In Loving Memory of Michael Channer

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"The Mike Channer Memorial High Flight Award"
by Sean S. Poynton
Me and Mellisa
Me and Mellisa

25 July 2005

I was the first recipient of the Mike Channer High Flight Award, graduating from Sault College Class of 2005, and was exceedingly proud to have been given such a prestigious award.

I never knew Mike on a personal level, although from the stories that I have heard about him he was an extraordinary individual. It takes a certain type of person to be able to follow their dreams to the extent that Mike did and I could only hope to live such a rich and meaningful life as he.

I again thank you ever so much for awarding me with such a meaningful award and I to look forward to living out my dreams.

Sean S. Poynton
Niagara - on - the - Lake

"Thinking of You"
by Miranda

4 May 2005

Even though it has been nearly eight months since this tragic loss, I wanted to stop by and give my sincere condolences.

I had known the Watters family who were lost in the accident along with Mike. I think of them often and also of you, his family and friends.

I know that along with the dizzying heights of flying come the unfortunate lows and this was a case of precious lives lost too soon.

My thoughts are with you in mutual sadness as we remember our loved ones. An old flying friend of mine once showed me this poem and I thought how it fit with the descriptions of Mike, and also my friends - love of life and appreciating beauty.

"The Flyer's Prayer"

When this life I'm in is done,
And at the gates I stand,
My hope is that I answer all
His questions on command.

I doubt He'll ask me of my fame,
Or all the things I knew, Instead,
He'll ask of rainbows sent
On rainy days I flew.

The hours logged, the status reached,
The ratings will not matter.
He'll ask me if I saw the rays
And how He made them scatter.

Or what about the raindrops clear,
I spread across your screen?
And did you see the twinkling eyes.
Of student pilots keen?

The way your heart jumped in your chest,
That special solo day-
Did you take time to thank the one
Who went along the way?

Remember how the runway lights
Looked one night long ago
When you were lost and found your way,
And how? -you still dont know.

How fast, how far, how much, how high?
He'll ask me not these things
But did I take the time to watch
The moonbeams wash my wings?

And did you see the patchwork fields
And moutains I did mould;
The mirrored lakes and velvet hills,
Of these did I behold?

The wind he flung along my wings,
On final almost stalled.
And did I know I it was His name,
That I so faithfully called?

And when the goals are reached at last,
When all the flying's done,
I'll answer Him with no regret-
Indeed, I had some fun.

So when these things are asked of me,
And I can reach no higher,
My prayer this day - His hand extends
To welcome home a Flyer.

— Patrick J. Phillips


"Happy Birthday Mike"
by Hilary

21 Apr 2005

Thinking of you on your birthday, Mike. I wish I could buy you a beer to celebrate.

Toronto, Ont.

"Remembering Mike"
by The Dudding Family

21 Apr 2005

From the Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Michael Channer - Ottawa, September 18, 2004


Knowing Michael has enriched all of our lives. Our families grew up together. My family is very honoured to have this opportunity to provide our perspectives on behalf of the many friends who’ve known and loved Michael.

The Dudding family first met Michael in June of 1989 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We had the honour of knowing Michael and having him as a member of our family for that year, and of course for the many occasions to be visiting back and forth with Sharon and Gerry every other weekend. We came to know Michael very well - a thoughtful, kind, mostly quiet (!) and unassuming boy who developed these many fine qualities as the young man that we grew to love.

My most vivid memory of Mike is of him realizing his major ambition in his life to become a pilot. I remember the day that Michael, Patrick and myself went to Ratmalana Air Force Base in Colombo to check out the planes. It was clear to me that day that destiny was calling him - to realize his passion and his mission to be a pilot. His eyes were like saucers, looking at those airplanes! It’s a memory that I have with me to this day.

This week has been an intense and emotional one for all of us. Full of sorrow and grief as we shared the loss of this fine young man with Gerry and Sharon. Michael was taken from us too soon. It’s also been a week full of joy and fond remembrances of how Michael touched our lives in so many ways. He taught me a lot about living life to the fullest - and that’s a gift that I’m always going to treasure. Every time I hear the sound of a small airplane overhead for the rest of my life I’m going to think of Michael Channer realizing his dream on behalf of us all.


I wanted to say a word on behalf of a lot of the family of friends that the Channers have - and there are many thousands. Gerry and Sharon always say they’re terrible parents (but we all know the truth about that!) - that they’ve left Mike with this, that and the other family. There are very many surrogate mothers out there - you all know who you are - and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. Mike stayed with us for a year when we were in Sri Lanka. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to have another son - we were kind of thinking that he’d rub off on Pat and Hilary a bit - and he did! It was wonderful living with Mike - he was so easy to get on with and live with, and no problem at all, so sweet!

