A makeshift memorial was erected in memory of Isle Madame businessman Brian Samson who passed away while fishing off the coast of northern Newfoundland.

ISLE MADAME: This Richmond County community is in mourning after the death of businessman Brian Samson.

Samson passed away on May 27 at the age of 54 while fishing off northern Newfoundland.

According to his obituary, Samson gave up the opportunity to be an engineer (after graduating with a Masters) to join his father John and partner Edgar Samson in forming Premium Seafood Ltd.

Samson’s sister Lisa Boudreau described the loss of a husband, brother, father, uncle, and friend.

“It will have a very big impact on our lives,” Boudreau said. “He was always very generous with his time and very interested in our lives, as well as those of others.

“He was very good at having gatherings at his house. He loved to cook and weekly Sunday gatherings were often at his house. So we’ll miss him, we’re going to miss him. It’s going to leave a big hole in our family gatherings.”

According to his obituary, Samson was happiest on the water. He loved his boats and christened them with the names of family and community; The Marie Sophia Daniel, The Miss Sophie, Le Petit Jean, and The Miss PDG. He would invite anyone aboard for a sail and loved to cook aboard and share meals he prepared.

Brian Samson

Samson was an active volunteer in the community, coordinating lobster suppers at the Acadiaville Community Centre, leading construction of the columbarium behind the former Immaculate Conception Church and he was a board member of St. Ann Community and Nursing Care Centre.

St. Ann administrator Annette Fougere worked with Samson for years.

“He worked very hard to see if we could get St. Ann Centre replaced through government funding,” Fougere recalled. “He was very passionate about the community, bettering the community and bettering the services for the community.”

Samson spent two terms on the St. Ann board, serving as chair of the building committee and Fougere said his background in engineering and business were vital.

“He would bring negotiation skills to the board,” Fougere explained. “If we were talking to governments and other agencies, especially around funding, he was an astute business person. A very likable individual, but could press his point and when he had something on his mind, he wasn’t going to let it go. He always like to debate, I think he got a lot of fun out of debating.”

Former Cape Breton-Richmond MLA and provincial cabinet minister Michel Samson, like most on Isle Madame, was shocked at the news. He recalled setting up a meeting between then health minister Maureen MacDonald and Samson.

“I think the guy certainly deserves credit, not only for the business that he built, but his extra-curricular activities in support the community and I think a lot of people aren’t even aware of what those are,” Samson noted.

Boudreau acknowledged that because of her brother’s extensive volunteerism, this was also a loss for the community.

“He was able to see a few projects to completion and he was always took his volunteer time and those obligations very seriously,” Boudreau noted. “I’m sure there’s a good number of people wondering how things are to move on now but they’ll find their way like everybody else.”

At the time of his passing, Samson was co-owner of Premium Seafood. Samson was also active within the Canadian Association of Family Businesses.

“It’s hard to imagine something like this happening and planning for it but Brian himself was organized and his affairs were well taken care of,” his sister added.