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"LER" 2008 Obituary


LEROY 2008-03-07 published
CLEAVE, Marian Frances (née HUNTER)
We are sad to announce that Mom passed away on Monday, March 3rd, 2008 at Strathroy Middlesex Hospital at the age of 88. She resided most recently at the Country Manor in Thedford. Previously she and the family lived in Port Lambton and Sarnia. Mom was predeceased by her husband, William Thomas (Bill) CLEAVE. She will be missed by her five children; Carole CLEAVE of Lake Valley Grove, Babs and Brian COLLIER of Errol Village, Marnie and Nick MECHALKO of Lazy Acres, Tom CLEAVE of Georgetown and Martin CLEAVE of London, formerly Sarnia. Marian adored her grandchildren - Kacy and Rob WEEKE, David and Brooke COLLIER, Mark and Dawn FAIRBAIRN, Jay and Julie SHEPPARD, Nathaniel SHEPPARD, Jenna and Mandy SHEPPARD, Andrew and Di MECHALKO, Mary and Derrik MECHALKO, Tyson CLEAVE and Carrie LANE and Mindy CLEAVE. Her special joys were her thirteen great-grandchildren. Marian leaves behind her older sister Babs LEROY and three nieces and their families in California. She is also survived by Jack and Fran CLEAVE and many nieces and nephews in Canada. She was predeceased by Harry and Verna HUNTER Frank and Jean CLEAVE. In honour of Mom's wishes, there will be no funeral. We invite family and Friends to join us at a party to celebrate Mom's life on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 2: 00 p.m. at the Sarnia Yacht Club, 1220 Fort Street, Point Edward. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Inn of the Good Shepherd or your local food bank would be appreciated (cheques only please). Arrangements entrusted to the D.J. Robb Funeral Home, Sarnia. Messages of condolence can be sent to

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LERVOLD o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-07-11 published
Ottawa pilot lived for his plane - and died in it
By Peter CHENEY, Page A3
For six years, Bruce MacKINNON worked in his garage in southeastern Ottawa, building an airplane so perfect it didn't need paint to cover the errors that usually come with shaping raw metal into a flying machine.
Instead, the naked aluminum skin of Mr. MacKINNON's Van's RV-3 was polished to a mirror finish, exposing every detail. His airplane could stand the scrutiny: Each rivet was flawless, and the panels fit with BMW precision.
"It was a Swiss watch," said aircraft expert Dale LAMPORT, who served as a technical adviser to Mr. MacKINNON. " You couldn't do a better job."
Mr. MacKINNON was a Renaissance man. He was a licensed pilot, a trained commercial diver, and one of the world's top experts in the arcane yet critical field of bird and airplane interaction, studying ways to prevent crashes caused by bird strikes. He was a highly placed official at Transport Canada, but had spent years working as a park ranger. He graduated from the University of Calgary, where he paid his way by working as a machinist.
Mr. MacKINNON was 61, but could pass for 45: He got off the bus miles before his office, so he could get in an hour of walking before work. Aviation was a lifelong passion, and he had always dreamed of building an RV-3, a tiny, single-seat machine that appeals to purists. He bought a kit in 2000. By the time he emerged from his garage workshop six years later, he had created a flying dissertation on the art of aircraft construction, perfect in every detail.
Mr. MacKINNON's relationship with his airplane was not uncomplicated. Shortly after finishing it, he considered selling it, concerned that the dangers of flight might be excessive for a man with a wife and a young daughter. "He assessed the risk, and he drew the line in a new place," said fellow pilot and airplane builder Randy LERVOLD.
But then Mr. MacKINNON changed his mind, deciding that he would keep flying after all. A few weeks later, he e-mailed Mr. LERVOLD to tell him how much he enjoyed his airplane. "Glad you stuck with it," Mr. LERVOLD replied.
And it went on from there. Almost every weekend, Mr. MacKINNON would head out to the Carp Regional Airport to work on his treasured RV-3, then take off for a flight over the green Ontario countryside.
Mr. MacKINNON's love affair with his airplane came to a tragic end last Sunday, when he died in a fiery crash at Simcoe Regional Airport, north of Toronto. Although the accident is still under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board, it appears the crash was caused by a landing that went bad, bouncing him back into the air nose-high and creating an unrecoverable low-altitude stall.
Mr. MacKINNON lived in Ottawa with his wife, Sylvie LALONDE, a school principal, and their 10-year-old daughter, Maxine. Ms. LALONDE wept as she recalled her husband's passion for flying, and for the little airplane that ultimately killed him.
"Bruce loved everything about it," she said. "He loved being in the sky, he loved airplanes and he loved talking to the other pilots. It was part of him."
Ms. LALONDE said she had always harboured concerns about the risks of flying, but knew that it would be useless to ask her husband to quit: "That sense of adventure was important to him. I couldn't keep him back. If I told him it was too dangerous, he'd say, 'You don't understand.' "
Ms. LALONDE didn't find out about her husband's death for nearly two days. She and Maxine had gone to a chalet near Mont Tremblant. Mr. MacKINNON had planned to spend some time flying, then join them later in the week.
When the Ontario Provincial Police finally tracked her down, Ms. LALONDE instantly knew what was wrong. "I know what you're going to tell me," she said.
For his fellow aviators, Mr. MacKINNON's crash is yet another reminder of the risks inherent to their chosen passion. "You can't deny it," said Mark RICHARDSON, an airplane builder who shared a hangar with Mr. MacKINNON. "… You train, you study and you prepare, but you can't make it go away."
Mr. MacKINNON was considered a careful, well-prepared pilot. After completing his RV-3, he travelled to Oregon to take training with an RV specialist, even though he was already an experienced flier. "Bruce wasn't a slipshod guy," Mr. LERVOLD said. "He did everything by the book." As he built his RV-3, Mr. MacKINNON consulted with a long list of builders and experts, picking their brains on everything from aerodynamics to metal fabrication.
Mr. RICHARDSON, who watched Mr. MacKINNON take his first flight in the RV-3 in 2006, said other pilots would study his crash in the hope that they might avoid a similar fate.
"You learn from other pilots' experiences," he said. "You just hope that you don't end up providing a learning experience yourself."

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