Kingston, Louis (Father)

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                  Miramichi Will Miss Fisher of Men, Father Louis Kingston 
                                      By Doug Underhill 

The people of Miramichi and particularly his home community of Trout Brook were stunned and saddened by the news of the death of Father Louis Kingston last Tuesday. If a man could choose to die as he wished, such was the death of Father Louis. Father Louis was one of three priests in his family who all joined the Holy Cross. He was a faithful servant of the Lord, a fisher of men and a teacher, and he loved every minute of his vocation. But Father Louis was also a fisherman who loved to spend time on his beloved Northwest Miramichi. He frequently fished alone and fished areas most others never knew about. He grew up on the Northwest just across the road from Syd Matchett’s Trout Brook Fly Shop and he knew the river like his own hand. He would search out small pockets behind rocks where he knew fish would be. He made his annual pilgrimage to the Northwest just as his beloved salmon did. And it was this union of the two that was the last for Father Louis. He died serving his Lord and fishing for his beloved salmon. Father Louis was found dead on the riverbank with a salmon on his line. Knowing Father Louis, if he could have written the script, which is how he would have had it play.

                                 Most Knew Him as Father Louis 

I say “Father Louis” rather than Father Kingston, for that is how most knew him. He was not a formal man, but a priest who was a friend to all who knew him. No matter if it was his religious collar or his plaid fishing shirt, he always wore a smile with it. He liked a laugh and loved life and people, and his fishing and his bridge. I was privileged to know Father Louis in many ways. I knew him as a priest administering to us as students of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, I knew him as a friend, I knew him as my Theology professor, I knew him as a friend of the family, I knew him as a fisherman and as a bridge player as did many others. And we will miss him in all of these capacities. Father Louis used to fish with my step-father Nick Nickerson and he knew my mother Maria. It was not uncommon for Father Louis to drop into the house in Newcastle on his way from Fredericton. And time of day or night was not a matter of concern. He would open the porch door, tiptoe into the kitchen.

                                   Avid, Impish Bridge Player 

Since I was the night hawk, it was usually me he found awake. Then – even though it was sometimes close to midnight – he’d chuckle and say “Do you suppose Nick and Maria would like to play a few hands of bridge? Why don’t you get them up?” I would and we would play, sometimes right through the night. There were times Father Louis would say “Well, its 9 a.m. so we’d better say Mass,” and he would, right in the dining room. Then we’d have breakfast and after he would say, “Well, I don’t have to be in Fredericton for a while yet, so let’s play a few more hands.” And we would. If nobody had a decent bid, he would say “Not much sense in playing this hand. Let’s deal them up again.” And we did. Father Louis taught at St. Thomas University when I attended in the early 1960s. His Theology classes were always interesting. He had that special gift of making learning enjoyable. But behind the smile was always a pause and a wealth of knowledge and common sense. HE could always handle the most difficult questions with the easiest answers. Father Louis introduced my sister, Maureen to her future husband, Terry Huzarski while they were at St. Thomas and followed up by performing their marriage ceremony. These are only my College experiences. There are probably thousands of students whom he affected the same way and they all could write a similar piece about him.

                            He’d Make a Good Father Christmas 

If Santa Claus ever retires, the spirit of Father Louis would be a good replacement for him. He was kind, jovial, always had a smile and a hearty laugh, always had time to listen carefully to our most outrageous dreams, made us feel important, taught each of us to enjoy life and our creator – and to love the river. He could tell a story with the best. And there was always that mischievous twinkle in his eyes. He brought joy to all who knew him. In later years Father Louis was teaching in Welland, Ontario. Father Louis will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. And for those who knew him and loved to fish, there will be a moment during the excitement when that salmon first takes and the line rips out and the reel sings. Then we will pause and remember Father Louis, a Fisher of Men and a Fisherman.

Source: Miramichi Leader – June 18, 2002

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