A Man For All Seasons

Author’s Note:  I’m sad to report that FUB passed away on May 27, 2014.  The world is a dimmer, duller place without him.

There is a man I know.

His name is Robert.


Or as we like to call him FUB – Funny Uncle Bob.

Funny because he is witty and bright.  Even in a serious discussion with Bob, there will come a point when you find yourself laughing.  Maybe a chuckle, but more often than not a belly laugh, a laugh from the heart.

Bright because he is a spark.  He creates, he paints, he draws, he writes.  He is an artist, an inspiration, a giver, a friend, a husband, a father, a grandfather.

He’s not actually my uncle, but the dearest and closest of family friends.  If I were to ask my parents, I’m sure they would recall the moment when they first met Bob and his wife Carol.  For me, and I think for my sisters, it’s as if Bob has always been there.  There is no first moment, there just is.

Go Habs go!

In 2010 my parents received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts.  Each recipient of a Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards is allotted a number of tickets to the events held for honourees. The number in our group exceeded the limit because my father lobbied to ensure he could include Bob and Carol.

Our four days in Ottawa were magical.  From evenings in the bar, to Question Period in the House, to receptions and galas, Bob’s wry gaze, Bob’s singular perspective, Bob’s irreverence enhanced and enlivened every moment.

Bob’s generosity of spirit has spilled over into his interactions with my son who is an emerging artist.  During a visit to Hornby Island in 2008, we went on walks together and we would sketch en plein air to capture the golden aura of Helliwell Park and the shimmering blue of the ocean.  I was even required to join in and put pencil to paper!

Bob also sat down with my son indoors and they drew together in the creative stillness of common purpose.  It was mentorship of a seven year-old to show what it means to observe as an artist, to be diligently aware of your surroundings, and how to express what you’ve seen for others to experience.

Hornby Island Landscape

This past summer, my mother, my son, and I went out to visit Bob and Carol at their home. It was an opportunity for my son to see Bob’s studio, to have a look at Bob’s world, the world of a successful artist.  My son was whisked away upon arrival and when the two rejoined us for lunch, my son was clutching canvases, drawing paper, and pens.  Gifts from one artist to another with the most priceless one being the encouragement to do.

That’s FUB.

That’s Bob and he has decided to discontinue chemotherapy.  He is at home with his family and he is embraced within a circle of love which extends beyond the boundaries of time and place.

His name is Robert.

There is a man I know.

And thus it shall be forever.



  1. robert on May 3, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Reema
    Such a lovely tribute to receive at the top of the morning. I also heard a lovely quote by Luc that will remain in the annals of children’s wisdom. All my love.

    • RF on May 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Our thoughts and prayers are with you FUB. Lots of love back.

  2. Sharon & Neil Piper on May 4, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Reema, thank you for posting ” A Man For All Seasons”. Beautifuly spoken. Bob, Carol & their family are in our hearts, thoughts & prayers.

    • RF on May 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you Sharon for reading and for your comment. Those warm wishes and prayers are so very welcome!

  3. Bonnie on May 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    What a beautiful tribute for someone so special that has touched so many lives. Thank you for sharing. Keeping your FUB in my positive thoughts and prayers.

    • RF on May 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      That’s lovely of you to say Bonnie! Appreciate the time you’ve taken to read this and for sending your healing thoughts FUB’s way!

  4. Radmila Ionides on May 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    A beautiful tribute to a deserving friend! Every word depicts a feeling. Thank you for sharing!

    • RF on May 5, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      It’s very kind of you to take the time to read and comment. He truly is a deserving friend!

  5. Stephanie Friesen on May 9, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Reema, your tribute to Bob is beautiful, deserving and so fitting! He is everything you have described .

    Thank you for sharing this ….we love him dearly and are also keeping him in our thoughts and prayers.

    • RF on May 11, 2014 at 12:10 am

      You’re welcome Stephanie. It seemed like such a small thing to do – to remark on the life of a remarkable man – and I’m so happy I didn’t just think about writing, but sat down and wrote. Your comment is very much appreciated; your thoughts, prayers, and love for Bob even more so!

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