew
Robert LeDrew
Michael Maurice
Ralph Melendy
Ken O'Brien
Paschal Joesph O'Neill
George Palmer
Clyde Parsons
Donald Pieroway
Willie Powell
Gerald Power
Donald Rathbun
William Smith
Ted Staplton
Benjamin Kent Thompson
Craig Tilley
Gerald Vaughn
Michael Watkin
Robert Winsor
Stephen Winsor
Robert Arsenault
Darryl Reid
Greg Tiller

Names provided by Memorials Online.

57 Comments:

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Steve said...

Tina, like you, I didn't know any of the victims directly. I was 14 when this tragedy happened. I wondered how I would/could post about an event that was tragic, but not affecting me personally. I wondered if I would do it justice. I chose not to try, out of respect. But you nailed it. As I read down through the list, I couldn't help but wonder if I did know any of them. With many commonly Newfoundland names on the list it is likely that I know folks who were directly affected, that did suffer the loss at a personal level.

Makes one realize, 25 years later, what we've been taking for granted is all a gift. A privilege we must enjoy until it is taken away from us.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger Tina Chaulk said...

Thanks, Steve. Sometimes remembering something sad can make us appreciate things more. I'm glad you pointed that out.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Tracey said...

I am one of the ones personally affected by this disaster.... my fatherWilliam A Smith (Canada) was lost on the rig.
It amazes me how as the years moves on how many people tend to forget about this disaster.
It also scares me that if we forget what happened we might tend to relive the past and this might happen again. I pray and hope that I will be proven wrong.
Thanks
RIP Dad!

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Patty said...

Thanks Tina.I lost my uncle on The Ranger and it's nice to know that people remember and still care.I was only 13 but i remember that day always. Bless you George and your coworkers.I will never forget you.Till we meet again... Patty VanDermark

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Patty said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey this is davin jacobson I was related to jack on of the crew members that died on the ocean ranger i was only 7 when this happened. I never really knew my uncle jack but I read the profil and now i know just a little bit more about that tradic day.and I just wanted to say that who ever but this together is an amazing person.

 
At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I knew Tom Hatfield. When I was an undergrad at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., Tom taught me how to thread a film projector for the university film society. We would meet on Sunday afternoon, before the club screening, in the projection room of the theatre. We'd preview each movie, and he'd show me how to splice a break, how to change the tension on the reels to prevent jumping and catching. He wore a woolen tuque, had a great sense of humour, and we watched every film together one Sunday a month, for over a year. I have never forgotten him, or the coverage of this terrible event.

 
At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was offered a job on the Ranger, but declined the job when I was accepted at university. I remember coming downstairs on the morning of the disaster and being told the news, I could not stand and just sat on the stairs to keep from falling. For me, Valentine's Day is not just Valentine's any more, I guess in the same way that for any Newfoundlander July 1 is not just Canada Day

 
At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ocean Ranger Disaster is a tragedy that I will never forget. William Smith was my uncle.

Thank you for posting this.

Connie

 
At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Annette said...

I was indeed directly affected. My Uncle was on the Ranger when it went down. He was the fun loving free spirited cook on the rig.

I was at my Aunt's house the morning that the call came in. I will never forget that morning and all the heartache that it caused to all of our family. My Uncle Ted (Terrance Dwyer) was never found.

He always joked and told us that if the Ranger ever sank him and his buddy would climb to the top of the rig. I guess that never happened since it sank sideways.

My Aunt passed away last year and I think she was looking forward to meeting him again. It was a long a painfull life for her and my cousin.

I love you and miss you very much. And I do hope you two can finish the life you started together, cause everyhing you left here on earth is taken care off.

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Tracey said...

My great uncle was a victim to this tragedy. Even though i barely knew him i still loved and missed him. He was Domenic Dyke, if anyone is wondering. I still wonder how something like this could have happened, why they didn't have life boats or anything that could have spaired their lives and the mourning of others. I know that a lot of others feel the same way as em and probably worse and i think that everything has a reason for happening and i would like to find the reason for this tragedy. But until then, i wish everyone who has to suffer the best of luck to evidentally try to get over teh mourn and live life before you loose it.

 
At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought there were 84 crew members you only names 82 .

 
At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Maurie Nord said...

I believe that it was only the day before that I talked to Guy Garbeau at the Bethel Pentecostal church in Rosemount, Montreal. We discussed the dangers of being a diver on an oil rig, but Guy stated that he was not afraid, because if anything happened the Lord would take him home.

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Larry Buchinski said...

