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KERR, Robert Robinson

September 26, 1927 – March 3, 2018

After 90 wonderful years, Bob passed away, surrounded by his loving family, with his beloved wife Joyce, holding his hand.

Born in Calgary, he was the son of Alexander and Annie Kerr. His sister, Ann (McLeod), arrived a few years later to complete their family. Bob was extremely proud of his Scottish heritage, and always loved everything Scottish. He began his education at Normal Practice School, then, King George Junior High and Crescent Heights High School.

While at CHHS, he joined the rifle club and became an outstanding marksman, winning numerous prizes. He travelled to Ottawa with the Alberta team, where he won a Governor General’s Medal. He gave up target shooting when he married, but three years later, he re-joined the Calgary team. Then, with no practice, he shot a perfect score, which helped them win the British Empire Shoot.

At only sixteen, he began working with the CPR Telegraph Department as a Wire Chief, at which time Bob also mastered Morse Code. During the war years, his specialized skills were utilized for secure military defense communication. Following the war, he received his diploma in Telegraph Engineering. After 25 years with CP Telegraph, he moved to AGT (later Telus) for 24 years. There he had many roles, and, after achieving a Personnel Diploma from the University of Calgary, he worked in the Personnel Department responsible for the hiring of all technical staff for Southern Alberta for many years. In his working years, each day he walked the many miles to work, in all seasons.

Throughout his earlier time at the CPR, the prettiest teletypist, Joyce Wood, caught his eye. When Bob was relocated to Lethbridge and Edmonton, he would often stop into the Calgary office, just to say a hello to Joyce. Once he returned to Calgary, their romance flourished. Their courtship included many day trips by train to Banff. Engaged on Valentine’s Day, they married on May 24th, 1952. Bob planned a most unique honeymoon to the Pacific Ocean. The newly-weds returned to Calgary, to the house which Bob had purchased prior to his marriage proposal. Family soon followed, with the births of Marilyn, Linda and John.

Bob took on his family responsibilities with complete devotion and commitment. After achieving his swimming and Life Saving accreditations, he was a volunteer swimming instructor at the old Y.M.C.A. for 15 years, and examined for the Red Cross Society. He also taught his children and grandchildren to swim. Summer vacations for his family were very important, providing a variety of experiences which are some of his children’s fondest memories. During those vacations, he was always teaching about his love and respect for nature. Physical fitness and athletics were paramount in Bob’s life, and he passed on these traits to his family. They are still inspired by the 100 push-ups and sit-ups he did every day to keep in shape.

Due to his love of music, Bob became proficient with numerous instruments. He could play the violin, harmonica, classical guitar, and the chanter. After retirement, he played with a fiddle group. Studying privately with Andrew Smith, he learned to play the Highland bagpipes. For his 70th birthday gift to himself, Bob went to Summerside, P.E.I. to the College of Piping. Music was a lifelong passion and gift for Bob.

Bob brought apple seeds back home from his P.E.I. trip, to plant in his back garden, which he tended with such care. This past summer, Bob’s apple tree from those seeds, produced a bumper crop of rosy apples, which were shared with all who came to his 90th birthday party.

Together, Bob and Joyce traveled to Russia, Hawaii and Scotland, but, mostly, due to the rhythm and pull of the ocean, they visited the west and east coasts of Canada. He often said, “Why travel the world, when Canada is so beautiful and wonderful?” Bob was a consummate gentleman and followed the “true and honest path” as he advised others and lived himself, until the end of his life.

Bob will always be lovingly remembered by Joyce, his wife of nearly 66 years; Marilyn and George Reti, Linda and Henry Crawford; grandchildren Natalie, Julianne (Lachlin), Christina (James), Jordan (Carla), Justin (Taylor), Jenny, and Drew; great-grandchildren Malcolm, Cameron, Sabrina, Charlotte, Vivian, Laurel, Ludovic, Troy, Eloise, Iris, Theodore, Greer and Oscar.

