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OBITUARY

Robert (Bob) C. Moffatt

17 August, 192812 April, 2021

With great sorrow we share the news of the passing of Bob Moffatt. To capture the essence of such a dynamic person in just a few lines is impossible. For our Dad’s 80th birthday, we all wrote notes to him to express our memories and impressions. His daughter Beth wrote that she always knew who her biggest cheerleader in life was. Beth recalled she could not “plant a garden, pick a berry, pat a dog, hammer a nail, salvage a piece of string, put her skates on, drive a standard, sit in a boat, prune a tree, see a bee, light a fire, sweep snow off the front step, roast a chicken or give something away, without thinking of [her] dad”. She loved and knew her dad to be a thoughtful, unselfish human being, whose life has only ever been about service to family, to others, to the land and to the community. Nancy’s recollections were about his sense of humour: enjoying and sharing a good story or joke and seeing the humourous side to most situations, clearly seeing a way to make things happen, yodelling at the top of his lungs as we skipped across Nym lake, dancing a jig when he was really happy, seeing his mischievous wide toothed grin knowing that he’d been up to something, admiring how, at a young age, he overcame a very difficult situation but never complained or laid blame. She admired and loved his ability to talk to just about anyone and find common ground. He always looked for and saw the best in people. She loved his generosity and the breadth to which he extended himself to others. The gifts he shared, whether it was as small as a jar of jam or as large as an education, impacted the lives of so many. Born August 17th, 1928, Robert C. Moffatt was the 7th child of 8 brothers and sisters. He was raised in the picturesque village of LaRiviere, MB, nestled in the Pembina Valley along the shores of a winding river and surrounded by the abundance of prairie farmland. Life was not always easy for the Moffatt siblings but they always had plenty to eat and were all taught the importance of hard work, self-reliance, respect for the land, and sharing one’s abundance with others. Bob made himself well acquainted with the neighbours and often helped out on the neighbouring farms. He learned some great skills and soon sought work with the B&B gang (Bridge & Building) with CP Rail – proud to be following in the family tradition of railroading. That didn’t last too long as he had fibbed about his age and was let go. Fortuitously, his eldest brother Archie encouraged him to head east to work for him which eventually led to a job at Steep Rock Iron Mines. He arrived in Atikokan on September 14, 1944 at the young age of 16 and began work as a general labourer, driving the hydraulic service truck and then operating a Caterpillar out on the mud flats. After a convalescence in the Sanatorium he worked on the pump barges and found the time to create beautifully tooled leather belts, purses, and wallets – a skill he was taught while in hospital. Recognizing a need in the community, he started his first business in 1949. Bob’s Taxi was the catalyst for his career. As the owner and driver, he was the unofficial ambassador to Atikokan and Steep Rock. He drove all the dignitaries that came to town as well as the new arrivals – young men coming to work at the mines and their families. Bob’s Taxi was also the first ambulance service in town – they had a car and at that time, it was enough. From there, Bob, with the support of his wife Fern, opened a service station, a bulk fuel plant, and then a second gas station. He was eventually approached to be the local specialty steel distributor which led to the formation of Bob Moffatt Supply Ltd. Moffatt Supply grew and prospered with several branch offices across Canada. Calmang Steel was formed in the 1970’s to sell a special manganese alloy steel which he formulated and had manufactured in Canada. In 1980, Bob sold his company to his young employees and began to pursue prospecting and the hunt for gold! He