Many of the young men that lost their lives on the Ocean Ranger were on the Ben Ocean Lancer Drill Ship before they were transferred to the Ranger. But not before making the sail from St. John's through the Panama Canal to California. I was a driller on the Ben Ocean Lancer and had the privilege and honor of knowing many of these NL men at work and at play. It was their love of "The Rock" that strengthened the love of home for many of us that worked with them. I have made it my duty to pay tribute at the Ocean Ranger Memorial at the front of the Confederation Building each time I am in St. John's. I do so with respect for the gift I received in true Newfoundland spirit; that of genuine friendship strengthened with a firm handshake. A sad 28th anniversary soon to be. My heartfelt condolences and prayers go to the families of their lost loved ones.

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger Brother said...

I flew down to nfld to see if they would retrieve my brother's body and the search finished and they never could. since then i'm always thinking about him .Where ever you are may God be with you .
love you
Micheal
from Richard

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was not born yet when this tragedy took place. I am very familiar with the story however. I am currently a safety advisor for an offshore drilling company. Please all who were affected by the loss of life in this event, be comforted in knowing that lessons have been learned. I personally use this story in training. The loss of all these brave men will never be forgotten. Their deaths have prevented loss of life on other rigs all around the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends. Everyone of these men are heros to me. I am safe because they were not, I am alive because they passed, I am full of knowledge because they were not, I am protected by them and I work for them.

Sincerely,
Anonymous

 
At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 46 now and graduated high school in 1981, just in time for the 1980's recession. High interest rates and unemployment. Being in Alberta, many of my friends were planning to go work on the Ocean Ranger. It sank before they could get there. We still talk about it, but will never forget the tragedy and how close it almost struck us.

 
At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this- my uncles Robert and Stephen died on the Ocean Ranger- that Valentine's Day was Stephen's 19th birthday. It's good to know that people remember and care. It always seems so strange to think of it as other people must see it, just a terrible news story, when it was our family's heartbreak.

Rest in peace, Robert and Stephen

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger sluggar said...

Tina, I did have someone on the Ocean Ranger, his name was Robert Howell and he was my brother. I always thought everyone would forget about the men on the rig..So I have to tell you it is nice to know that I was wrong...Thank you for thinking of the men and their families as I do every day...

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger Anonymous said...

I too was young at the time of this tragedy...only 5 years old. I attend college right now with a lady that was engaged to Cyril Greene...they also had a newborn at home...such a promising future to look forward to...I find it hard to understand why these things happen...may they all rest in peace...God bless.

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to this day i still remember my good friend Wade Brinston. We grew up in Whitbourne NFLD> I moved away with my parents to the United States but would visit Wade when we would return for Vacations. I still miss my friend.
Sincerly, Bruce Gosse

 
At 2:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my name is Bob Worsham and I worked on the Ranger for a few years starting back when it was in the Baltimore Canyon off New Jersey then made the tow to Ireland. I saw the names of many that I worked with and was very fond of on the list of the departed. Old George Gandy and Tom Blevins and I went back to our Ocean Victory days, others I knew just from the Ranger. I can still see their faces, hear their voices and miss them all. I was lucky enough to have missed that tour in Newfoundland and thank God for it. May God have mercy on all souls lost that terrible night.

 
At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father, Tom Blevins, was on the Ocean Ranger when it went down. All these years later, it was nice to see Bob mention my dads name. I remember the accident all too well. Being 7 when it occurred, my memories of the event, the rescue attempts, news reports, and everything that went with it all too vividly. Thanks to all for keeping the memory of these men alive.
Galliehue Blevins

 
At 12:45 AM, Anonymous bob worsham said...

Galliehue, you dad was a good friend of mine and I remember him showing me the picture of you that he carried on the rig. Feel free to email me if you want to learn more about our days together. wind111@cableone.net

 
At 9:04 PM, Anonymous carol said...

michael maurice was my brother in law and my friend.he was a father to two young children , melissa and jason and a husband to jocelyne and a brother to his brothers.
he was silly and fun and a real prankster.he tried different endevors such as professional cooking and hairdressing. He was very good at drawing and being creative . he loved music but he couldn't sing a note.

he wassn't always sure of his career paths but he was sure he wanted to be a father and a husband thats how he measured sucsess
I miss him all the time

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Lucille said...

It's been 25 years and we are still all affected by this tragedy. My neice and nephew grew up forever feeling the loss of their dad, Michael Maurice. I am only one of many sisters & brothers-in-law that will miss him forever. Not a day, month or year goes by without him in our thoughts. Thank you, Tina for this tribute to so many men who lost their lives that horrible night. None of them will ever be forgotten.

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger ocean love said...

My 22 year old brother-in-law Ken O'Brien lost his life in the Ocean Ranger tragedy .My father-in -law John O'Brien ,a camera man with CBC ,stubbornly remained on the job through out the inquiry .Ken is much loved ,missed and never forgotten .

