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Robert Desmarais

Image by Nick Andréka


October 20, 1952 – June 15, 2024

It is with deep sorrow that our family announces the passing of Robert (Bob) Desmarais, after a heroic battle with cancer. He leaves behind to mourn his wife Nancy; son Paul (Christina); grandchildren, Dominick (Veronica), Marisa (Nathan), Mya (Shane); great-grandson Jackson; sister Karen (Bernie); nieces, Kristen (Steve) and Stephanie; and their children. 

Bob was born in Yorkton, SK to the late Fernie & Corinne Desmarais and moved to Winnipeg with his family at the age of four. He had several jobs as a teenager, eventually working in the shoe store business, first in sales, then management. Around 1988, he made a career change to the car business, working in sales, management, then finance, until he retired in late 2023.

Bob loved music. As a young man, he fronted a few small-time bands like The Northern Lords and Blakewood Castle, playing gigs in Winnipeg and several small MB towns. He was the biggest Beatles fan, and loved collecting their memorabilia. 

He married Nancy in 1979, and adopted her son Paul, whom he loved unconditionally as his own. The family spent many summers camping at Falcon Lake with friends. Bob and Nancy loved to travel, their favorite destinations being Hawaii and Vegas. 

Bob was a car buff and enjoyed detailing all of his many vehicles. He was tech-savvy and loved anything that was electronic, played music or showed movies and would always be buying the next best thing. He loved to play Racquetball in his younger days, and Volleyball as a senior.  

Bob had many friends, too many to count. The neighbourhood boys, who would become life-long friends, would always hang out at the Desmarais house, which was nicknamed The Purple Circle. He was generous with his time and would do anything for anyone if asked. His long-time friend Gerald described him as “the best wing man ever, an absolute gentleman to work with and a true friend as well”. 

Bob loved his family deeply, especially his grandkids and great-grandson. Words that his grandkids use to describe him are kind, generous, caring, outgoing, hardworking, fun, wonderful and proud. Marisa said it best. “There is no other man like Grandpa Bob, no person who can walk into a room and make everyone feel so welcome. He always went above and beyond to make sure people felt included, appreciated and happy, whether it be by cracking jokes, telling stories, or just listening to what people had to say. He was proud of his family and grandchildren above all else. When we were young, he provided us with so many memories, trips to the zoo, the infamous Witches Hut, water slides, Tinkertown, backyard pool swims, and many summers of love and laughter. My favorite memories though are the quiet moments before bed when he would spend a moment with each of us, making silly voices and telling us how much he loved us. Grandpa always put family above all else, and he has left a crater in our hearts. But the lessons he taught us about treating others well, making people smile and putting family first, will never be forgotten.” Bob was a wonderful man who loved people and was loved by many. If love could have saved him, he would have lived forever. He will be dearly missed. 

The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the staff at Cancer Care, and the 3rd Floor Doctors, Nurses, staff and Palliative Care team at the Grace Hospital for the wonderful care they gave to Bob. Special thanks go to our friends Chris and Greg Chaykowski, and Bob’s sister Karen who have helped and supported us through this tough time. 

As per Bob’s request, a celebration of life will not be held. Cremation has taken place and an internment with the family will be held at a later date. 

Bob’s family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

Memories, Stories and Condolences


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Donna & Dan Ptolemy

July 6, 2024 at 3:54 PM

We were very sorry to learn of Bob's passing and send our sincere condolences to Nancy, Paul, Karen and the rest of the family.

Although the miles between us had kept us apart, the memories of the good old days, growing up on Sharp Blvd. with Bob and the guys, will always hold a special place in my heart.♥️ Dan

Elaine (McKerchar) Spencer

June 26, 2024 at 9:47 AM

I fondly remember Bob & my younger brother, Clair McKerchar roaring up & down Sharpe Blvd.on their bikes.Best of buds for many years. Born only 4 days apart, together now after each struggled for years with cancer. Rest in eternal peace, boys.