Thank you to the wonderful caring staff at Mount Royal Care Centre for providing such loving attention to Bob during his time there.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. Reception to follow at the funeral home. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of Robert Kerr, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Jack Cronkhite :

    My condolences to the family and friends of “Uncle” Bob and especially to you, “Aunt” Joyce. I wonder if “Uncle” Bob and Kay might be running Duiker and Shenzi together again. Peace be with you all. Jack

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  2. daniel kroffat :

    I just read this notice of his passing, And sometimes in life it is hard to find the right words, And this is one of those times, But i know what a great man he was to so many.
    If there is any blessings to be had , then Maybe the memories he has left behind will be cherished and he will always be remembered in a very special way,, we know that in time smiles will replace tears when his name is mentioned,,R.I.P.

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  3. Dear Joyce, Marilyn, and Linda,

    As the days and weeks pass, may you continue to feel comforted by the memories of Bob’s long and interesting life. My thoughts are with you and your families during this sorrowful time.

    Alex Reti

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  4. Maurizio d’Orlando :

    It was in 1976 when I met Robert (Bob) Kerr, now some forty-two years ago.
    It was when I had invited his daughter Marilyn to dine out.
    She told me that her parents, and above all her beloved father Bob, wanted first to
    see me. The world had just been through revolutionary times for morals and manners, among other more political and social issues.
    Whatever one’s own – and mine in particular – position might have been at the time
    on the issue, it was fairly unexpected for me to see one person, Mr Kerr, asking for the proper abidance of the centuries old awaited code of a gentleman’s behaviour, when dating a girl (but dating, with all what is now meant, was not the word used at the time, simply dining out it was).
    It was therefore with a mixed sense of honour and surprise that I met him and his
    family before heading to the restaurant which had been booked for the evening.
    Then it was remarkable for me and unexpected but now I understand far better his
    simple but deep going and meaningful code of etiquette.
    Now he rests in peace, I am convinced, and now I wish to pay him the tribute he deserved then and now.
    Hurrah for a respectful gentleman of a gone, gentler era !

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  5. Marilyn, I am so sorry for your loss. What an amazing man your Dad was. I’m sure you will see him in your children and grandchildren and know he is with you. Please also give my condolences to your mum. Sixty six years is a long time for a partnership and she must feel like a part of her is lost. I don’t believe that “only the good die young” ; I believe that God leaves “the good” here a long time, like 90 years, so their influence uplifts us all. I can see your Dad’s time here had much positive influence. Take care.

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  6. George&Jim Mylonas :

    Our deepest condolences for the recent loss of your father. May you cherish the memories you shared with him over the years.

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  7. Charlene Cronkhite :

    Aunt Joyce, Marilyn, and Linda,
    I am very sorry for your loss. I wish you and your family the healing and warmth of memories.
    Love Charlene

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  8. Elaine Drysdale :

    Dear Joyce, Marilyn, and Linda,

    What a wonderful tribute to your husband and father. He would be so pleased with it, and with the loving care you took in writing it. I always think of him with his kind and gentle smile and twinkling eyes. He was also so gracious in any interactions with me, dating back to the time I was 18. He always had such a gentle manner.

    He was a real patriarch, and I am sure well-loved by all of his descendents.

    He had a wonderful and full sendoff from his loving family, before embarking on his next adventure….”close by, through an open door,” just unseen, as so well expressed in the lyrics of “Goin’ Home.” I have never heard of the next realm described as either dull or sleepy, from those who have experienced those “intimations of immortality.” I trust that he is reflecting on, and basking in, the tremendous love he gave and received.

    Sending much love to you and all of the extended family,
    Elaine Drysdale

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  9. Christel McCalla (Cronkhite) :

    My condolences to the entire Kerr (Reti) clan. “Uncle Bob” as he was known to me, was a true gentleman. His legacy will surely live on through the generations. My thoughts are with you all, may time be kind to you as your hearts heal from this tremendous loss. Sending light and love your way.

