May 24, 1959-January 13, 2017
It is with deep sadness we say goodbye to a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend after battling valiantly from the effects of a severe stroke in 2013, and an 18 month fight with cancer. Bob passed peacefully at home surrounded by the love of his family…late at night…just in time for his Mate’s shift. Bob leaves many wonderful memories for his wife and love of his life of 31 years, Sharon, his two sons Matthew and Andrew, his loving parents Robert and Regina Olsen, sisters Karen Olsen and Kirsten Heller (Brian) brother Norm (Cheryl) father-in-law Clifford Ross (and late mother-in-law Mary), brothers-in-law James Ross (Sharon) and Robert Ross, sister-in-law Diane Mueller (Robert), as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family members.
Bob was born in Victoria, BC where he spent the first 15 years of his life. It was there he found his love for the water, spending countless hours on the beaches of View Royal with “the Victoria Boys”… sharing lots of adventures and hijinks. His family moved to Duncan where he finished high school, met Sharon and “the Duncan friends” and where lots of memories were made. After graduation, he worked in Kitimat & Youbou, then briefly as a truck driver and in construction. He travelled to Europe as part of a tour group in 1980, and even became a face on the Contiki Tours promotional poster. He later jumped at a chance to work in Campbell River, so two weeks after their wedding in 1985, Bob and Sharon moved to Campbell River where they shared a wonderful life raising their sons. Bob was involved in the startup of the Sportfish Center and eventually became a Fishing Guide with many returning customers. He worked at the Quinsam Hatchery, Discovery Water Taxi and Marine Link, and even a brief “hare brained” stint as a logger, before heading back to marine school at 38 years old, where he excelled and earned his Captain’s Papers. His dream job came when he joined Inlet Navigation in 2006 where he was welcomed by the wonderful owners and crew. He was a true man of the sea and so proud of his life as a mariner.
Bob loved his family so much and always looked forward to seeing them, especially the “sibling weekends”. He was very proud of the life that he and Sharon had made together….they were a perfect match. He truly loved his two boys…they were his pride and joy. Whether it was hunting for a truck or hunting for an elk, he loved spending time with them. He fought so hard to be there for them, and watch them make their way in the world.
Bob was an outdoorsman with many interests. He hunted with the same guys for 25 years of which countless colorful stories have been told. He also played floor hockey for many years… Bob so loved the famous “floor hockey boys” camping trips. Whether camping with the guys or the family, he was always the “fire guy”…his campfires were legendary! He spent many days fishing, mountain biking, snow shoeing and hiking…but golf became his passion. So much so, that he encouraged Sharon to join him and soon they were a twosome on many courses. He was never more proud than when she shot a lower score than his!
Bob made many friends over the years. We often joked that he “collected” friends wherever he was, having some from as far back as kindergarten. Bob was very much loved and touched many lives. His warm smile and hearty laugh brought such life to any gathering. His friendliness was so welcoming to everyone he met. As “the social director” in the pursuit of having fun, he was the epitome of sociable, often being the first to raise his glass in a toast!
So many people were involved in helping Bob during the last 3 ½ years. We always felt so fortunate to have such a wonderful medical team on his side. A huge thank you to Dr. Warren at Vic General, Dr. Fitzgerald at Victoria Cancer Center, physiotherapist Robert Johnston, and Drs. Minnaar, Morrison and Coetzee…for making Bob feel he was in good hands and cared about, and all the Home & Community Care Nurses and Home Support Workers who made it possible for Bob to stay at home where he wanted to be. And a special thank you to the wonderful nurses in Campbell River Cancer Care, who brought laughter and lightness where it could sometimes be overwhelming. Bob’s attitude and positive outlook gave us all hope. His fight and determination through it all was an inspiration to everyone.
Bob had the biggest heart and a passion for life… and we all felt very blessed to be a part of his. He leaves a space no one can fill and will forever be remembered. As Bob would often say “We’ve sure got it good, don’t we!”
His ashes will be returned to the sea as he wished in a private family gathering. A celebration to honour his life will be held in the spring and will be announced at a later date.