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FREEZE – Robert (Bob) Donald

May 24, 1920 – January 15, 2011

Robert D. Freeze passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at home, with Audrey, his loving partner of twenty-two years, by his side. He was 90 years old. He will be dearly missed by his brother Howard, sister-in-law Annie, and so many people whose lives he inspired. Bob was predeceased by his father Frank Freeze, long time City of Calgary Alderman, mother Clara May Freeze and his brother David.

Bob was born in Calgary on May 24, 1920. He attended Earl Grey School and Western Canada High School. In 1940 he played for the Calgary Bronks the forerunner of the Calgary Stampeders. While attending the University of Alberta he was named outstanding athlete winning the Wilson Trophy for his accomplishments in football and skiing.

In 1942, he joined the army and served as a Lieutenant, where he trained the famous Scottish regiment, the Lovat Scouts. After the war he returned to University, graduated in 1947, and was called to the bar in 1948. He practised law at Fenerty, Fenerty & McGillivray, and in 1954 joined Milt Harradence in the firm Freeze and Harradence where he practised until 1966.

During this time he coached the Calgary Bronks football club into a powerhouse in the 1950’s winning the Alberta Championships twice and going on to win the Western Canadian Championships in 1954. He was President of the Calgary Booster Club in 1959 and 1960, served as President of the Calgary Ski Club in 1961 and 1962. His dedication to fitness and development led to his appointment to the National Advisory Council for Fitness and Amateur Sport in 1963. He was named Calgary Sportsman of the Year in 1965.

Leaving his law practise, he moved to Vancouver where he worked in the family owned Western Union Insurance company running the B.C. operation. He returned to Calgary and became involved as partner and manager of Penny Lane Mall in 1975. He developed a boutique mall with unique stores many of which he operated including the most memorable Canterbury’s Bookshop.

Bob’s lifelong passion and enduring legacy is his commitment to promote and develop youth whether in football, skiing or other sport. He was a coach and mentor to many. He established the Bearberry Biathlon Racing Centre near Sundre in the 1970’s and hosted the North American Championships in 1985. In 1995 he opened Hawk Ridge Cross Country Ski Centre south of Calgary. Hawk Ridge has hosted cross country running races for thousands of students attending Calgary and area schools. It offered cross country ski lessons to young skiers as part of their physical education curriculum and provided a training center for individuals preparing for the provincial and national teams.

Bob was a special human being! He loved excellence and always walked to the beat of his own drum. He believed in giving of himself to the community that gave him so much. In his words, “I’ve had a hell of a life”. His last days were spent at home surrounded by his loved ones, amongst the cross country ski trails he had so enjoyed walking and skiing. A special thank you to those who affectionately cared for Bob during his final days.

A Celebration of Bob’s life will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences through If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made directly to the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association, CSHSAA, 3743 Dover Ridge Drive S.E. Calgary, T2B 2E1.

In living memory of Bob Freeze, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403)243-8200

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Audrey
    My thoughts are with you at this sad time. I’m so glad to have had a lovely visit with Uncle Bob a little while back. I always enjoyed his humour and straightforwardness. I admired his creativity and determination in all that he accomplished. I’m so glad he had you in his life.

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  2. You have my sincere condolences.

    Mel Shannon

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  3. Audrey, I am deeply saddened to hear of Bob’s passing and your loss. I always greatly admired Bob, and truly enjoyed each of my conversations and visits with him. I was proud to have earned Bob’s friendship and trust, especially given the tremendous life he had by which to measure. Bob did have “a hell of a life”, and he enriched mine by sharing part of his with me. I will greatly miss him.

    I regret that I will be out of the country at the time of Bob’s memorial and unable to join you then. But please know that I will be remembering him fondly at that time, and often. My deepest condolences to you and your family.


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  4. Audrey, I am so sorry for your loss. I want you to know that Bob was so much an inspiration in my life and hundreds of others like me, during his life. He has left a legacy that will be very hard for anyone to match. We (The Bronks) will miss him, but will never forget him. Rest in Peace Coach!

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  5. Ted & Bette Best :

    Audrey: We so very much enjoyed all the Christmas Eve Suppers with the Wilmots,
    Bob & you.
    We send our most sincere Condolences.
    Ted & Bette Best.

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  6. Rogers & Joann Lehew :

    Football in general, owes a lot to what Bob has contributed at all levels. He has been a friend to me since meeting him in 1960. I will always remember as to the one who put the first grass on the field at McMahon Stadium. A great job, a great field, a great friend. My sympathy to the family. Rogers Lehew

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  7. Rebecca Allain :

    I was very sad to hear of your loss. I remember how kind and generous Bob was of his time and dedication to enabling so many young people to benefit from the Hawkridge ski trails. My two sons spent many hours there training, along with many others and often Bob would come out to chat or see how they were doing. He was truly a remarkable man. He inspired many with his joy of life and the pursuit of sport.
    My deepest sympathies to the family,

    Rebecca Allain

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  8. Arthur & Mary Fishman :

    Dear Audrey, Thinking of you. Please accept our deepest sympathy. We will remember Bob as a very kind and caring person.
    Arthur & Mary Fishman

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  9. Andrew and Mavis Holder :

    Dear Audrey,

    So sad to hear of Bob’s passing. I’m glad I was able to speak to him on the phone a few weeks before Christmas. Such a wonderful man and an example to us all of the power of positive thought. I am out of the country for the next week so, unfortunately, I can’t be present at his celebration which I very much regret. I will be thinking of him (and you) at the time and hope to see you sometime in the summer amongst the swallows, bluebirds and the iconic Swainson’s Hawk – of Hawk Ridge.

    Mavis and I send our best wishes and thoughts to you at this time.

    Andrew and Mavis Holder

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  10. Bob Freeze was a giant in his participation in and support for amateur sport in Calgary. As a teacher-coach, I was privileged to work with Bob on behalf of the Calgary High Schools Athletic Association. His generosity, vision, and committment to school sport gave Calgary students many experiences and opportunities they would not have had without him.

    Through much of his 90 year history with this city, Bob Freeze has made a very positive impact as an athlete, businessman, athletic administrator, donor, and forward-thinking supporter.

    Bob is in my hall of fame, and will be in many others, I’m sure ! Condolences to his family … he lived an amazing life.

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  11. Genevieve Taylor :

    Dear Audrey,

    Bob was an incredibly kind man. I was one of the many RDL students who benefitted from his generosity. He took it upon himself to teach my friends and I skiing, independence and leadership. Mr. Freeze made a significant impact on our lives and I know we all looked up to him as a mentor. My most heartfelt thanks, and condolences to your family.

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  12. Audrey.So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. He will always be remembered as a great person dedicated to the youth of Calgary. He will be remembered by his positive coaching and inspiration. Best wishes. Ray Palardy a member of the Bronks Football team 1954 & 1955.

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  13. I knew Bob from my leasing days in Penny Lane. He was a very kind and generous man. I always looked forward to our meetings as I found him to be a very knowledgable and interesting man to talk to. He was always very nice to me…..I respected him. So sorry for your loss. Warm regards, Lesli Stuart

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  14. Audrey, I just learned of Bob’s passing today and immediately wanted to send you a note to say how sorry I am. Having been his insurance broker for a number of years, I grew to love and respect him…How could you not? His charm, sense of humour was so endearing. I will miss him greatly. My thoughts are with you.

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