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  10. Linda Brehmer :

    Good morning Marilyn,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Of course I remember your dad and his incredible zest for life and living. His legacy to you and your family will be a lifelong blessing. Your children and grandchildren are fortunate to have known his loving touch. Something magical happens in those moments. ❤️
    Blessings to you and your family as you bathe in your wonderful memories.
    Hugs, Linda

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  11. Wendy McGregor :

    To Marilyn and family; I know this won’t make this time any “better”, but remember that your dad lives on in the faces and hearts of your family. He is always with you; watching over you from a better place. Take care of yourself and your family. We will remember him and all of you in our prayers. XX OO

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  12. Grant Sinclair :

    “It was not blessed” was among the early sentences uttered by Mr. Kerr to my family and I at the time of our first visit to Kelowna, his words in response to some plan of we “the mortal man” gone awry, causing us great angst. Words of a man clearly tuned in and possessing a deep understanding of how things work -words of a beautiful simplicity.
    To you, Marilyn, and your entire family – our healing thoughts and energies are mobilized and dispatched your way.
    Grant, Lise, Nathalie and Stéfan

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  13. When I read the obituary about my dear friend Marilyn’s wonderful father, aside from being so hugely impressed with all his accomplishments, I was intrigued when I saw that the musical instruments he played included the “chanter”. “Really??” I thought. “Is this some mistake? Do they actually mean the BAGPIPE chanter? Surely not. Maybe they meant a recorder”. But, lo and behold, a few words later, there I saw it: he played the bagpipes!!! And part of the reason I was so delighted is that I too have started to learn the bagpipes at an, uh, older stage in life, just as he did.

    I am Marilyn’s age, and for us, well, “mature students”, it’s not one bit like starting the pipes at the age of nine, as most others in my Pipe Band (!) have done. Honestly, the chanter itself is nothing but elephant traps negotiated at top speed, and the fingering is a challenge of Everest proportions. As for blowing the three long bagpipe drones at all, let alone blowing them to get an even tone, that’s a totally separate test of physical and mental magnitude. And THEN you need to combine the chanter abilities (if and when developed) with the bagpipe itself (having begun to master those separate challenges). And I hear that, just like me, he kept it a complete secret till he could play; I’m still at the secret stage (I go to a weekly “music club”, I tell people) but he actually achieved success. WOW.

    He was the most wonderful and amazing man – but to be able to play the bagpipes on top of all that? Well, I am speechless with fond admiration.

    With much love to all the family, from Marilyn’s friend in North Wales. xxxxxx

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  14. My deepest condolences to the Kerr family

    This loving remembrance was a lovely tribute to what sounds like a wonderful man (and his family ). I believe my parents, Clifford Anderson and Florence Anderson (nee Thomson), were coworkers with Bob and Joyce in the forties and fifties in Calgary at CP Telegrams. So many of the details of their personal lives were so similar to your families. My family spent 10 years in Edmonton in the 1960’s, then came back to Calgary in 1970.
    I myself completed a 41 year career in telecommunications in 2013. I started, you guessed it, as a bicycle telegram messager in Calgary in 1971 at CNCP Telecommunations.

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  15. I still remember the day Drew first introduced me to Bob during Christmas 2012. He will be dearly missed. My condolences to you and your family. ❤️

    Becca Gould

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  16. Judy and Roland Plessis :

    To Joyce Kerr and the entire family–
    We send our love and deepest condolences for your loss.

    We met Bob Kerr over 40 years ago…such a handsome and charming man! Over the decades we often reconnected at family gatherings. We were impressed by his kind nature, his devotion to his beautiful wife and family, and his avid interest in nature and the outdoors. Despite his many accomplishments, he was a humble man who often shared with us the love of his Scottish heritage.

    May you find comfort in the gentleness of Grandpa Kerr’s passing. Our hearts are with you as you say good-bye and celebrate his long life and rich legacy.