educated himself in the science of geology and was determined to help find other new mining properties for Atikokan. He was a winter Texan, spending 40 years in the Rio Grande Valley. He loved it there! The people, the agriculture and the opportunities all made it a special place for him. Never one to be idle, he invested in the valley with interests in an orchard, vegetable crops, and the development of two retirement communities. There was always time for a round of golf, a discussion about the stock market, and gardening. He would find a patch of soil and grow tomatoes, radish and beans to share with friends and neighbours. You never left Bob’s place empty handed. He always had a little something to give: jam, marmalade, gardening gloves, a grain fed chicken, a polishing cloth… In the 1950’s and 60’s he coached many young kids in hockey. Bob was a terrific athlete himself, playing the sport all his life as a defenceman. Philanthropy and service to his community were high on his priority list. He was a proud member of the Masonic Lodge, served as a Shriner for over 55 years, a Lifetime Meritorious Member of the Royal Canadian Legion and Canadian Institute of Mining and Charter member of the Atikokan Kiwanis Club. He was also Charter president of the Atikokan Conservation Club, a 60+ year member of the United Commercial Travelers, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NWO Prospectors Association and a nominee for the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. Bob was the corporate and personal sponsor of many hockey and baseball teams, and aspiring players. Community projects both in Atikokan and his home town of LaRiviere, MB, meant a lot to him and he supported them enthusiastically. Throughout his life he gave to many charities and worthwhile causes including multiple bursaries to the graduating students of the Atikokan High School. He truly embodied and exemplified the importance of service to others and sharing your abundance. Bob is survived by: His youngest sister, Jerry Pladsen; his daughter Nancy and her husband Cris Myers of Atikokan, ON; son in law Frank Coulas of Spruce Grove, AB, husband of Bob’s daughter Beth; and daughter in law Paula and her husband Riccardo Verin of Marathon, ON. He was the proud Grandpa to Andrea Myers-Pfeifer and her husband Richard Pfeifer of Thunder Bay, ON; Karen Myers and her husband Paul Dziedziejko of Elmira, ON; Jillian and her husband Kyle Orum of Hanna, AB, Robert Coulas and his husband Caley Shukalek of Calgary, AB; Allison and her husband Andrew Allen of Marathon, ON; and Terry Golding and his partner Trisha Brinklow of Marathon, ON. He was known as Grandpa Bob or Great Grandpa to Grant and Alana Myers-Pfeifer, Easton and Lively Dziedziejko, Natalie and Jack Orum, and Miles Allen. He is also survived by his wife Fern’s family, Bill and Evelyn Shine of Fort Frances, ON, and Glenn Shine of Burlington, ON. He was known as Uncle Bob to so many - those related by blood and those who felt a profound kinship to him. He nurtured a loving relationship to his many nieces and nephews (Uncle, Great Uncle and Great Great Uncle) of both the Moffatt and Shine families. Bob will be reunited with those that have predeceased him; his beloved wife Fern, daughter Beth, his parents Sam and Edna Moffatt, Fern’s parents Emil and Martha Shine, as well as his siblings and their spouses: Amelia; Archie (Red), Mamie Caron and Peggy Moffatt; Ida and Lloyd East; William (Bink), Henrietta and Jean Moffatt; Mildred (Mid), Charlie Johnson and Max Stewart; Neil and Verna Moffatt, and sister in law, Mary Joan Shine. The final chapter has been written in a book that only he could write. Bob Moffatt passed away peacefully, his hand held tightly by his daughter Nancy. If you wish to make a donation in Bob’s memory, his favourite charities were The Atikokan General Hospital P.O. Box 2490, Atikokan, ON, P0T 1C0, Riverview United Church, P.O. Box 730, Atikokan, ON, P0T 1C0, LaRiviere & Community Recreation Assoc., P.O. Box 86, LaRiviere, MB, R0G 1A0 and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Memories

