Charlottetown businessman and aviation pioneer Bob Bateman died this week. I met Bob only once, at a breakfast in West Royalty a few years ago, but over the years he showed me great generosity several times.
Back in the early 1990s when Bob was operating Prince Edward Air I approached him on behalf of a Red Cross Rwanda fundraiser that we were organizing on Victoria Row to see if he might donate a prize for our raffle; without hesitating he offered a flight to Halifax and a stay at the Lord Nelson (ironically, and somewhat embarrassingly, it was my brother Steve’s name that the late Gene Maclellan drew from the hat at raffle time; Steve never redeemed his prize).
Years later, in 2003, when I learned that my friend Catherine Hennessey had never seen Prince Edward Island from a small plane, I emailed Bob about the possibility of getting her up for a flight; his quick reply:
Catherine is a friend, and has my deepest respect for all the good she has done for both Charlottetown and PEI. It would be our great pleasure to offer her an aerial sightseeing tour. In fact, I would like to do the flying. And, don’t worry about any costs; it’s on us!
I had the pleasure of working with Bob’s son Scott during my time with the Province of PEI, and I have always admired the work that Bob’s family has done to support the autism communiy on PEI.
My thoughts are with Bob’s family today; they, and Prince Edward Island, have lost a good man.