OBITUARY: Former St. Lucia Helicopters Pilot Alexander Robert Grouchy (1957-2017)

OBITUARY: Former St. Lucia Helicopters Pilot Alexander Robert Grouchy (1957-2017)

It is with great sadness and sorrow we announce the sudden passing on August 14, 2017 in Vancouver B.C., of Alexander Robert Grouchy.

Predeceased by his father Alexander Francis Grouchy. Left with fond and loving memories his mother Dorothy (nee Williams); sisters Carol Ann and Kathleen Grouchy (Joseph Taaffe) and their children Liam and Orlagh; brother Douglas (Christine Swantee) and their children Carly and Samantha. Also leaving to mourn family friend Rosemary Gladney, as well as a large circle of other relatives and friends.

Alex had a lifelong interest in aviation. His flying career started shortly after high school when he moved to Toronto to attend flight school where he obtained his commercial fixed-wing pilot’s license. He then became a flight instructor and worked his way up from fixed-wing aviation to earn his rotary-wing qualification to fly helicopters.

Alex held commercial aviation licenses for Canada and the United States as well as an aerial photography certificate.

For the past 26 years, Alex lived in the tropical paradise of St. Lucia, West Indies working as a senior captain helicopter pilot for St. Lucia Helicopters. Flying was his passion in life!

Recently Alex retired to Vancouver, B.C. to spend time with his sister Kathy and her family and to start a second career in aviation maintenance.

As per his wishes cremation has taken place.

Relatives and friends may visit the family at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, on Monday, August 28th, 2017 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.

A Celebration of Alex’s Life will be held at the Carnell Memorial Chapel, 329 Freshwater Road on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 11 a.m. A reception will follow.

Flowers gratefully accepted or donations in Alex’s memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice. To send a message of condolence or to sign the memorial guest book please visit


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  1. We flew 3 times with Alex and on each occasion he made it an enjoyable one. I have a fear of flying but somehow when we few with him it didnt matter. Will treasure my video of the last flight we took in St Lucia, where he did a fly past of the beach at the Rendezvous before taking us to the airport. An amazing pilot who loved his job.


  2. I recently found this article about Alex death I and felt really sad... When I arrived in Toronto in 1985 (coming from Switzerland)
    I didn't know anything about flying and my English was not much better...
    I wanted to be a commercial pilot and I started my studding at Central Airways . The first time I saw Alex (at the Toronto Island Airport)
    my instructor told me "this guy is a bit crazy but he is a fine pilot" He was right... Alex was not only a fine pilot but he also was a good person
    and quickly became a very good friend.
    I remember the time I had some difficulties going trough my studding (specially with the radio part in English) and Alex told me "come flying with me
    and I will help you with the radio workt"
    We flew together many times on the Cessna 150 (the banner towing airplane of Specialty Air Services) and I learned a lot from those flights together.
    I remember those times we went downtown Toronto after flying for a beer and all the laugh we hat together.
    In 1988 I came back to Switzerland with my commercial pilot licence (thanks to Alex) and I started to fly for a Swiss commercial airline called Crossair.
    A year after, I received a call from Alex telling me that he was coming to to Europe with Dean (also a good friend) and that they wanted to visit me in
    Geneva. We had a really good time together in Switzerland and specially the few days we spent in Paris.
    Later I heard that Alex was flying helicopters in St Lucia and I was happy to know that everything was working fine for him.
    I never meet anybody of Alex'family wen I was staying in Toronto but I wish to tell them my sincere condolences.
    From your friend "Swisscheese" in memories for the times we flew together and rest in peace between the clouds were we pilot belong.


  3. Please accept my belated condolence. While words fail to capture the pain you are experiencing, continue to look forward to the time when Alex will be raised from the dead and reunited with you, his family. Jesus when on earth demonstrated his ability to perform miracles such as this. Read Luke 7:11-15 as an example of many. Keep imagining yourself hugging and kissing Alex again at a time when death will be no more. (Revelation 21:4) Before you know it, your imagination will be real. (Joshua 23:14; Titus 1:2) For more information, type the following link into your browser and listen or read the article along with your copy of the Bible:


  4. Sincere condolences to all who loved Alex.

    Alex and I learned to fly and worked at Central Airways in the 1970's. He was a great friend to all. He took superb care of my wife and I on our visit to St. Lucia.

    The world is a lesser place without Alex. Our loss is heaven's gain.

    Rest peacefuly buddy.


  5. Grouch was a very important part of St. Lucia Helicopter's genesis. Other helicopter operations had been there before but success eluded them. Similarly competitors, some with deep pockets, came and went over the years. St. Lucia Helicopters has always been a tough act to follow and this was in no small measure due to Alex.

    His flare for making the flights entertaining for tourists combined with his dedication - working hands-on late into the night to help maintenance keep the machines airworthy and simply just seeing missions through to success made all the difference.

    He helped put the Island on the world's tourism map. And more than a few lives have been saved through Alex's willingness to fly when many other pilots would not - searching far out to sea for lost boats, hurricane relief, flying scientists around spewing volcanoes, and of course medical evacuations.

    I worked with Alex in Toronto in the late 80s then in St. Lucia from 1990 until I left the Island in 2000. While we lost touch over the years, I knew that the air regulations stipulated he'd have to stop commercial flying at age 60. I expected to hear from him sometime this year... maybe wanting some help to set up a helicopter company here in Canada or even just a job reference. I deeply regret that this didn't happen. I would have moved the earth to be part of another adventure with Grouch.

    Those who knew him - and there are a lot of you - know he was quite a character. What you may not know is that before St. Lucia, he was something of a minor celebrity in Canada too. Working for the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team he was frequently hanging out with the rich and famous - usually not knowing who they even were. His ease with people was disarming. He would spin a funny yarn that anybody would enjoy - always making himself welcome company from the lowliest rum shop to the most rarefied of social circles.

    So remember Alex fondly and often. Pass on his stories of adventure and misadventure. Give him a bit of immortality.


  6. Alex was a guardian angel for me when in the summer of 2000 when flying above St. Lucia' s eastern coastline he spotted trouble on the beach at Marquis where a robber attacked with a cutlass, one of my guests on the Marquis tour.
    He swooped down in his helicopter, landed on the beach and took my injured guest and her husband back to Castries for medical treatment.
    I have never forgotten this. Rest in Peace Alex.


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