Ferry captain rememberedPacked memorial service sends Andrew Pelley known as skipper of the MV Lafferty on his final voyage
Northern News Services
Thursday, February 16, 2017
LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON
When Andrew Pelley received his promotion to be captain of the MV Lafferty ferry, he couldn't have been happier.
Stella Nadia, left, and Andrew Pelley became fast friends and poker buddies. - photo courtesy of Stella Nadia
Already a familiar face on the ferry, which navigates the Liard River across to Fort Simpson, his promotion to captaincy was a source of pride, according to his friends.
"We were all so very proud of him, and we could see that he was proud of himself, too," said Stella Nadia, a good friend of Pelley's.
Pelley died unexpectedly on Feb. 8. His death came as a shock to the community, and to friends, family and loved ones who remembered him during a ceremony at the Fort Simpson Rec Centre on Feb. 13 as a man whose mere presence could light up a room.
Amy Michaud, a longtime friend of Pelley's, said the ferry captain moved to Fort Simpson when he was in his 20s.
During the celebration of life and subsequent feast, and as condolences spread on social media, an image emerged of a man with a big heart and a contagious laugh, who would do anything for his friends.
Always smiling, he touched the lives of many with his kindness, love of laughter and jokes. He became known for making instant connections and life-long friendships.
Nadia, who knew Pelley for years, described the day of his death as one of the saddest in her life.
"When I first met him, there was an instant connection," she said.
"I knew then I had made a good friend."
Even after his captaincy, when he changed from "Andy from the ferry" to "Captain Andy," his vibrant personality remained the same, she said.
"Andy was the type of guy who loved to laugh, joke and play some pretty serious poker - the type of guy who would go hard or go home," Nadia recalled.
"Many hearts broke and many lives changed on Feb. 8."