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In Memory of Gavin Fletcher 1967 - 2006

Victoria Times Colonist article Wednesday December 13, 2006

A car crash has claimed the life of Times Colonist sports editor Gavin Fletcher, one of the Island’s most popular and well-respected sports journalists.
The 39-year-old father of two lost control of his sedan as it hydroplaned in extremely rainy and windy conditions on the Malahat at about 11:15 p.m. on Monday. His 1991 Infiniti slid across the highway on the hill just past the Malahat’s Big Rock lookout.
The vehicle’s back end collided violently with a rock wall. The damage was severe.
Despite the fact he was wearing a seat-belt and driving the speed limit, Fletcher was killed instantly.
“We’ll never know what caused him to go off the road,” said Shawnigan Lake RCMP Const. Kevin Barata.
“I would suspect the weather and rain conditions likely had a part to play in it. It was raining so heavily [Monday] night... [and] it is a downhill section and the water tends to flow down the road and pool in areas.”
Fletcher was on his way home to his family in Nanaimo. He had been making the daily commute between Nanaimo and Victoria for many of the nine years he worked at the Times Colonist.
When police officers arrived at his home early yesterday morning, his wife Natalie knew instantly the worst had happened.
“Two police constables were standing at the door... and I knew exactly what was going on,” said Natalie, who struggled to remain composed yesterday morning and admitted she had yet to fully take in the tragedy.
Fletcher leaves behind two young daughters: Six-year-old Claudia and five-month-old Sophia.
Fletcher was a volunteer soccer coach and intensely devoted dad, said Natalie. “He was an amazing father. I could not ask for a better husband and father. He will be so missed.”
News of the accident devastated the Island sports community Fletcher had worked so hard to promote. He had transcended the role of sports reporter, often forming close friendships with the athletes he covered. He earned their respect by training with them and pushing himself through marathons and events that he turned into some of the newspaper’s most entertaining columns.
Fletcher was a nationally ranked cyclist in his youth and continued to enjoy the sport recreationally. He was also a runner, and played defence on the Times Colonist Paperboys hockey team.
“He was a rare kind of sports editor who actually knew sports from the inside as well as the outside,” said Lucinda Chodan, Times Colonist editor-in-chief.
“And that gave him a particularly unique perspective and gave the sports section a lot of credibility.”
As sports editor, he passionately lobbied for more space to highlight Island athletes, said Chodan. He was universally liked and well-respected.
“We will all miss him a great deal.”
© Times Colonist 2006
Gavin Fletcher 1967 - 2006