He was a great friend and neighbour. He will be greatly missed.
Leona Gordon Duncan
We are saddened to report the death of Robert George (Bob) Purbrick on Monday, Dec 12, 2022 in his 82nd year.
Bob will be forever missed by his wife of 42 years Ethel (nee Blackburn) and his four stepdaughters, the MacPherson girls: Kerrie (David Gatchell, New York), Bonnie (Richard Schubert, Creemore) , Heather (Calgary) and Jaye (Tarik Dean, Las Vegas). He will also be missed by his canine companion Buddy and all the “granddogs.” He is predeceased by parents Hilda and Jim.
Growing up on a farm in the Thornloe area, Bob learned all the skills that a boy on a farm needed to know, AND earned Grade Six in Piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He was a shy boy who early on discovered the magic of HAM radio. He built his own set and was soon able to communicate with HAM operators around the globe. This passion was the basis of many lifelong friendships. In those early days, his HAM call was VE3 DWX. He later adopted the call sign VE3 CTT to honour a mentor.
As a young man, Bob headed off to Toronto where he worked for a time as a TTC driver before signing on as a technician with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In the 70’s he moved back to Northern Ontario to be near his aging parents, and joined Peters’ Garage in Englehart as co-owner and mechanic.
Little did he know when a friend asked him to look at a problem dishwasher in a rental property that his life would be forever changed. The tenant was Ethel and before long, Bob became a frequent visitor to the little house on Ninth Avenue. Daughter Heather asked Bob early on what his intentions were toward her mother. As it turned out, his intentions were honourable and the two married June 14, 1980. Bob, an only child, became part of a large, boisterous family and over the next four decades bore the chaos and confusion with good grace. Imagine his parents’ surprise when their only child delivered four adult grandchildren!
Over the years, Bob and Ethel enjoyed many driving vacations to Alaska, Western Canada and Las Vegas. They loved to pack up the RV and hit the open road for destinations near and far. The Bounder was home for many memorable weekend camping trips to places like the Earlton Steam Show.
Bob remained shy all his life, but once the ice was broken was happy to chat knowledgeably about an incredible range of topics. He was a gifted photographer and loved trains and steam-powered equipment. He was an active volunteer with the Earlton Steam Show, and the Committee to Restore the 701. He was a great neighbour, always ready to lend a hand and routinely put in long days clearing snow and hauling firewood. Above all, he was a devoted partner to Ethel. Once Ethel moved to Teck Pioneer Residence, Bob endured endless Covid swabbings to enable twice weekly visits and was an enthusiastic participant in the famous Sunday morning family ZOOM calls. These visits were the highlight of each week for both of them.
The family invites friends to join in a Celebration of Bob’s life at 11:00 AM on Sunday December 18, 2022, in the Chapel at Teck Pioneer Residence, 145A Government Road East, Kirkland Lake Ontario. PLEASE BE ADVISED ALL GUESTS WILL NEED TO PROVIDE PROOF OF COVID VACCINATION AND BE TESTED FOR COVID BEFORE ENTRY—PLEASE ALLOW AT LEAST 30 MINUTES FOR THIS PROCESS. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.
Bob’s long-time canine companion Buddy now has a new home—with lots of space to run—with Bill Laurila. For those who wish to make a memorial donation in support of the Kirkland Lake Animal Control organization, cheques may be sent to Advocates for Northern Animals, 3 Dunfield Road, Kirkland Lake ON P2N 3P4 or etansfer to email@example.com “in memory of Bob” in the comments.