Patricia Kokan

June 24, 2024 at 11:35 PM

My deepest condolences to Nancy and her family on the loss of this most kind human. May you rest in eternal peace Bob, watch over the ones you left here let them know you are still with them with little signs.

Michael Rodrigues

June 24, 2024 at 7:35 PM

Bob hired me at Auto Haus VW back in early 2015 and although he probably never knew this, he helped change my life in ways I would have never been able to repay him. He was an amazing mentor and just an all around great guy to be around, he was always chatting about his family or what he would be doing with Nancy after work and go on about all of his life events. He will truly be missed.


Thank you for everything you did for me in our short time together at Auto Haus Bobby.

Wayn-o & Marj-o

June 24, 2024 at 3:57 PM

I first got to really know Bob in the 60’s and 70’s when we got together at the Desmarais house on Sharp Boulevard. We started one of many neighbourhood garage rock bands where Bob and I became close friends. Bob convinced his parents to set up the band for practices; not in the garage; not in the basement; but in their living room. Of course, Bob was the front man; the vocalist in the band and even made up his own lyrics. He didn’t care; as long as it would get a laugh. For Bob it was always about meeting new people. Of all the guys in the band, Bob was the only one who could really talk to girls.

That’s because Bob was the friendliest, most out going person you could ever meet. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. We often went to several of Winnipeg’s pubs on the weekend but Bob couldn’t sit still. He would get up and wander over to the other tables to check things out. Bob always knew someone; a friend. or a friend of a friend. He just had to find out as he would say “What’s happen’n!”  Everyone at the pub was his “brother”. I often envied his lack of inhibition.

Bob was your go-to-guy for all your techie needs.  You could always count on Bob to try (and buy) everything first and help out family and friends. As soon as Marj mentioned a Firestick, Bob had purchased it, set it up and it was delivered.

We have Bob to thank for Marj and I meeting. Once Bob met Nancy the four of us were pretty much inseparable - nights at their apartment that ended as the sun came up, dates at the Left Bank dancing the night away (Bob in his white suit), annual camping trips with Paul to Falcon Lake and picnics at Birds Hill Park. Bob always enjoyed a good party and the “more the merrier”, particularly if it was at his place with friends and family; Xmas, Grey Cup, card nights and pool parties.

Bob was a lifelong Beatles fan and as they put it: “you get by with a little help from your friends”.

We are just two of his many friends who will miss him dearly!

Joan and Russ

June 24, 2024 at 2:16 PM

Bob - cousin, friend, we will miss you! Tons of great memories, playing cards, camping, family events, etc. You were so proud of Paul and his family and even during our last visit to your house, you talked about your grandchildren and you were beaming with pride. You were always willing to help, like bringing shoes for Russ to try on at home, because he hates shopping! And our whole family always talked to Bob before shopping for a new car! Love and sympathy to the whole family!

Jor-El Schroeder

June 24, 2024 at 2:11 AM

Bob, I was honored to work with you for many years. We had a lot of fun, shared some laughs and always did our best! You always spoke of your family, and proud you were of them. Enjoy a cold one up with Kub's my friend..

Alisha and Mike Miguez

June 23, 2024 at 4:56 PM

We express our condolences to Nancy , Paul and your family. We have many fond memories from working with Bob at Autohaus VW. Mike also worked with him at Crowne we still have the sofa Bob mom's house. Blessed to have known him.

Glenn McGill

June 23, 2024 at 4:25 PM

Our condolences Nancy. It was always a pleasure to chat with Bob when you were in Yorkton visiting. Always an easy conversation as we talked about your latest holiday or what Paul, Christina, and the kids were doing. He certainly spoke with pride about the accomplishments of the kids and grandkids. I'm sure you would have a tough time remembering all the times you and Bob hosted the Yorkton grandkids, and one great grandson for pool parties, wonderful memories.

Chris & Greg

June 23, 2024 at 7:01 AM

Bob was one of those special kind of people you could only hope to meet and be fortunate enough to have in your life. We were one of the lucky ones! He was always there when you needed him and gave generously of his time, knowledge and most importantly, his love.

