Dad (Bill) was born in Sarnia, of Ukrainian-Romanian immigrants Gheorghe and Annie (Kerluk) who worked and later farmed in Sarnia. In 1951 he married Elizabeth (Betty) Brennan, also of Sarnia, and their family grew with the addition of Doug (Lynn), Larry (Leigh), Joyce, Paul (Cindy) and Catharine (Morgan). Dad’s career as an RCAF navigator meant several transfers (Greenwood, Summerside, Winnipeg, Ottawa and finally Trenton). In early 1965, Dad was part of a special flight to test a new navigation system, and they dropped the new Canadian flag on the North Pole at his command – before it had been officially unfurled in Ottawa.
Dad retired from the forces as a Major in 1974, and began a second career in Ottawa as an auditor with Transport Canada. After retiring, he and Mum returned to Sarnia in 1989, and enjoyed several years snowbirding to Florida and playing lots of golf. Their retirement was marred by the death of Doug in 1995. Dad then provided a lot of care for his mum and his Aunt Doris Kerluk in their final years, and finally for Mum, who died in 2011. A year later Larry also died, adding to Dad’s grief.
Despite these losses, Dad continued to golf with his partner Larry Goodacre, and shot his third hole-in-one earlier this year. In the fall of 2013, Dad enjoyed a trip down the Rhine with Catharine and Morgan, ending up with a trip beneath the English Channel and a few days in London, UK, where he had once spent several weeks in training. Dad also enjoyed the company of his cat Puss-puss, and looking after an outdoor stray (Longtail) now in the care of Cat Chance of Sarnia.
Dad was predeceased by his parents, his brother John (Abby) and sister Mary. His brother (Uncle “Travelling” Nick) is still very much alive. Dad and Mum are dearly missed by their children, and grandchildren Andrew, Alison, Brenda, Nick, Phil (Sarah), Russel, Severn and Vicki. Vicki had a really special relationship when she studied and worked in Sarnia over the past few years, introducing Gee-Pa to her friends and helping him surmount the new technology of i-pads and smart phones.
Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Bluewater Health, who cared for Dad during his recent visits to hospital, where he died Dec 5 with family and friends present. A family service was held on December 8, with nephew Jim Brennan presiding. Friends are invited to join the family for a commemoration of Bill’s life, to be held on Monday December 29 2014, from 2 – 4 p.m. at Jack Doyles Irish Grille and Sports Bar (1249 London Road, Sarnia)
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) would be appreciated.
Arrangements entrusted to the D. J. ROBB FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATION CENTRE. Messages of condolence may be sent through www.djrobb.on.ca