Skateboarder was 'an absolute spark,' says dad of son killed in freak
FROM: The Calgary Herald ~
By Bryce Forbes
The day after their son was killed in a longboarding accident, the
parents of Duncan McRae walked into the comforting arms of well-
wishers at the scene of the crash.
All morning, dozens of kids and adults had stopped by the barrier
fence at Millbank Road S.W., where 13-year-old Duncan lost his life.
They left bouquets of flowers, skateboard wheels, hockey sticks, teddy
bears and pictures of the smiling teen.
And when Sandy and Allison McRae arrived in the early afternoon, the
crowd of teenagers fell silent. Tears began flowing as the heartbroken
parents were enveloped in a group hug.
“It’s unbelievable that these kids would do this for my son. There
just aren’t words to say,” Allison said, crying behind a pair of
For Sandy, the gathering was the perfect tribute to his only son.
“The kid just loved life, he was an absolute spark,” Sandy said. “You
see all these kids behind, they are here because of that. Anybody that
knew him, loved him.”
Earlier in the day, the McRae family made funeral arrangements for
It was a tragic end to what had been a summer of fun and promise.
After he finished Grade 7, he started playing all-star baseball in
July and spent the rest of the month hanging out with friends.
For the past three weeks, he was in British Columbia, enjoying the
summer heat while boating, wakeboarding, tubing, golfing and fishing.
In what turned out to be his last weekend, he started his hockey
season with an icebreaker tournament, excited for his first season at
the bantam level.
“Our driveway was a scene of many sports and I told all the boys that
they have to keep coming back because hearing something hit the garage
makes me feel better,” Sandy said.
And then there was longboarding.
“He loved it,” Sandy said. “He was doing it for a while and was very
good at it.
“When we talk about going too fast or losing control, that’s not him.
He was a good boarder.”
Tuesday morning started off like many others for the McRaes.
Duncan’s best friend and next-door neighbour John Walsh had just
returned from a U.S. vacation the night before and the pair had a
sleepover at Duncan’s house.
Waking up early Tuesday, the kids started their day of longboarding,
planning to while away the last few days of freedom before school
John started having board troubles and called his mother, Joanne, for
help around 9 a.m.
A few minutes later, she told him “be good and be careful.”
The next time they talked was two hours later.
“Mom, you have to come here fast. Duncan is really hurt,” John said,
while another friend was calling 911.
Duncan was the third of four kids to come rolling down a steep, paved
back alley on his longboard.
Wearing a helmet and gloves, he entered Millbank Road S.W. and lost
control on some uneven pavement.
He flew into the wire between posts of the barrier fence, causing a
catastrophic injury to his throat.
Bystanders rushed to the accident and CPR was performed.
His father said he died on the scene.
At Duncan’s school, Samuel W. Shaw, the administration is preparing
for the influx of students coming through the halls next week.
The crisis team has been at the school and is coming up with a plan to
help counsel the kids when they come back.
“He was an important part of our community,” said principal Mavis
A service for Duncan is planned for Monday at 3 p.m. at the First
Trust funds have been set up in Duncan McRae’s name at Scotiabank and
Alberta Treasury Branch.