We first met Bob as neighbours, quickly became good friends and ultimately honorary family.

To our girls, Bob was Uncle Bob. He was there to share in all their achievements and milestones and never hesitated when they asked for his help whether car or computer related. And we can't forget all the times he bumped up the temperature in the pool to accommodate a certain 'niece' who liked the water extra warm. Always willing to help, Bob was right there with us on many home projects and improvements, some of which have stories all of their own and we still laugh about to this day.

A gentle, kind, loving man, his passing has left a huge void in our lives but the memories we have of him will live on and be cherished forever.

Until we meet again Bob.......Love you guy, ❤️


Gayle N

June 22, 2024 at 9:12 PM

Nancy..... so sorry for your loss. I was wonderful reconnecting with you and Bob. Sending hugs to you

Wendy and Frank

June 22, 2024 at 6:05 PM

Bob was one of a kind. The best kind. 💔. Our hearts are broken but we are so glad we got to know him. Was a very special friend.

Aunt Victoria

June 22, 2024 at 5:57 PM

My last visit with Bob was two years ago, his taking the time to drive me to Brokenhead where I grew up...the farm, the school, and the cemetery where the Mosquin and Kushnir grandparents are buried.. It was a special time. I appreciated his kindness, his

sharing of life's experiences. He will be missed.

Warren and Teri Curle

June 22, 2024 at 5:22 PM

We got to know Bob thru our teen years with the gang on Sharpe Blvd. in St. James. It was the late sixties, early seventies and we were having fun experimenting and dabbling with making our music- Bob being the main man hosting at his house aka the "purple circle". .Later in life we would get together for card nights, Grey cup parties , pool parties at his house, and camping visits to Falcon lake.

We never ever heard Bob say a bad word or criticize anthing or anybody. He was a positive and optimistic person and always fun to be around. We knew he loved his family and was a generous person. Every time he met our daughter he would give her a ;'toonie' ' from a toddler even up to her wedding day. We miss you Bob, and the good times together . R..I.P. Our condolences to Nancy and the family.

Judy (nee Ptolemy) Kee

June 22, 2024 at 4:55 PM

Remembering Bob from Sharp Blvd. days and your sister Karen, your parents Fernie and Corinne. I lived across the street at "233" until 1970 when I married. My husband and I moved to St.Vital once married and had our family in Charleswood. From Charleswood we moved for a short time to Toronto and then to London, Ont. So very pleased to see what a successful, kind man you became with Nancy by your side, raising a family of your own and grand and great grandchildren. Condolences and bleassimgs are passed on to your family and friends. Judy (nee Ptolemy)Longtime Winnipeg Neighbour.

Brian Buckmaster

June 22, 2024 at 3:27 PM

I had the pleasure of working with Bobby at Crown Mazda. He had a Personality bigger then Life itself. When you met him you could not help but Like him. And as you got to know him, You could not help but Love him. Passionate about many things but nothing more then his Familty. A Class act! You my friend will be missed by many that had the fortune of knowing you. RIP Big Bobby. D.

Tracy Bonney

June 22, 2024 at 12:57 PM

This is such sad news. I have so many great memories from working at Auto Haus VW with you. Always the one to put a smile on everyone's face through the good and bad days. My heartfelt condolences go out to Nancy and Paul and all of the family.

Nick Nacionales

June 22, 2024 at 8:51 AM

The nicest, big hearted man in the whole world! We just lost one of the good ones. Rest in peace my friend.

Daniel Mosquin

June 22, 2024 at 5:21 AM

Bob, you were a good one. It was always fun to play with or against you in the games at the family reunions as a kid. Thanks for being part of the family.

Debra Jonasson-Young

June 22, 2024 at 3:57 AM

It has been so long ; however many great memories from our times at St, James Collegiate.. He was a beautiful soul with a dynamic personalitY. My sincere condolences to your family - may his beautiful memory be forever with you and lft you up..