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger JOANNE said...

My brother in law, Michael Maurice was also a friend and his death was an incredibly sad time for all of us. He was too young to die, and no one deserved to die that way. I think of him often; I see his face in the faces of his 2 children, now grown.He should have been here with them, and us.Never forgotten,I remember his humour and his kind heart.
Joanne

 
At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Pam said...

Tina,
I was at my sons concert last night and they sang the last goodbye song for the ocean ranger and it left everybody with watery eyes. It's nice to know that after all these years even the children who were not with us when this terrible disaster happened pay tribute and remember those gone to the sea. I also remember that day when I was only thirteen at the time and knew of two of the men. Robert and Steven Winsor were my neighbours and very respected in our community and very hard workers. They are always mentioned in our home on the anniversary of this disaster as we will never forget them.

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous jenny v. said...

My uncle was lost on the ocean ranger. His name was gerald vaughn{jerry}. I was 10 at the time.I remember alot of what happened. My dad,thomas vaughn, also worked for odeco for a little while,but had gone back to college when this happened.It was the first time i saw him cry. I know what the loss was to me an my family,and can only imagine what the rest of you felt and still feel.
Uncle jerry's favorite response to "where you goin"? was "bear to see the sun". My hope is that him an dad are cloud jumpin with their dad. Dad and grandad passed in 05,so maybe they all are at peace.
Tina,thanks for the site.Means alot to us all!!!

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger Tina Chaulk said...

Jenny, thank you for your comment and sharing your memories. They add special meaning to go along with the names.

 
At 1:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is mabel. My nephew had a father arthur dagg who was lost at sea on the ocean ranger disaster in 1982. He never knew his father but whitney should at least meet his grandparents, aunt, or uncles. Please, if anyone from the dagg family sees this message, please email me at mms1151@yahoo.ca so I can let my nephew whitney know. Thank you.

 
At 12:35 AM, Blogger Diana said...

Thank you for posting...I never really got to know my grandfather George Gandy that lost his life that day because I was only 1 year old. But I know he was a great man.

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger Patti-Rocky Mtn Stitcher said...

Today we remember our brother Arthur Dagg who would have turned 59 today.

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger Patti-Rocky Mtn Stitcher said...

Oops I mean 58 today

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Tina Chaulk said...

Mabel who posted here looking for relatives of Arthur Dagg, if you could email me, there is a family member who would like to get in touch with you but has been unsuccessful with the email address you gave. Please email me at tchaulk@gmail.com.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger mick said...

I too as a young child lost someone very close to me.My fathers youngest brother ANDREW EVOY was lost with the Ocean Ranger.His body was never recovered,we have never got the chance to lay him to rest and say GOODBYE.I miss you uncle Andy...

 
At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Tanya Mullaly said...

My Dad's close friend, Ken Blackmore, was on the Ocean Ranger...he left a beautiful wife and three young sons. I was 10 1/2 years old and will never forget when the phone call came and the sadness Newfoundlanders felt for all of those who lost sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers.
I hope time does heal broken hearts and that those who have lost their loved ones have found peace and happiness.

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Mark said...

My dad was Cliff Kuhl who was on the Ocean Ranger that fateful night. I was almost 11 years old when he died. To this day I remember the sunken feeling in my heart when the intercom at my school called me to the office at Griffin Park School in Brooks, Alberta. I ran home from school, alone not knowing the fate of my father, but deep down I knew. He was only 33 years old. Valentine's Day has never really been one of my favorite holidays since then. I remember when I turned 34 and thought to myself that I just outlived my dad and how short his life actually was. I miss him to this day. He has missed my two sisters and myself getting married and a total of 8 grandchildren so far. My wife and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in Mexico. We ran into a gentleman whose uncle worked on the Ocean Ranger but had been off the ship the night it went down. He went on to tell me that his uncle had just passed away a couple years ago. What a small world we live in. RIP dad. I hope to meet up with you far in the future.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger Maurie Nord said...

I knew Guy Garbeau and met him only about a week or so before he went out for his final duties aboard the Ocean Ranger. I was a minister of the Gospel in Montreal, and he expressed his faith in Christ. He said there was one other Christian on board. He was a diver, a dangerous job, and I asked him if he was afraid, and he said that he was not, because he was ready to meet the Lord. I am sure that he must have remembered the conversation and probably encouraged his mates to trust in Christ before they went down. He was a fine young man and he is with the Lord now.

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Davin Jacobsen said...

