NEDERLAND, Texas (CNS) — A Texas Catholic pastor remembered a former parishioner killed in an attack on an Algerian gas facility as being “a good man to everyone he met.”
“Victor Lovelady was the exact opposite of the people who took his life,” Msgr. Dan Malain, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Nederland said at Lovelady’s funeral Mass Jan. 29.
Lovelady, 57, was one of three American civilians killed at the Ain Amenas gas plant in Algeria during a four-day siege by al-Qaida that began Jan. 16.
At least 23 workers taken hostage by Islamist militants were killed when the Algerian Army carried out a final assault that ended the siege. Besides the three Americans, workers from Britain, France, Japan and other countries were among the dead.
Msgr. Malain described Lovelady’s death as a “loss inflicted by hatred and evil.”
“Family was at the heart of Victor Lovelady’s life. In marriage we have to learn unconditional love. Victor learned that and lived that,” Msgr. Malain said.
Lovelady and his wife of 33 years, Maureen, had lived in Nederland until about two years ago. He graduated from Nederland High School, the same school his two children, Erin and Grant, attended.
“My dad is such a family man. He used to drive back and forth from Houston just so we could go to school here,” Erin Lovelady said of her father.
Erin Lovelady described her father as the ultimate family man. She recalled her father spending every weekend supporting her and her brother, Grant, in sports while they were at Nederland High School.
While Grant Lovelady was still in high school, Victor Lovelady had a chance to work in Houston for the energy firm ENGlobal Corp. Instead of uprooting his son, he chose to travel back and forth from Houston.
Erin Lovelady said he took a new position in Algeria so he could spend more time with his family. While home, he would have had a month off at a time.
The family even had a summer vacation to Belize planned.
“He told me to get my passport. We were going to spend two weeks in Belize,” Erin Lovelady said.
Victor Lovelady, a contractor for the British firm BP, insisted to his family the plant was a safe place to work. The Ain Amenas plant is a joint venture operated by BP, Statoil of Norway and Sonatrach of Algeria.
“These were just civilians doing a job to support their families. It’s just brutal and uncalled for,” he said, adding that.
Mike Lovelady, Victor’s brother, said he is determined to stay on top of his younger brother’s death.
“We’re just hoping our government can catch” who is responsible for their deaths, he said. “These were just civilians doing a job to support their families. It’s brutal and uncalled for.”
Dupre writes for the East Texas Catholic, newspaper of the Beaumont Diocese.