Gerald Boiteau

June 22, 2024 at 2:40 AM

Bobbie D you were one of a kind. Never worked with anyone who was as loyal as you. We spent so much time together for over 23 years and without you my world would have been so much more challenging. You watched my kids grow up and came to my office every morning to see how I was and tell me about your grand kids. It was a perfect way to start my day. Miss you brother and thanks for sharing memories with me. Love you big guy and have a beer with Kuby.

Joe Scott

June 22, 2024 at 2:24 AM

Bob you were the most committed man on our sales team at autohaus VW . You never missed a day of work and were always in early and last to leave . Thanks for 15 years of being there for us sales guys ! Have a cold one with Kuby when him again . Thanks for everything Bobby D !

Janie Fisher

June 22, 2024 at 1:59 AM

Dear Bobby , working with you was a pleasure and so much fun. You were one of the most kindest, genuine, laid back, compassionate, helpful and outgoing coworkers I have yet to work with. My heart ❤️ goes out to Nancy and his whole family at this time. He was one of kind and May he rest in peace and look after everyone from above 🙏

Love Janie

Cristy K

June 22, 2024 at 1:50 AM

I will always remember Bob for his kind heart, and the twinkle in his eyes. I will miss him. My sincere condolences to Nancy, Karen, Paul, Christina, and Family.

Michael Desgroseilliers

June 22, 2024 at 1:37 AM

Just an all-around really nice guy one of the best



Paul Ansloos

June 22, 2024 at 1:32 AM

Bob you were a wonderful and kindhearted guy; a true gentleman. My condolences to Nancy and family.

Jade Pham

June 22, 2024 at 1:16 AM

Papa... I will miss you dearly. You always felt like family, and always made me feel like family too. To have worked with you was a blessing. To have maintained that friendship long after we both left, is something I will cherish forever. You always spoke of your grandchildren in such high regard. You were so proud of their accomplishments and though I never met them, I always felt as if I had. A special thank you to you and Nancy for welcoming me into your home and taking the time to meet my son. I will always remember you as happy, loving, and down to earth. Whenever I hear a Beatles song, I will only think of you. To me, you will always be Papa. I love you Bob ♥️ rest easy. Gone but never forgotten. Thank you for having such a positive impact on my life. Here comes the sun☀️

Mark Carver

June 22, 2024 at 12:41 AM

Big Bob. Thank you for the many long conversations that made the late nights at work so enjoyable. I'm going to miss the talks about both of our favourite Your love and respect you had for everyone that you met made so many people happy, and smile everyday. Sending prayers to Nancy and the rest of the family. Love you big guy!

Bryan Watts

June 21, 2024 at 11:46 PM

My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. Always enjoyed our conversations at auto haus and the financing arrangements he looked after for me. 🙏 god bless

Darcey Edwards

June 21, 2024 at 11:41 PM

I will never forget having 1 or maybe 2 rye in the backyard at Paul and Christina's in Yorkton playing guitar around the fire and having lots of laughs.

Thanks for the memory Bob!!!


Barb Custance

June 21, 2024 at 11:31 PM

Bob, you accepted me as a friend at the age of 15 when I started dating George and I've never forgotten that. You made me feel welcome and feel like I belonged.

I'll always remember the many evenings just hanging out at your parents' house as teenagers, and card nights and Grey Cup parties in later years.

I know George loved you and I love you. You will be missed so much.

To Nancy, Paul, Christina, Karen, Bernie, and the rest of the family, my thoughts are with you all during this difficult time. Sending you my love.

Kirk Cancilla

June 21, 2024 at 11:27 PM

Bob what an amazing person, and a friend who I will cherish forever. Many laighs were had with him, and stores. miss you Big Bobbie D.


June 21, 2024 at 11:12 PM

My Brother

My best friend.

Forever in my Heart.

You were the best.

Love your sister!!!!!

Paul Desmarais

June 21, 2024 at 10:33 PM

Thank you Dad! For everything!

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