Wednesday, August 01, 2007

On Monday, July 29th, Nelson Starr of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation passed away at the age of 71 of an apparent heart attack. Though he was never the recipient of any official awards, received not a penny for his efforts and was the focus of little media attention (Lindor Reynolds of the Winnipeg Free Press did do a story on him in July, 2001) he became famous not to just Manitobans but also many other Canadians and even foreign tourists. Starr had a simple idea. For the last 15 or 20 (reports vary on the duration) he and his brother James Starr went out rain or shine each spring, summer and fall to stand in the ditch along Highway 59 on the way from Winnipeg to the beaches on the east side of Lake Manitoba. Each and every car that passed would get a friendly wave. Reports say that over 90% of passersby waved back, and many people would stop to chat and offer gifts such as soft drinks and sandwiches to the brothers. On the occasion of his passing many media outlets have noted the happiness that he brought to so many people. Few would think to spend their retirement years in a pursuit so pure and selfless, and Molly is sure that Mr. Starr was well rewarded by the joy he brought to so many people. The CBC has put together a story on this fine man.
During his life Mr. Starr gathered many fans. There are over 800 people signed up for a Facebook group devoted to him and his brother. In his latter years Mr. Starr lived at the Elders' Lodge on the First Nation, near to his accustomed place as "ambassador of Brokenhead". He and his brother left no children, but he is survived by many nephews and nieces. A funeral will be held on the Brokenhead on Friday, August 3rd.In addition to his avocation as the Brokenhead ambassador Mr. Starr loved hunting through his life.
Given the fact that Mr. Starr gave so much happiness through the last decades of his life Molly has a proposal. When the Governor General's Office finally gets around to lifting the Order of Canada from convicted criminal Conrad Black, Molly proposes that this award be transferred posthumously to Mr. Starr as a recognition that good can be awarded as well as evil. What do others think ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am one of the people that looked forward to a "wave" from one or both of the Starrs.

My family and I always considered it good luck if we were lucky enough to get a "wave".

Nelson will surely be missed.

Ron Mark