In Memoriam: Black Adder
“I haven’t flown at all this year and I have no plans to fly at all anytime in the near future. I obtained my status with JAL when I was single and flying solely for pleasure. Now I’m married and am battling a serious illness so there is no money for flying or hotels. No regrets here, I had a great run.”
That prophetic statement was posted on October 10, 2013 by FlyerTalk member Black Adder, whose real name was Steve Ostrander and had been battling cancer since June of 2013 — and he finally succumbed to it at 8:45 in the evening Mountain Standard Time on Sunday, February 9, 2014.
The statement quoted above “captures my brother so perfectly”, Joelle Ward — the sister of Steve — wrote to me. “I asked him in early January, when we knew he wasn’t going to make it, if he felt he had a good life and accomplished what he wanted, and he repeated almost verbatim what he wrote in October.”
I had asked Joelle if she wanted to add anything to this dedication honoring Steve. “If I were to give a quote, it would be ‘Until he recently married, the world was Steve’s home.’” The special woman in Steve’s life is his wife Xiaofang.
I did not know Steve personally, nor have I ever met him — and I regret that — but FlyerTalk member JALPak has been incredibly helpful in researching and compiling information for this article, which is dedicated to the memory of Black Adder. In fact, it was JALPak who launched this discussion on FlyerTalk in honor of Steve.
Steve had flown greater than 250,000 miles — that is the “butt-in-seat” kind of miles — as a passenger on Japan Airlines; but yet had never really visited Japan other than the airport security area and airport hotel. According to JALPak, he was a veteran and worked as a truck driver who “preferred flying on JAL 737-800 over the wide-body 767-300 in Y because his knees touched the seat in front on a 763.”
The photograph shown above was reportedly taken not too long before he became sick.
Although the last time Steve posted on FlyerTalk — at 9:59 in the morning Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at — was on a lighthearted and humorous note, let us close out our dedication to him with the remainder of the quote with which we started: “And as long as JAL doesn’t change its policies, I have enough miles to keep me OneWorld Sapphire for the next 27 years so when I am able to fly again, my wife and I will still be able to enjoy the benefits it provides.”
I wish you could have lived those extra 27 years in the best of health to have enjoyed using those frequent flier loyalty program miles to continue traveling the world with your wife Xiaofang, Steve — and at least you had the chance to travel and enjoy life. My condolences and thoughts go out to Xiaofang, your sister Joelle, and all of your family, friends and colleagues. May you rest in peace.