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Memorial service set for missing Pa. man

March 08, 2006|by DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Six months after he disappeared during a fishing trip on Lake Ontario, family and friends of a Rod Shade will gather Saturday for a memorial service.

"There are so many friends of his that feel they want to say a proper good-bye to him," said Julie Biser, his longtime companion. "It's been six months, so hopefully, there'll be some kind of closure for us."

The memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Waynesboro Church of the Brethren, Biser said.

Shade, 44, of 13743 Welty Road, disappeared Sept. 11, 2005, after taking his fishing boat out that night, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The boat was found washed up on a beach near Sterling, N.Y., the next afternoon with the ignition in the on position and the throttle engaged, U.S. Coast Guard officials said at the time. Search planes and boats from the U.S. and Canada conducted an extensive search, but Shade's body was never found.

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"We grew up side by side. We were neighbors and we'd been together for 23 years," Biser said. "He was my best friend."

Biser and Shade had a vacation home in New York and she had been on the trip with him, returning a couple of days earlier to go back to work. She said the couple planned to work a few more years and retire in New York.

Shade was the owner of R.A. Shade Drywall and, over the years, "he kind of picked up the nickname 'The Drywall Outlaw,'" Biser said.

"It was also the call sign of his boat," she said.

Along with family and friends from this area, Biser said friends the couple made in New York are coming for the service. Biser remembered the help they had been to her in the aftermath of Shade's disappearance,

"They're a tight-knit community," she said. "At times like this, that really means a lot."

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