Cover photo for Robert Norman Cole's Obituary
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1926 Robert 2018

Robert Norman Cole

May 18, 1926 — January 8, 2018

At Bluewater Health on Monday, January 8, 2018, ROBERT (BOB) NORMAN COLE of Sarnia passed away in his 92nd year to join his wife Eva Richardson (nee Bertram) Cole who died in July of 2012.

Bob leaves a large and loving family of five Children and TEN Grandchildren to carry on his and Eva’s and their parents’ legacy. Bob was the loving father of Barbara; Christine and her late husband Leo; Susan; Richard and his wife Lisa; Michael and his wife Jennifer.

Nicholas, Kevin, Zachary, Alexandria, Jenny, Laura, Sophie, Ella, Ben and Charlie all know him as Grandpa or Grandpa Clyde and the man with that big hug and a keen interest in them. “He was quick-witted, a bit silly, incredibly smart and, more than anything, generous.  A pretty great Grandpa.”

Eva & Bob together enjoyed many years of warm companionship with his siblings and their families in Sarnia.  As the last member of the Charlie and Pearl Cole family to pass on, Bob is predeceased by his brother Charlie and wife Ruth; his brother Bill and wife Clarice; and his sister Emily, whom he never knew.

Born in Sarnia, Bob was always an industrious young fellow: The early pages of his scrap book would show him on his bicycle delivering newspapers; playing in the Sarnia City Football league; dishwashing on the Noronic as it sailed the Great Lakes; barrel washing at the refinery; labouring with the bricklayers and dare-deviling & welding with the boilermakers in oil tank construction.

As World War Two neared its end, Bob suspended his high-school studies (and his adolescence) to support the effort from within Imperial Oil before serving in the Army: Training in London before being posted to the Signal Corps in Kingston. He was not deployed and, upon discharge, attended accelerated school to complete the last two years of his high school curriculum in only a few months.  This was an early sign of the remarkable work ethic and integrity that Bob demonstrated throughout his life.  From there, Bob followed his brother’s lead and it was off to Queen’s University where he lived modestly, studied hard, made good friends, played football and met Eva, the one and only love of his life.

In 1951, with a fresh Chemical Engineering degree in hand, Bob picked up again with I.O.L. at the Calgary Refinery.  His years of perseverance were rewarded when Eva finally accepted his proposal of marriage.  They were joined soon after in 1953. They grew their family and Bob grew his career as he and the family moved from Calgary to Winnipeg and finally back to Ontario with the needs of “The Company.”  Landing in Sarnia in the early 70’s and, with all five children in tow, Bob & Eva settled in to call Sarnia home once and for all.

Bob supported Imperial’s Sarnia Operations by managing increasingly significant projects.  He considered on-time and on-budget as the bare minimum and the projects he led were typically known for their success.

His professional focus and devotion paid off and he was able to hang up his hard hat after a very successful career on his 60th birthday and begin a retirement that spanned decades.

During those years, Bob & Eva could be found together, caring for one another and enjoying each other, their children and their families.  With a keen interest in seeing the world, Bob & Eva’s travels took them to countless places and introduced them to cultures and peoples the world over.

Bob and Eva considered themselves very fortunate and were regular supporters of the good work of educational, health care and other organizations in their community.  Bob and Eva were especially proud of the students they’ve been able to assist through Queen’s University.

Throughout his life, Bob had a great appreciation and love for Nature.  It could be seen in his face and heard in his voice.  He loved being outside and watching the lake and ever changing sky. He loved working with the land be it clearing brush or working on the beach.

Bob will certainly be missed by many.

Cremation has taken place and a private family interment will occur in the spring.

Expressions of sympathy are welcomed through donations to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit for Bluewater Health. C/o Bluewater Health Foundation. Ph. 519-464-4408.

Memories and messages of condolence may be made through .



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