Robert (Bob) Harold Arbuckle
Dad passed away at the Souris Personal Care Home on September 19, 2023 after complications from a stroke he suffered on April 7, 2023. He enjoyed 94 ½ years of excellent health. For the last 5 months, he was bedridden and paralyzed on his right side. It was tough for him and the family as we’ve been so lucky to have him in great health for so long!
Dad was predeceased by our Mother, Bernice in March 2009 and Son-in-law, Mike Gasher in September 2022. He is survived by Sisters-in-law; Verla Hudson, Eleanor Scott and Maxine Harley. Dad is survived by his children Forbes (Lorraine), Donna, Grant (Colleen), Dianne and Neil (Corie) and by 10 grandchildren: Brett (Jessica), Jesse (Jacy), Erin (Marinus), Spencer (Megan), Madeleine (James), Adam (Camille), Danielle (Will), Dane (Alyssa), Jameson (Myckella) and Braden (Daren). He’s also survived by 10 great grandchildren: Aubree, Graham, Ella, Finley, Corbin, Taggart, Cassius, Sigrid, Chloe and Adaline. Numerous nieces and nephews survive him as well, many with whom he’s very close – notably Harvey Arbuckle from Carstairs and Jean Arbuckle from Calgary.
Dad was born in Neepawa on Nov 8, 1928. He was the youngest of 4 boys and he had a very close relationship with them even though they were many years older. Gordon, Grant, Jack and Dad (and later their wives) would often get together, despite the distance. Family has always been important to our parents. As kids, we remember long drives to Alberta through rain and snow on a single lane highway and numerous trips to Neepawa to see great Aunts, Mom’s parents, and to tend to Dad’s parent’s graves at the Neepawa cemetery.
After graduating from high school, Dad taught school for half a year due to the regular teacher’s pregnancy. The following year he attended the University of Manitoba. He graduated in 1950 with his degree in Agriculture. He was hired by the Manitoba Government and was one of the first Assessors in the province. Mom and Dad got married in June of 1951 and they lived in Winnipeg during the winter and hit the road in the summers working out of various small towns as he did the initial property assessments. Over the years they lived in Miami, Carman, Killarney and then moved to Souris in 1963. By then they had 5 kids, so life was busy! Dad’s job took him to Winnipeg in the early 80’s as he became the Deputy Director for the Manitoba Assessment Branch. He retired in 1988 and they moved back to Souris. After Mom passed in 2009, Dad remained in the house on his own until February of 2022 when we moved him to the new hotel/apartment complex in Souris.
Dad, also known as Bob, Bobby, The Bobber, Darlin, Sir R.H., Grampa, GrandBob, and GrandFather, was a true patriarch and gentlemen. He was always there for us. He’d listen – and give advice if solicited, but he was never one to direct or judge until after you made your decision! We had to figure things out on our own. He was always willing to help with a project – and over the years, he had many ‘Bob Jobs’ when he visited with Donna, Dianne or cousin Jean! He could fix almost anything and did most of his own renovations on the big house in Souris. He also wasn’t shy about exploiting the fact he had 5 kids to help him not just with the house, but also the apartment block he purchased and we renovated in the mid 70’s. In his later years, he helped Neil and Corie with many projects at their cottage. In fact, he ‘prefabbed’ a Woodshed and a Bunkhouse from lumber he had in Souris, and then transported the pieces to Willard Lake for assembly.
He was known to not spend money indiscriminately. He was a product of the Depression, and he knew what it was like to have very little. Why throw something out when you might need it in the future?
He was fiercely competitive. Cards (Bridge was his favourite), Crokinole, Ping Pong , Curling– you name it. He hated to lose and he would never ‘let you win’! He was particularly astute at Hearts – and he often got ‘control’, much to the disdain of who he was playing. “How did he do that”, was a common refrain!
Hunting and fishing were a passion. Every fall he’d head to the Oak Lake area with his Assessor buddies (and later Forbes joined) to go deer hunting. Fishing trips to Dauphin, the cottage at Killarney, and later at Lake of the Woods and numerous other lakes in northwestern Ontario were always a top priority. After Dad retired, he became an avid gardener and ‘Saskatoon grower’! Every Saturday in the summer for years he’d prepare his onions, potatoes and other vegetables and sell them at the Market in Souris – and he always sold out! The last big Saskatoon crop, he would use his cane to pull down the branches while he sat on his walker and slowly filled up ice cream pails!
Dad had a dry sense of humour – and he kept that til the end. When he was paralyzed on his right side, he referred to right arm as his ‘spare arm’!
He had the good fortune to spend time in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Barbados and many countries in Europe – notably Denmark, where he would visit Donna – first with Mom, but later it became an annual trip for him to spend a month a year there. Many winters were spent in Texas with their good friends Jim & Doris Tease. Dad’s last trip was to Alaska in the fall of 2022 for Madeleine and James’ wedding. It was special as he and his 5 kids made the trip. He was upset we couldn’t take him fishing (very rough water), but he enjoyed the time and was the first to spot a whale from our AirBnB!
He was a kind and generous Father, Father-in-law, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Uncle and truly loved his family. Always a calm demeanor and ready for a conversation or an outing. Although we had him for a very long time, it’s still hard to lose him. We will miss him ❤️
Special thanks to Dr Cram and the staff at the Souris Personal Care Home and the Souris Hospital, where Dad spent the last 4 months. The care he received there was outstanding and we’re very grateful. The family also wants to thank Forbes for looking after Dad this last couple of years. Covid was hard on Dad, and Forbes was his main connection after his ‘coffee group’ got shut down.
To view the service please click here
A Celebration of Life was held at the United Church in Souris, Manitoba on Monday, October 2, 2023. A private interment was held at the Souris & Glenwood Cemetery. In memory of Bob, donations may be made to the Souris & Glenwood Foundation Box 518 Souris, Manitoba R0K 2C0 or to the Souris Health Centre Special Equipment Fund c/o Prairie Mountain Health Box 10 Souris, Manitoba R0K 2C0.