When you met Mark McFadden, you met a friend for life. That’s what all his friends say, and there are a lot of them. Enough to fill the Golden Civic Centre in Golden, B.C.
Those lifelong friendships have been tragically cut short, and hundreds of people gathered last month to say goodbye to McFadden in the manner that he would have wanted; with family, friends and laughter.
McFadden died March 16 as a result of a workplace injury while working on one of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s lifts.
Born on Nov. 18, 1975, he and twin sister Marni joined the world sooner than expected as premature babies. After months in the hospital the two were taken home by parents Judy and Dale to join their older brother Tim at their home in Minnedosa.
Mcfadden’s happy childhood on the prairies spawned several passions that he carried with him for his entire life. His love for taking things apart, just to see how they worked, his passion and natural skill for skiing, and of course his mischievous nature that sometimes got him into trouble, but always gave him a great story to tell.
After he graduated high school, the mountains were calling him, and in 1995 he headed west to Banff. It was there he would begin the life he was meant to lead.
Not only was it the place he was able to take his passion for skiing and mountain life, and turn it into a career as a millwright with lift maintenance. It was also the place he would meet the girl who would change his life.
"I moved there in ‘97, and he was dating a girl who lived down the hall from me in staff (accommodation)," said Christine, Mcfadden’s wife and love of his life. "So I had to wait a couple years for him."
Mcfadden was worth the wait.
He went onto become a loving husband and father to the couple’s son Ian.
"He is such a family man, that’s the most important thing to him. He was so incredibly proud of his boy, always will be," said Christine.
Mcfadden was always a hands-on father. Whether it was getting bottles ready or changing diapers, he wanted to be there for his son every step of the way.
As Ian got older, Mcfadden taught him how to ski and fish, took him camping and always had him outside in the shop, fixing the sleds or whatever else needed to be worked on. He was even taking the steps to become a Scout leader to spend more time with Ian.
After their years in Banff, Manitoba and Canmore, the family found a home in Golden. As he did everywhere he went, Mcfadden immediately became friends with everyone he met at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. He forged deep friendships with his fellow maintenance crew and the rest of the resort staff.
His friends will remember him for his infectious full-body laugh, his perpetual happy, and his hard work ethic. They knew he was always there if they needed help, or just needed a friend.
"Mcfadden liked absolutely everyone he met, and even if he didn’t, he would still treat you like a friend," said Christine.
This is a loss that no one will soon be forgetting. And even though Christine has lost the love of her life, she feels nothing but gratitude that she was able to experience a love as rare as theirs, a gift very few people in this world get.
"We were all lucky to have the time with him that we did," she said.
» The Golden Star
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition Apr. 6, 2017