Lou Bergeron – Cardinal
Died Mar. 7, 2005 while in Haiti
Lou Bergeron of Portland, Maine was initiated at Bullard Farm in 1999. Lou served as Financial Officer and lead Elder, and was extremely active in the New England and International Warrior communities.
For much of his adult life Lou was a journalist, working first for WBZ Radio in Boston and later as a freelancer reporting on Maine news for local and national media outlets.
Lou won the Ron Hering Mission of Service Award in 2000 for his work with Friends International, a non-profit he created in 1988 to promote community self-help programs, agricultural and home-garden projects in Latin American countries. In the US, Friends organized “Sailing for Peace” to enhance the self-esteem of visually impaired, mentally challenged and at-risk youth by teaching them to sail. Many of his Warrior brothers enjoyed sailing around Casco Bay, Maine with Lou.
Lou’s final adventure was to Haiti in 2005, where he studied and helped people. His last essay from Haiti is found here. Lou died while on that trip. His ashes were flown to Maine, and a ceremony to honor his life was attended by Warrior brothers from around New England. His brothers celebrated a sweat in Lou’s honor and helped scatter his ashes in the ocean he loved.
Lou wrote a journal while in Haiti, which he sent to the men of the ManKind Project New England: EssayfromHaiti
At the time of his death, Joseph Dicenso wrote this piece in remembrance:
What stays with me most vividly of my memories of time spent with Lou is sailing on Casco Bay together. I especially remember our trip out to Halfivay Rock Light. Lou let me sail. As we approached the light we spotted a right whale. At first f thought it was a dolphin, but it was much too big. Its smooth, pale, wet back glistened in the aftemoon sun as it arched out of and into the swells.
Lou didn’t just let me sail. He taught me. He taught me in the most wonderful way: he asked me questions. “How can you tell if that boat up ahead (which was sailing at about 90 degree angle to our course) will collide with us if we both maintain our current headings and speed?” And when I didn’t come up with the answer right away, he didn’t simply dump it in my lap. He asked more questions. He enjoyed himielf. We were in no hurry. No hurry to get anywhere—or to master the craft of sailing. The mild sun and the gentle wind blessed us as the ocean blue and the puffu fair-weather clouds lifted our moods even higher than already had been achieved by the simple (and for me rare) pleasure of “messing about in boats.”
He was mentor, I the student-enthusiastic, giddy. This was a refreshing turn on the roles we’d taken as a facilitation team, where he was as eager to master that art as I was taking the helm of his boat. And I loved leaming from Lou. I still remember the image of a mouse scurrying under a rug-an image he used to explain the movement of waves across the surface of the water.
The lighthouse, itself, was another thrill. Perched on the hem of Casco Bay, it had the feel of something at the edge of a cliff-or the edge of another world. The vast Atlantic lay beyond. Suddenly the bay was a nest and our small boat a bird not yet fully fledged. My belly did a flip just looking atthat expanse and the rough edge of it folding around the light and its modest keeper’s house.
What must it be like to watch the sun rise out of the ocean from that outpost?
Lou’s ashes will be committed to sea in Casco Bay and I can’t imagine a more fitting place for the remains of his vessel to come to rest. I like to think I saw the best of Lou that day we sailed to Halfway Rock. His salty dog, squinting smile, sun-washed and worry-free will be the snapshot I file away in my heart. Along with the one of the milewide grin stretched across my wind-chafed face. Whatever outpost Lou’s spirit’s flown to, I trust the view is at least as bright.
Joseph DiCenso-June 16, 2005