Former crew member plans memorial for lost comrades

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2005

KODIAK - The fishing crew lost at sea when the Big Valley sank in stormy waters in January will be remembered by a bronze memorial being planned by a former crew member.

Bryce Kidd said he will make the memorial at his own cost and hopes to break ground in Kodiak in July.

Five men on board the Big Valley died Jan. 15, the opening day of the opilio crab season, when the vessel sank in the Bering Sea.

Kidd joined skipper Gary Edwards of Kodiak and the crew of the Big Valley when he was 19 and went on to work seven years on the vessel. He said Edwards was a patient and appreciative teacher.

"Gary was like a father to me," Kidd said. "He was the greatest man I ever knew."

Today Kidd is studying engineering in Montana and works for a foundry in the city of Livingston. He said each field of expertise is helping him conceptualize and create the forthcoming memorial.

The plan for the memorial includes an anchor suspended at an angle and surrounded with sea-tossed kelp - all cast in bronze. The anchor will be attached to a curved concrete base dyed black.

Kidd said he hopes the black concrete base will take on the look of granite.

The memorial will contain a plaque honoring the crew. While Kidd hasn't finalized what the plaque will say precisely, he wants to keep it simple.

Edwards was enthusiastic about art and collected several pieces. Stories told at a memorial service for the crew Feb. 13 suggested Edwards planned to pursue his interest in art after the crab season ended.

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