Wife has enduring memories of Paul Deering as a great pilot, husband and father

Terry Roberts editor@cbncompass.ca
Published on June 1, 2010
Paul Deering gives a thumbs-up after landing at the airstrip in William's Harbour, Labrador in October 2007. Deering died last week after his plane crashed during a flight from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Cartwright. - Submitted photo

The pilot of the small plane that crashed in Labrador last week died doing what he loved, said his wife, Kerrilynn Deering.

Paul Deering loved the freedom of the sky and was a skilled pilot, she added.

"He always knew he wanted to be a pilot. He always wanted to fly," Kerrilynn said Monday from their home in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The pilot of the small plane that crashed in Labrador last week died doing what he loved, said his wife, Kerrilynn Deering.

Paul Deering loved the freedom of the sky and was a skilled pilot, she added.

"He always knew he wanted to be a pilot. He always wanted to fly," Kerrilynn said Monday from their home in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The 38-year-old father of three - including a baby girl who was born May 21 - was flying his twin-engine Piper aircraft from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Cartwright Wednesday morning when it crashed into the side of a hill.

Also onboard was 45-year-old passenger Frank Bishop Jr. of Cupids.

Both men died in the crash. Searchers found the wreckage Friday night after several days of inclement weather.

Controversy has arisen over the fact that the emergency locator transmitter had been removed from the plane. Kerrilynn said she had no information on that, but said her husband took safety very seriously.

"He was certainly very cautious," she said. "If the weather was down, he wasn't moving. He'd spend a week at a time away if the weather wasn't right. He made the right decisions.

The Deerings are both originally from Bishop's Falls, and have been married for 10 years. Kerrilynn is a nurse.

After several years as a pilot instructor and flying for a commercial airline, Paul started a company - North Wind Aviation - in 2001 because he wanted to be his own boss, Kerrilynn explained.

She said he mused several times about changing careers in order to spend more time with his children, but his passion for flight kept him in the air.

"He was just go, go, go. Whatever he could do to live life to the fullest, he did it."

With great composure, Kerrilynn described her late husband as a wonderful father. He was intelligent, generous and very positive, she added.

"If there was any way to help somebody, he would do it," she said.

He also loved Labrador, and enjoyed boating, fishing and spending time at the cabin.

But his children and family were his greatest passion, she said.

He was a Boy Scouts leader, and had his children involved in music, hockey, skating and swimming.

"He was always there for them," she said.

Kerrilynn takes some solace in the fact that Paul managed to see his newborn daughter before his death.

"He got to spend the weekend with her and his two boys," she said.

Kerrilynn went into labour early and wanted to call on her parents to help out. But Paul insisted they could make do on their own, she said.

"He was like, 'No, let's do this.' I guess it all happened for a reason," she said.

The couple had not yet decided on a name for their newborn. Their two boys are James, 6, and John, 3.

She said James misses his dad, and can't understand why people have to die.

"He's tearful at times. John doesn't really understand what's happened," said Kerrilynn.

Tragedy is not new to the family. Paul's father died in a hunting accident when Paul was a teenager, and Kerrilynn's father died of cancer when she was eight.

And Kerrilynn's sister-in-law was killed in a car accident in Texas less than a year ago. The accident was caused by a drunk driver. She and her husband had four children.

Kerrilynn said she's staying strong for her children.

A funeral service is expected to take place on Saturday in Bishop's Falls.

troberts@thetelegram.com