Well-known Cupids resident who died in plane crash is laid to rest
Volunteers with the Bay de Grave regional fire department in South River carry the casket of Frank Bishop Jr. from St. Lukes Anglican Church in Port de Grave Friday afternoon. Bishop died last week in a plane crash in Labrador. Photo by Terry Roberts/The Telegram
Cupids resident Frank Bishop Jr. made his final journey through his beloved hometown Friday aboard the back of a fire truck that he spent many hours restoring.
Family and friends say it was a fitting sendoff for a kind-hearted man who gave his all to his family, his community and his job.
Bishop, 45, died May 26 when the small plane on which he was the sole passenger crashed in the Labrador interior.
The pilot, 38-year-old Happy Valley-Goose Bay resident Paul Deering, also died in the crash.
The dark clouds in the sky and the chilly wind blowing off Conception Bay matched the mood inside St. Luke's Anglican Church in Port de Grave as hundreds of family, friends and firefighters from all over the region gathered inside the historic edifice to pay their respects to Bishop.
Provincial fire commissioner Fred Hollett and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dave Denine were also in attendance.
Norma Bonnell, a family friend and chairwoman of the Cupers Cove Soiree summer festival committee, paid tribute to Bishop.
"Frank served his generation and he served it well. His work on Earth is finished," she said.
Bishop's death has been felt throughout Conception Bay North, where he was well known as a dedicated volunteer firefighter with the Cupids, and lately the Bay de Grave regional fire brigades, a town councillor and maintenance worker at the local Quin-Sea fish processing plant. He also volunteered with the Soiree committee.
He was travelling to Black Tickle in Southern Labrador to activate the company's plant in that remote coastal community when the plane crashed into an 1,100-metre plateau about 90 kilometres west of Cartwright.
An investigation is underway, but poor weather is believed to be a factor.
It was a trip he made many times over the years, and Black Tickle had become like a second home to the man known for his ingenuity and strong work ethic.
"He was a man of honour," Black Tickle residents and fellow Quin-Sea employees Tim and Kate (last names not available) wrote in a note to Bishop's wife, Bernice.
Bishop was loved in Black Tickle and there was never an obstacle too big for him, the note said.
The social networking website Facebook has been humming with tributes to Bishop and his family for days, with many commenting on Bishop's warm personality, his dedication to firefighting, his ability to repair just about anything and his free-spirited approach to life. He also enjoyed music.
His death was also deeply felt in the fishing community, since he was the face of the fish plant in Cupids. So it was fitting that as firefighters strained to lift his casket aboard the fire truck, a fishing boat steaming just offshore idled its engines and drifted slowly in a show of respect. At the wheel of the truck, meanwhile, was Bishop's younger brother, Aubrey.
Many say the new fire hall in South River and the restored pumper truck, which had been condemned at one stage, will form part of Bishop's legacy. Bishop and his daughter Cassandra also recently designed a new Cupers Cove Soiree logo. Committee members received their jackets about six weeks ago, said Bonnell.
"Little did I think that the first time I wore mine, which is today, would be at Frank's funeral," she said.
A funeral service for Deering will take place today in Bishop's Falls, his hometown.