I remember there would be the kids rooms, clothes everywhere, toys everywhere - and there’s Michael’s drawer with all the socks in a row!! You could see where he got his organizational skills! Being with these surrogate parents he learnt a lot about being independent and sticking up for himself. As well, during that time I came to know something about Mike’s sense of focus. He was so focused on something when he wanted it, and we saw it first with karate. There were his parents living way off in the bush, and he’s staying with us in Colombo and he was so keen to go to those karate lessons week after week, going from one belt to the next .....and I could hardly get Hilary and Pat to tie their own shoes (just joking)! Mike had an amazing sense of focus for one so young - if he wanted to do it, he did. Anyway, all to say it was such a pleasure to have that time with Mike - I feel so privileged to have been his Mom for just a while!


As Mike’s “Sri Lankan sister” I wanted to share some memories I have of growing up with him as a little boy. He was a great playmate. He was one of the only kids I ever met at school or as a camp counselor who never ever had a mean word to say about anyone - he never made fun of anyone to make himself look better. His only fault as a kid for me to play with was that he always wanted to play WWII flyers and I wasn’t really into that when I was nine!

According to Gerry and Sharon and my parents we were more than brother and sister, we were actually betrothed under the Sri Lankan custom of arranged marriages. And we found this really gross! So, unfortunately the joke perpetuated and we couldn’t figure out how after fifteen years they couldn’t come up with another joke!

One instance stands out in my mind in particular. In Sri Lanka we very rarely got the opportunity to leave the confines of our house compound unless accompanied by an adult. There was traffic, there were crowds, there was poverty - and one day Mike just suggested that we go down into Kandy. Just us kids, on the bus! Pat and I were terrified - we had never done anything like this. Mike got on the local bus with us in tow, and then of we went through the market. He knew half the people there - we were like “Oh, my God!” It really gave us a taste of independence. The only time we ever did anything like that was with Mike - and that was the classic Mike. He had such a gift for adaptability, he could fit in anywhere. He had such a taste for adventure and he had a knack for getting people to share this with him. And after all, what is teaching people flying, and taking people up in the sky, if not taking people along and sharing that sense of adventure that he had. He was an incredible person and he was an incredible brother. He was fearless and I will really miss him a lot!


I just want to say that being asked to speak on behalf of Michael’s friends is very difficult, as he had so many and touched so many lives in such a good way. I think he was probably one of the only nine year old boys on earth not to harp on the ‘neat’ thing and ask his six year old roommate to clean up his half of the room!

I still remember that one of his prized possessions at that time [1989/90] - we shared a room for a year, and a house for a year and a half - was his business card. He always carried one in his wallet. It had ‘Michael Channer - Globetrotter’ on it, and a little cartoon dog Snoopy flying a plane around the world. I just thought this was as fitting a description of what he was as you could ever possibly come up with. It so fittingly described everything he was and everything he aspired to be - which was a great friend, and I’ll miss him greatly.

The Dudding Family
Ottawa, Canada

"Happy 25th Birthday"
by Helen Palmer
Mike, December 2000 at Helen & Alan's wedding
Mike, December 2000 at Helen & Alan's wedding

21 Apr 2005

Happy Birthday Michael!
Here's a photo of you I found the other day, it was taken at my wedding reception in 2000. G & S suggested I upload it here for everyone else to see :-) (sorry about the date and time stamp)

My thoughts and love go out to you, and G &S, and all your friends and family...


Helen Palmer
Bristol , normally Zurich!

"Dear friends and family of Mike the Great"
by Dudding Family
From left to right: Sharon, Patrick, Hilary, Mike & Janine
From left to right: Sharon, Patrick, Hilary, Mike & Janine

21 Apr 2005

If Mike was with us today, we'd raise a glass to him and wish him the happiest of birthdays and many more! We like to think of him up in the sky with a bird's eye view of us all, shaking his head over silly concerns and celebrating the good stuff. He must be so pleased to see his old buddy Daniel serving his country, the incredible adventures of his sweet Melissa, his 'foster brother Pat finishing up his first year at Carleton, and Hilary finishing her first year in law school. He must be smiling that his friend Sherry is on her way to Thailand after such a long wait. He has so many of us to keep track of. There's no doubt that he must be so proud of his Mom and Dad who are doing the herculian task of putting one foot ahead of each other every day and learning to find joy in the incredible beauty of this earth. He must also be touched to know how much he is loved but still probably shakes his head in amusement.

So here's to you, Mike.....wherever you may be...king of the sky! Do they have Harp Lager where you are? And here's to you Sharon and Gerry....we are in solidarity with you are not remotely alone. We'll light Mike's candle today and smile about old times. Hope the photos remind us all what a great smile Mike had and how he enjoyed get-togethers. May we continue to live by his example!

Cheers & Love,

Dudding Family
Ottawa, Ontario

From left to right: Mike, Janine, Gerry & Sharon

From left to right: Patrick, Hilary, Mike & Janine

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