Robert (Bob) C. Moffatt

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Marlene Turner

25 April 2021

Marlene Turner, Manitouwadge
My heart goes out to you dear Nancy and Cris for a special time spent with a very special Dad and person. I never met Bob, but felt I knew him a bit as Nancy sometimes spoke that she would like my late husband, Al to meet him, they had prospecting etc. in common. Wow what a wonderful contribution he made to Atikokan and Northwestern On. providing a wonderful example and jobs!. He is one who will never be forgotten by so many. Past few weeks I have been meaning to call, as last we spoke nearing the end. You are all in my thoughts and prayers, you know that. How blessed you have been to share in his life.

Gerald White

22 April 2021

Sympathy Nancy to you and all the Moffatt family. We were very sorry to hear of Bob's passing. From his amazing life story, to say he lived a very rich life is an understatement and his unselfish generosity towards all those around him is his legacy. He was many things to many people: the best friend and neighbor to Viv and Grant, a second father to Susie, a successful gold prospector, a beekeeper, a gardener, a canner, a pickler and much more, all done while living life to the fullest. He will be missed. Beth, Susie and Fern I am sure were all waiting to welcome him! Always in our hearts! Gerald, Lucy and Grant

John Mason

22 April 2021

Our sympathy to the entire Moffatt family. An amazing obituary writeup that left me speechless. His love of family , Atikokan and friends (in that huge circle) is remarkable in itself. I think back to his prospecting days and discovery of the high grade Bernie-Mitch gold vein, and the excitement of the discovery and camaraderie that ensued(great times); Bernie Schnieders and Bob were a special pair; on the rocks! Viv and Grant White (my Aunt and Uncle) introduced me many years ago to Bob, and I am glad they did! Kind , loving, generous, positive, unselfish, intelligent, fun-loving.................are the words that come to mind when I think about Bob.
Certainly a life well lived. God Bless! John and Barbara Mason

Michael Lewis

22 April 2021

My deepest condolences to Nancy, and to the extended Moffatt family, on Bob’s passing.
Bob was one of a kind, an entrepreneur, a prospector, a farmer, a successful business person, a gentleman, a generous donor to many community events, particularly to youth sports, and above all a dedicated family man.
Deep in my memory is an event that occurred to me more than forty years ago. Bob knew I was a reader of the Globe and Mail. One morning he called me, and in his direct manner told me to get the Globe, turn to the stock page, find Goliath in the mining section, and follow it for the next few weeks, and then buy some stocks in it. Alas, I didn’t. It became Hemlo Gold a thriving mine.
That was Bob. If an idea was good for him, then it probably would be good for others too.
Atikokan has lost a true pioneer.
Michael Lewis

Audrey Parres

21 April 2021

Bob was a kind and generous man. He lured my husband and me to Texas by handing me the keys to his trailer and suggesting we take a winter vacation there. We did. He lined up his Texas friends to show us a good time. They did. The BEST. Such a good time in fact that before heading back to Canada we bought a home in Texas! He was one of a kind and never came calling without a gift in hand be it a grapefruit, homemade Scottish marmalade, fresh picked carrots or maybe Christmas candy. A man of MANY talents who never let you forget he was a farmer at heart. His generosity to ALL and especially to students was much appreciated and the lives of people far and wide enriched because of him. He will live on in our hearts and memories. May your sorrow at his passing be lightened to know how much this man was loved.

Kellee Alexa

19 April 2021

My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. May you find comfort in your memories of Bob being a loving father, a gentle man, a friend, confidant & your biggest supporter. He lived life to the fullest. My condolences to you & your family. (Kellee Alexa)

Bernard Geurts

19 April 2021

Nancy,

Although I did not know your Dad directly , he touched the lives of many people that I do know.

Both my Mom and Dad spoke very highly of your father and related stories involving him and his generosity from the very early days in Atikokan. My best friend here in Thunder Bay has been employed with Moffat Supply for > 20 years and holds your father in very high regard.

People like your Dad touch more people then they will ever know.

We are keeping you and Chris in our thoughts during this difficult time

Bernie and Juli Geurts

Mindy Willett

19 April 2021

Nancy,
I have many fond memories of playing on the hill behind the church and your dad giving us a good push on the toboggan. I remember the many times your Dad (and mine) would be putting the chairs away after the service or coming over for a bit to eat on Christmas eve. I was a little kid to 'Mr. Moffat' - but always felt that he had time to listen to whatever it was I was up to. What a life well lived for many reasons as he exemplified service to others and building community. Sending you a big virtual hug.
Love Mindy

Roxanne Robertson

19 April 2021

So very sad to hear of Bob’s passing. My Aunt Ellen used to speak of your dad and mom often and their friendship with my parents (Joe and Vera Alexa). Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

Elizabeth MacKay

19 April 2021

While reading these marvellous memories I thought of Bob at the first and last time we had the Shriners Circus visit in the old arena. There he was trying to keep the elephants and the people be where they were supposed to be.

Also the first time my father flew from Newfoundland to Atikokan he sat beside Bob from Thunder Bay. I need not have worried about my father being nervous , because Bob was a good tour guide the whole way .

Thinking of you all these days .

FROM THE FAMILY