By A.P. Crawford, CSP Periodical Editor and Production Manager (5×email@example.com)
Bob started out life in Missouri and skied from almost the beginning. He recalled his first ‘skis’ as being barrel staves bound to his feet with old inner tube rubber, and yes, he survived unscathed. The only time in his life he was unable to ski was during his service in the United States Marine Corps (he served in the South Pacific from 1942 to 1945). After his service, he joined a lumber company (hence his nickname “Timber Bob”) and his association with the industry began. After multiple stops along the way, eventually he was sent to Prince George, B.C. in 1965, where he worked until retirement in 1991.
Bob joined the CSP in 1968 when Purden Ski Village first opened and patrolled there his entire career, including a remarkable 43 years as patrol leader, until he retired from active duty in 2016. He always said that his target number of duty days per season, skied open to close, equalled his age, so the number kept rising. And yes, he always did manage to meet his target. Bob was also the long-time Pacific North Division president and one of our best-known and loved CSP characters.
Recalled Nancy Askin, “Bob wrote his reports in text lingo B 4 it B came popular. He was way ahead of his time.” And Rick Crooks commented, “I knew I came of age when I realized I understood Bob’s email messages completely.” I can also attest to that – we are speaking about 20-plus years ago.
Another of Bob’s favourite lines was to refer to the “last bastion of ignorance” as he introduced whatever point he was trying to make at the time. And his points were always well reasoned.
From Greg Hutton, current patrol leader at Purden Lake and Ski Resorts, come a few anecdotes. Recalled Greg, Bob had a lead foot and when he was stopped for speeding so many times going to Purden Ski Hill, he figured he’d paid to pave the road single-handedly. He was stopped on the way to the hill one morning and again on the way home by the same constable, so Bob said to him, that he might as well keep his licence as he’d be back out again the next morning. On another occasion Bob was stopped on the way home from a ski trip to Kamloops and when the constable asked him why he was in such a big hurry (going 130 km/h), his response was that he had to get back to Prince George before they closed the doors at the old folks’ home!
Ken Myers, a fellow Purdon Lake and Ski Resorts patroller created a fitting tribute to Timber Bob, which can be accessed here. Note that it is a big file and may take three to four minutes to download.
Bill Hellyer, current Pacific North Division President, summed up Bob this way, “there will never be another exactly like Bob, with his life history and personal character. He truly was an inspiration and I am certain that many would say that they were lucky to have had Bob touch their lives.”
At Bob’s request, donations in his memory may be made to Prince George Zone of the CSP or to a charity of your choice.