    Judy and Roland Plessis
    and family

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  17. Dallas Loschuk (Buckboro) :

    Dear Marilyn & family: I was so sorry to read about your Dad passing away not long after my Dad did. I fondly remember meeting you when we were kids and our Dads would take us to Dash & Splash at the YMCA Downtown on Saturday nights. We had so much fun playing in the water with our families. We must keep these special, fun memories alive and know that our Dads are no longer suffering and they may be reacquainted once again after all these years. Thinking of all of you. Love, Dallas

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  18. Sandy Carlson :

    As a child, my earliest memory of Mr Kerr was that he was Marilyn, Linda and John’s ‘nice dad’. He always had a ready smile for all the neighbor children.
    Later I met him again at AGT/Telus for a job interview where we mostly talked about the old neighborhood and what the neighbors were up to.
    He was a very nice gentleman who will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

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  19. Deborah Wood and Ron DiPasquale :

    Bob Kerr was disciplined, intelligent man who did the ‘right’ things throughout his life. It was unfortunate the dreaded dementia cut that short. But in the many years lucid years he instilled in his offspring high morals and the realization the human body needed to be properly cared for. Whether it was the walk to work, or the other regular treks he took, he maintained his physique. He mastered many hobbies, in his quiet way. He was modest but packed a punch-and a glorious smile. Generations of Kerrs, Crawfords, McFaddens, and McKinnons will no doubt carry with them his values always. Our thoughts are with Mrs. Kerr and the rest of the family.

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  20. Deborah Wood and Ron DiPasquale :

    As if this stressful time isn’t bad enough, I have added to everyone’s grief with my huge faux pas. My apologies to all Retis and Jakemans for the omission of their names in the condolence I sent. I so wanted to be there , with you, but we are thousands of miles away. Hopefully you all realize how important you are to me and that I meant no slight. Hugs to all that will accept them. Aunty Deb

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  21. Dave and Sharron Way :

    Hi Marilyn and George
    We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your father, Marilyn. He will be missed by the many people that loved him. One thing for sure is the Good Lord has him now in His ever loving arms.
    I did meet your Dad quit a few years ago. He had us build him a railing in his house. It wasn’t an elaborate one. Just a plain picket railing.
    It is wonderful that he got to see and hold his grandson before his passing. I’m sure that meant a lot to his (your) family.
    I used to hunt and your Dad told me about his guns and shooting. It excited him when he was talking about it to me.
    I didn’t realize he liked my work as much as he did. That means a lot to me, thanks for sharing this information. I’m retired from the iron work right now.
    We pray for you and your family and hold you all up to the Lord. He will lead you and guide you and comfort you in this time of lose. God bless you and George and your whole family.
    Cheers
    Friend for ever.
    Dave&Sharron

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  22. Stuart Bailey :

    This fine gentleman hired me for my 33 years at AGT and TELUS. He is a man who blessed my path in life and I will be forever grateful. He called me in for a job to work on the plow crew and that job disappeared by the time I was in the interview. Later that day, he called back to say to my mom that he found a better job for me on the Main Rack and that I made the second trip downtown for that job. Wishing him and his family God`s best blessings.

    Stuart Bailey

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  23. Maxine Woywitka (Havens) :

    To: Joyce, Marilyn, Linda and John
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. It was so interesting to read about Bob’s life. A life well lived – for sure. I have some fond memories from when mom and dad would take us kids to your place for a visit. I can still remember your house and how we enjoyed getting together. I’m hoping that when I get down to see my dad in Crossfield, that I will get a chance to get together with you Joyce for a visit. I know Arlene has taken Dad to see you, so maybe the 3 of us can make it to your home. Would love to see you. Take care.

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  24. David Franco :

    So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. I remember the many times I enjoyed the company of Bob and his wonderful family many years ago while I lived in Calgary. Bob was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met.

    David Franco

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