Connie Legge lost her dad, Wallace Grandy, to the sea in 2006. The Herald spoke with Legge’s sister, Lori Snook, two years after the tragic death. (Page 13) At the time, Legge – who came from a long line of proud fishermen – had shared that she was determined to carry on the family tradition. That still holds true today.
‘My Dad’s Footsteps’
“Someone had to carry the family genes in their blood and of course it was me who wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” she shared.
Legge started fishing in 1992 while in her last year of high school, going lump fishing with her parents so she could afford a car. Five years later, she wanted more of the sea – and the money.
“How could a girl not love the money she was making with no degrees?”
In 2005 she bought her own enterprise and a year later on April 20, 2006 she lost her dad.
“He lost his life as his boat capsized while him and his crew were depositing their lobsters in the carpots which was anchored just a short distance from shore. I place an annual flower reef there every year in his memory.”
As it was the start of the lobster season, the fishing had to continue. “I still don’t know to this day how I had the strength to do this, but I was in denial/shock and it was years later before I could accept what had happened. Dad was and still is my strength and guardian angel that drives me,” she says.
Tragedy hasn’t driven the Grandy women from the fishery. “I have five female cousins and a couple of female friends who own their own enterprise today,” she says proudly.
Legge says she loves the challenges and the unknowns that she faces everyday as she heads out on the water.
“I strongly praise any female fisher that faces the challenges we endeavour and Mother Nature every spring as we go on the water. It’s a tough livelihood but wouldn’t change a thing.”
(The following is an archived feature First Published, Jan. 20, 2008)
Lori Snook, 36, of Grand Bank misses her father and she wanted a way to remember him. Like many before her, she thought about creating a special Facebook site in his honour. “I felt there was more to it that I needed to do, something a little different,” she says.
She recognized that so many have also lost loved ones they wish to remember. That’s why she created the Facebook site, In Memory of those that have went on to Heaven. “As I was missing my father I spoke with others who also had loved ones that had passed and one thing that everyone had in common was that they never wanted that loved one to be forgotten — ever,” she says.
Snook’s Facebook site is a place to remember. On it, members post pictures of those that have died. They also share poems, prayers and offer each other advice and support. Snook says she has been moved by the response of those who have posted. “Words can be so powerful — the messages that people have posted are so moving and already I feel as if my grief has been eased a little by sharing it with others, and by reading about the loss and healing of others,” she says.
Snook shares the story of the life and death of her father, Wallace Grandy, 55, of Garnish. “My father was a fourth generation fisherman,” she begins. He was a jovial man, a kind and loving father, grandfather and husband. “He was this short, blocky, jolly fella,” she explains.
A Rogue Wave
He was also a hard worker and so he was out on the first day of the 2006 lobster season. The date was April 20th.
“Dad was out on the water with two others when a rogue wave came out of nowhere, hit his boat and it capsized,” she says. Everyone went into the water. While other fishermen managed to save the other two individuals in the water, her father had gone under the boat. Snook says they believe he was knocked unconscious and drowned. He was dead when he was hauled out of the water.
“It was very hard on the family,” Snook says quietly as she recalls that day. Her mother had been preparing lunch and had glanced up and saw her husband out on the water checking his pots. She kept busy, figuring he would be in shortly and ready to have a bite to eat, Snook shares. “When she glanced up again she saw the boats circling around and then the word came…” she trails off.
Snook says being a fishing family, all the kids took a turn fishing with their
father, but the middle child, Connie Legge, later became a full-time fisherperson. That meant they were all aware of the dangers. Yet, there had not been a tragedy in Garnish waters for so long.
“You are fearful, but you always figured those you love would come home when the day’s work is done,” she says.
Snook says the community rallied around her family. In fact, the family were shocked, yet honoured, that so many fishermen stayed off the sea on the day her father was buried.
“The beginning of lobster season is when you make your money, so staying away for a day was a big sacrifice for them,” she says. Going to her father’s funeral cost them money, she says.
Legge gave the eulogy at her father’s funeral. “My sister learned to fish with my father and she spoke of the way he made it fun, how even when she made mistakes (like losing a fish or two overboard) he always joked, teasing that ‘there goes another dollar off your cheque,’” Snook says with a chuckle. Her father, she says, didn’t say anything unless there was a grin on his face.
Snook is moved when she speaks of the Facebook site she created. “I didn’t realize before how much death touches every last one of us, it leaves no one untouched,” she says. Membership is growing, and there are people “from all over,” leaving messages of loss, of love, and of hope.
Watching Over Them
“It’s nice to be able to put a picture up of someone you loved so much, to introduce that person in some way to others who never met them, but who know what you are going through,” she says.
Snook says she still thinks about her father every day. “That first year as the boats set out that season I said to myself that dad is still sailing, just from another harbour,” she says.
Snook feels her father still keeps an eye on their family, and on the local fishermen as they head out to sea.
“The lobster season when dad died was the best lobster season in a long time for this area,” she says. “I believe dad was watching over them, making sure they were all doing okay.”