HOMEWARD BOUND AERIAL SERVICES
ABOUT THE PEDERSONS
Homeward Bound Aerial Services is a family owned business established in 1993 in Aurora, Colorado. Mark Pederson is the president and founder and has over 30 years of flying experience. He grew up playing and flying in the Rocky Mountains.
He has carried his love of flying over to his family. His wife Jane and two of his sons, David and John are also pilots and hold Instrument, Commercial and Multi-engine ratings. David and John plan to carry on the legacy of ash scattering.
Our 2005 Cessna 172S, N372HB is equipped with GPS, enabling us to pinpoint the locations where we scatter ashes. We have added a new plane to our fleet. She is a 182S with 235HP and the ability to fly at 18,000 feet.
One of our most meaningful aerial spreading of ashes was in 2007, when we flew up to the Encampment, in Wyoming and dispersed the cremains of Mark’s parents, Pete and Ruth Pederson.
As a child Mark had spent many summers on the river, learning the art of fishing from his dad, Pete. There were many tales of those happy carefree days pulling out brown and rainbow trout with his dad.
These were tales that Mark shared with his boys, David, Paul and John.
As Pete and Ruth grew older they had shared their wishes an airborne release of their cremated remains over the Encampment. They passed away in 2000 and in 2002 and like many families, I am sure, we kept their ashes in our home. We waited for the right time.
The summer of 2007 was just such a time. On the first weekend of July we went up in entourage. David, John and Katie flew up to Laramie in N372HB while Mark, Jane and Paul drove in the truck. In Laramie we changed crews for the leg over to Saratoga, which is the closest town to Encampment that has an airport. We camped along the Encampment river and Mark drove us to the area where we were going to release the ashes.
It was Saturday morning and there were storm clouds brewing. Decisions had to be made. Do we scatter immediately or wait for the storm to blow through? Mark decided to do the mission immediately. He and Paul drove to Saratoga while the rest of us waited on the ground with our cameras and walkie-talkie.
We waited for what seemed like a very long time before we spotted the plane approaching over the ridge. What a wonderful sight. They did a fly-by so that we could have a practice run with the cameras and also get a sense of the wind direction. With air to ground communication established, we were able to co-ordinate the airborne release of Pete and Ruth’s cremated remains. Mark flew, as Paul scattered the cremains, first of his Grandpa Pete and then of his Grandma Ruth over their beloved fishing ground. We had included red rose petals in the scattering.
It was such an amazing sense of relief as we completed the mission and gathered at the river afterwards. Mark said a prayer and without a word, totally unrehearsed, we each withdrew to a spot of solitude to say farewell in our hearts. Slowly we came together again and we all spoke of the lightness, joy and peace that we felt in our hearts, knowing that we had fulfilled their wishes.
The only music playing was the rushing of the water as it flowed downstream, carrying with it the release of ashes, now long gone. As we watched the water, we caught the glint of sunshine as it played on the waves. We found ourselves laughing and agreeing that we could now truly say ….”that Pete, he has just gone fishin'.” (video clip)
The storm never came so we got out our fishing rods and fished! I think that is exactly what Pete and Ruth would have wanted us to do.
We came home and missed seeing the cremains containers. That is when we realized, that the aerial spreading of their ashes had freed them! The same sense of peace came over us that we had felt at the river. Only those who have experienced this will understand what we mean. This experience helped us even further believe in our mission.
Our son David penned this note to his Grandpa Pete:
Thank you for all the many things you taught us, especially the fishing. I think about you often in wondering what happens when we die. I imagine you know now. I will always remember the day I came back from college to see you in the hospital. You definitely were not the image of the tall, firm, always-right man I had grown up with. You awoke from a sleep that seemed more like a battle with in you for your body, and amidst your pain you saw me and you smiled. Not a half hearted smile, but a smile of recognition, a smile of love. So thank you for your smiles, thank you for the fishing, thank you for sharing a wonderful life with all of us.
David Pederson (Grandson and fishing partner)
And if you come upon a mountain stream on a summer afternoon, splash your hand in the blue,
bright water, smell the pine, let the memories run through your mind and cherish the silent moments.
When I am gone I want people to smile and say,
“That Pete, he’s just gone fishin’.