We deeply regret to advise you that our dear friend, collaborator and designer of the NetLetter layout, Alan Rust, passed away on April 17, 2019 after a six-month battle with melanoma.
Below are our thoughts and feelings about Alan.
In his own words –
I was born in Hamilton, Ontario and lived there until I joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968. I didn't really know what I would be doing there, I just wanted to learn a trade. Seems that my aptitude tests had me slated to be a "photographer" or an "Airframe Technician”. I was mechanically inclined as I had been fixing bicycles, motorcycles and cars for many years. So, an "Airframe Technician" it was.
I look back on it now and figure that was the best single decision that I ever made as it led to becoming an AME (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer) a few years later at "Peninsula Air Service" in Mt. Hope Airport (near Hamilton) and then led to a job with Nordair in Montreal. After a short time with Nordair, I was hired by Air Canada in 1974.
I worked in Line Maintenance in YUL from 1974 to 1986 when I transferred to Vancouver (another wise move). In 1989 I received my B727 license as a Certificated Aircraft Technician followed by a A320 license and then a Boeing 747 license. Again working on Line Maintenance which I enjoyed as every day was different.
I started my company, Real Magic Online, in 1995 and started a BBS (Bulletin Board System).
I took early retirement after 28 years in 2002 and, being a Nerdy type guy, I joined a company called ‘Nerds On Site’ as POD Leader for Vancouver. That led to expanding my own business (Real Magic) as well as the ACFamily Network, the NetLetter and others.
From Terry Baker –
I first met Alan during the Panama Canal Cruise on the Crown Princess which departed Vancouver on September 1997 destined for Ft. Lauderdale. There were 90 other ‘Interliners’ on the Panama cruise hosted by Fraser & Joan Muir, past National President of Pionairs on behalf of Canadian Interline Travel.
While on the cruise, Fraser Muir told me that Alan Rust wished to be introduced as he would like to assist with the NetLetter which, up until that time, was issued by Vesta Stevenson and myself using a contact list of several hundred in our e-mail account.
Alan offered the use his interline provider to issue the NetLetter at no charge. I was struck by his enthusiasm with the object of the NetLetter and he had some excellent suggestions for its content.
Like Vesta and I, Alan was also concerned at the lack of information from Air Canada for the Pionairs and retirees. Our NetLetter was the first such communication to the retirees.
Our cruise through the canal also included 7 days in a condo at Ft. Lauderdale. When we were on the aircraft bound for Toronto, the captain made an announcement indicating a delay. Alan went to the cockpit, identified himself, rebooted the computer and away we went.
Several times when my wife and I were at YVR enroute to Europe, Alan would nip up to the lounge for a quick meeting about the NetLetter.
After his retirement from Air Canada, Alan began to revamp the NetLetter layout and had great plans for its future together with his web site ACFamily.
Very few face-to-face meetings between us took place, the next time we met was during the Pionairs 2007 AGM in Victoria when Vesta and me also met for the first time.
Under Alan's tutelage the NetLetter has evolved into a first-class product and his guidance will be sorely missed.
Wayne and I will carry on with the NetLetter as long as we are able - in the memory and spirit of Alan Rust. RIP.
From Bob Sheppard –
I worked with Alan for many years at Air Canada. Our crew was like the MASH crew, joke around until springing into action when needed.
We had a lot of highly skilled seasoned veterans and Alan was a key member. He was affectionately known as ‘Al Corrosion’.
Alan and I shared an interest in computers and our sense of humour was the same; different than most people. He would say to me, you know, I was the only one who got that joke; Yes.
We had many discussions over the years involving subjects other than computers. His Dale Carnegie course comes to mind and his interest in Wayne Dyer.
Also, how he enjoyed cruising. He once told me about a river trip they had planned. When they arrived, the company had gone bankrupt and without missing a beat, they hopped a plane and pursued another adventure.
There was a lot more to Alan than changing tires, oil and walk-arounds. That was a job, computers and connecting people was his passion.
By then Alan was involved in website development with different groups.
Alan created a company called Real Magic. I thought the name was brilliant and it modeled the Arthur C. Clarke quote: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’.
Alan was about collaboration and feedback was welcome in order to make his websites more user friendly. Always looking to improve his work and offering his assistance.
Alan impressed me with his vision of creating sources of information for targeted groups. Social interaction with up to date information that was way before Facebook or Myspace, but without all the ads and data mining.
The Netletter is something that Alan believed in strongly. He was so happy to be a part of it and often told me that the amount of information that Terry had accumulated was amazing. Such dedication that results in such a frequent distribution and to such a varied audience is astonishing.
Recognizing Vesta Stevenson’s pioneering efforts and the addition of Ken’s expertise, keep it relevant, educational and nostalgic. Wayne has taken on the mantle of putting it all together. We sincerely hope to keep Alan’s projects moving forward in his memory.
Alan created the ACFamily portal that was the go-to resource when Air Canada had financial difficulties.
Alan had the personality to create personal relationships and the technical knowledge to create a powerful source of information. Not for personal glory or financial gain but as a fusion of his love of aviation and computers.
He was working towards a Canadian aviation web portal that would have been multi-faceted. I have no doubt that it would have been a great success.
He impressed me with his humbleness, dedication, keen ability to see what others could not and his desire to share knowledge and information.
I will miss our chats, jokes and what he was planning next as the wheels never stopped turning.
I am still finding it difficult to reconcile the fact that he is no longer with us.
From Ken Pickford –
I did not have the pleasure of meeting Alan personally, but I always enjoyed his regular "Alan's Space" feature in the NetLetter and working with him, if only by e-mail, in my editing and proofreading role.
I know his contributions to the NetLetter team, especially in the technical aspects of producing it and helping to make it a quality product, will be missed. My sincere condolences to Alan's family and friends.
From Wayne Albertson –
Although I had known Alan for close to twenty-five years, I do not actually remember our first meeting. It seems like he has always been a part of my life.
My best guess is that we got acquainted due to both of us serving on the local executive committee for the Air Canada Recreation Association in the late 1990’s.
I was asked to accept the Treasurer position and Alan was already the Publicity Director. He had just created a sample web site for the ACRA organization which, I believe, was his first web site.
I had studied computer programming, as a hobby, when I lived in Brampton, Ontario and immediately got interested in how web sites (still relatively new at the time) were developed. Our collaboration began and has continued ever since.
As mentioned in his bio, Alan retired early to focus on his passion for site development and communication. In the years just before I retired, our collaborations increased and have been constant since I retired in 2015.
Alan’s fondest wish is that he leaves a legacy by which all the people he has connected with, either personally or via electronic media, have a place to share their memories and friendships.
I am quite sure that Alan would wish to express his gratitude to all our readers for their input and support. If you have any personal comments to share; please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Alan will always be grateful for having him in our lives.
His legacy will be cherished by each of us.
Alan left a wonderful body of work and we are in the process of organizing his 'Alan's Space' articles for our readers to enjoy many times over.
Click Here to review Alan's article archive.