I'm the nephew of jack jacobsen just a quick point that u misspelled our last name i'm not mad just thought i would point it out

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 21 years old at that time and I will never forget these men who lost their life. As of today I am a Construction Safety Officer and appreciate due to this disaster there are better labour safety requlations that are now in use. God´╗┐ bless their family's . Take care Mark Ontario Canada

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Natasha said...

As a Coast Guard Captain, my dad assisted with the recovery efforts. Sadly, only 22 of the 84 were brought home. I have listened to Ron Hynes 'Atlantic Blue' several times already today. This beautiful tribute gives me chills. May they all rest in peace.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBwlR1-jNFA

 
At 1:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my mother telling me when i was younger that my uncle Ron new Arthur well ... God rest his soul .

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember that night, being outside on my deck, and thinking what must it be like out on the sea on the Ocean Ranger. It was so windy, and so bitter cold. Randy Noseworthy, one of the best friends I ever had, was on that rig. I remember sitting in front of the television watching the names of the crew flow up the screen, and bursting into shrieks of despair when I saw his go by. My mother grabbed me and we both sobbed, all night. Barely a day goes by, that I don't think about the night the Ocean Ranger took her crew to a watery grave. This is a beautiful tribute to those men. Thanks so much for posting this.
Kathy

 
At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My uncle was Greg Caines. I am 23 years old and I was born 8 years after this tragedy, but my family shares fond memories of their brother Greg. If anyone knew him or has any stories to share of him, I`m sure my mother would love to hear them! You can email me mbstarkes
@hotmail.com

Matt

 
At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the names. My daughter's father was deeply affected by the loss of his younger brother. They were from Alberta, and like another comment here, at that time the unemployment was high for young people and the opportunity was in Newfoundland. He was handsome, by all the pictures, young, and apparently a lot of fun and really nice with the kids. Gordy's death was terrible and the family took it very hard. It was hard wondering whether he made it to the life raft, or whether he drowned inside - all the details never leave your mind. How did he suffer? Time did not take the hurt away. Every family photo and event; he's just not there. I think only justice could bring some peace.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Marnie Madden said...

RIP Dad, Robert Madden. I was 17 when this happen and life has been hard with out you, but we learn to keep going forward and you would be so proud.
Love you and miss you everyday.
My Brother and I would like to know if anyone out there know how we can get our benefit of it paying our education as promised?
My email is madden_m@hotmail.com
Rip to all the victims of this tragedy.

 
At 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this post while researching the Piper Alpha tragedy. My best friend has a brother who worked on that rig. He was off shift when it blew up taking 167 lives, he was never the same. I worked with a fellow named Rob who's brother Gord was lost on the Ranger, and I could see how it haunted him. Thanks for this memorial.

 
At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Michele Donlon said...

My father, Thomas Donlon and my uncle Robert Hicks both died on the Ocean Ranger. My question is, is there anyway I can find out the names of 15 Americans that were aboard the ranger. I know my dad & uncle and their good friend William Smith are 3 but I have no idea whom the other 12 were. There were 2 William Smiths on the ranger that night. Thank you

Michele Donlon

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Car said...

Does anyone know if any of the men had a 4 month old daughter at the time of this tragedy?

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Gun Farce said...

Norm Halliday was one of my first students at the Commercial Diving School where he started his career. We all felt that if anyone was going to survive that tradgidy it would be Norm. He was large, and physically very strong. A very capable diver that had survived other close calls in the past. We held a memorial at the school, and I can remember doing a interview on CTV after the sinking it was hard to admit he might be gone. Very few bodies had been recovered yet, and we were all still holding out hope he would be found. Now, 34 years later, there is still a Norm Halliday award presented every year to the most capable diver in the graduating class as voted by the class and faculty.

 
At 12:03 AM, Blogger Heather Pullen said...

I lost a friend that day. He and his wife gave me a wine decanter as a wedding gift. It is still in my china cabinet. His name was Wayne Drake. That was 32 years ago now; the shock and sadness of the loss of him and so many others has never gone away.

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am interested to know more about Cyril Greene. Any information would be greatly appreciated

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger Leslie Klett said...

Norm Halliday was my first boyfriend. I was twenty years old. He gave me my first diving lesson, in a swimming pool. I think of him often, and the horrors he must have experienced during that storm.

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Michaela said...

There is one more person. It's my great great uncle Bob. I forget his last name but if you watch some Ocean Ranger movies he will be in most of them. That night he was not suppose to be on the rig that night but his boss asked him to and my uncle wanted to spend time with him family for valentines-day, so he went out on the rig that night, p.s if you watch the move you mite see my cousin Florence (his daughter) being asked questions about that night.

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

Michaela is right! I watched one of the movies and it's true. RIP Bob

 

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