ROBERT SAMUEL PURVES
April 22, 1946 – August 19, 2019
With heavy hearts, we announce that Bob passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at Saint Boniface Hospital, surrounded by his beloved family at the age of 73 years.
Bob was the husband and best friend of over 50 years to Carol; Dad to Stacey (Doug Repay), Heath (Lorena), Clay (Meghan Pavlick), and Kelsey (Jay Jackson); Papa to Mikayla, Sam, Lachlan, Tianna, Kate, Scarlett, and Harland. He was also an honorary Papa to Ben Repay, Kevin Repay, and Luke Schopohl.
He was big brother to Linda Purves & Judy Dunn; dear brother-in-law to Rita (Bill Kibbins), Jean (Larry Tanchuk), Bruce Nicolson, and Ruth (Rick Daley). He was Uncle Bob to 16 nieces and nephews. Bob was predeceased by his parents Samuel & Phyllis, his parents in-laws Bill & Teresa Nicolson, his sister Barbara-Ann, his niece Breanne Daley, and his nephew Andrew Dunn.
Bob lived by the credo: family is forever. He will live forever in our hearts.
Bob was born April 22, 1946 in Edmonton, Alberta. He was the 2nd child, and only son, to Sam & Phyllis who instilled in him a work ethic that carried him through life. He passed this onto his children by always encouraging “first best”.
Bob’s family moved to Winnipeg and he spent most of his boyhood in St. James, attending Linwood School, Strathmillan School, and Silver Heights Collegiate. Bob excelled in academics and tried his hand at most sports. He did his grade 11 year at Charleswood School before attending United College. Bob graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a B.A., majoring in Economics.
As with sports, Bob tried his hand at a few careers. He was a General Manager to two of Canada’s largest sporting goods distribution companies (first with John Martens Company in Winnipeg and then All Sports Distributors in Edmonton). During this time, Bob founded and chaired a national buyer’s co-operative of distribution companies.
The position with All Sports took Bob and family to St. Albert, Alberta. Wonderful friendships, which endure to this day, were formed in St. Albert. Following his tenure with All Sports, Bob founded Pro-Staff Employment Solutions in Edmonton, starting a stretch of his life as an entrepreneur.
In 1987, Bob & Carol returned to Winnipeg. Bob spent nearly 7 years as the owner & operator of Parker’s Wharf restaurant in St. Vital where he formed many lasting relationships with staff and customers. Bob & Carol made the difficult decision to close Parker’s Wharf in 1993. Bob did some consulting and contract work with various local businesses before starting Crystal Plus Engraving with his long-time friend Frank Kollar.
It was in his 50s that Bob found his favourite career of all, when good fortune led him to a position with King Transportation, Family Services Division. In this position Bob got to work with a variety of Winnipeggers with various disabilities. After a lifetime spent being “the boss”, Bob was finally able to make a career out of his big, loving heart.
Work was the side of Bob he was least interested in discussing. On September 6, 1968 Bob met Carol and there was nothing he loved to talk about more than her. They married one year later, on September 6, 1969 and were rarely apart after that.
On July 18, 1971 Bob & Carol started their family with the birth of his darling Stacey Nicole. It wasn’t long before Heath Robert was born July 8, 1972. At the time his first two children were born, fathers were expected to wait in the hall. It was still the time of expectant fathers “handing out cigars”. Bob would have none of it and succeeded in being at Carol’s side as they grew their love with their first two children. The amount of paperwork required always amazed Bob.
Bob & Carol then got their dog Muffin, but that didn’t satisfy the need for more family to love. On April 6, 1977 Clay Michael was born. Kelsey Deanne rounded out the family on November 26, 1978. Times had already changed and to the bemusement of Bob & Carol, hospital staff informed them that fathers were expected to be in the delivery room.
Bob’s family was set (for now), and he dedicated himself to loving each of his kids in his unique way that made them each feel special and cherished.
Whether the family was in Valley Gardens (Winnipeg), St. Albert, or St. Vital (back in Winnipeg), Bob always made his kids a priority. He joined in with other parents in building the Valley Gardens Community Centre. He was a fixture in the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association. He taught his kids to swim, ride bikes, and tie shoes. He coached soccer, volunteered on field trips, and went to an awful lot of dance recitals.
He raised all his children to know that they could do anything and be anything. He taught his daughters how to fight; he taught his sons how to sew. When Kelsey wanted to play hockey like her brothers, he made sure that a 1983 hockey association let his daughter play with the boys. He always went to bat for his kids and loved them unconditionally.
Parker’s Wharf was a special time as Bob turned most days into “Bring Your Kids to Work” day. Stacey hustled as a server, Heath learned to cook, Clay & Kelsey learned the role of a “dishpig”. It was a family-owned business where the stress was balanced by huge amounts of love.
Time eventually brought partners to each of Bob’s children. The expansion of his family to include Doug, Lorena, Jay, and most recently Meghan, meant so much to Bob. He always wanted his children to experience the kind of life-altering love that he had with Carol and took great pleasure in watching his kids write their own love stories.
Bob first became Papa when Luke Schopohl joined the family and named him Papa Bob.
Then, Mikayla Nicole was born November 25, 2002 starting the expansion of Bob’s family into the next generation. She was soon followed by Samuel William, Lachlan Heath, and Tianna Joy. Papa soon filled all his spare time with his first four grandkids. After a few years Kate Rebecca, Scarlett Jane, and Harland Robert joined the mix. Papa now had 7 treasures he spent as much time as possible being near. All 7 kids learned what their parents all knew: Papa’s love was unconditional and absolute. Another generation got to see Bob at skating rinks, soccer fields, schools, swimming pools, and an awful lot of dance recitals.
A man with many titles, his favourites were always Carol’s “hun” or “babe”, Dad, and eventually Papa.
To say Bob will be missed by many is an understatement. His dear wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, siblings-in-law, nieces, nephews, and cousins will miss his dry wit, his kind half-smile, and his love.
Friends and relatives are encouraged to share in a photo-tribute, eulogy, stories and condolences for the family by using the comments section of this page.
A celebration of life for Bob will be held 2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 603 Wellington Crescent at Academy Road (Unitarian Church). Bob was known as the “baby whisperer”, so it goes without saying that children are welcome at the celebration of life.
In lieu of flowers, and in recognition of Bob’s favourite career, donations can be made to SMD Foundation/Easter Seals Manitoba. Please call (204) 975-3089 or write to: 401-825 Sherbrook Street Winnipeg, MB R3A 1M5
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