JA Snow Funeral Home


Robert Anthony Sampson

September 3, 1959November 26, 2011

Sampson, Robert Anthony – 52, Halifax, passed away at home Saturday, November 26, 2011 surrounded by his loving family and in the arms of Eileen and Missy. Born in Halifax, he was the son of Joseph Anthony (Tony) and Shirley (Mitchell) Sampson. Besides his parents, Robert is survived by his wife, Eileen (Brennan), daughter Melissa Mullins (Mike), grand-daughter and light-of-his-life, Hannah, brother Stephen (Kendrick), sister Donna Pettipas (Ron), nieces Erin Pettipas (Justin), Kate Brennan (Kyle), nephews Patrick MacKenzie and Sam Brennan, special cousin, Darlene Loke (Hank), special sister, Robin Deveau, and step-daughters in Maine, Kate McEvoy and Sarah McEvoy Hodgdon (Caleb). Robert lit up a room when he entered it. His genuine and magnetic personality brought him life-long friends from all walks of life. His radiant smile, easy humour, and sincere love for others touched the lives of so many. He had an intensely strong bond and connection to his daughter, his siblings, and to his guy friends, and he loved his whole family fiercely. Robert’s generous spirit and energy, and his remarkable gift of spreading smiles and positivity everywhere he went, will be sorely missed by many others, including life-long hunting buddies, hundreds of co-workers and students who became friends, the close-knit local antique family, the entire Sir John A MacDonald High School class of ’78 which he single-handedly “glued” into family status, the children in Hannah’s day care all of whom call him “Gampy” (much to Hannah’s chagrin), and of course, his fluffy little pal, Bijou. Robert graduated from Halifax Regional Vocational School in 1980 as an apprentice plumber. He was a firm believer in lifelong learning. True to his values he continued to pursue his educational goals while working full time, graduating from Saint Mary’s University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology. Robert worked for Government Services at the V.G Hospital for twelve years and held a number of other positions in the plumbing industry and Nova Scotia Department of Education, before accepting a position at the Nova Scotia Community College. It was here that Robert’s passionate interest in the skilled trades came to fruition. He championed the opportunities and benefits of skilled trades programs in Nova Scotia, and mentored countless individuals over the course of his career. He was a natural leader who inspired others to recognize their unique talents and unlimited potential. His special gift was to see and nurture potential in those who might not see it in themselves. This gift he himself received from a special teacher, Sheila Lamplugh, and he paid it forward a thousand fold. Robert loved his work at Nova Scotia Community College where he served in a number of roles, most recently as an Academic Chair for the School of Trades and Technology. In addition to being a valued educator, leader and colleague, he was a mentor and friend to many in the NSCC community. Robert’s passion for students, and especially for under-represented groups to have access to learning and career opportunities, fuelled the many activities and partnerships he championed with energy and enthusiasm. His engaging smile and positive attitude helped many students gain the confidence to overcome the barriers they faced because they knew Robert was in their corner. Robert’s incredible dedication to his work was second only to the love he had for his family and his wide network of friends. He thoroughly enjoyed every moment he spent with others and will long be remembered for his ready wit, incredible sense of humour and endearing charm. He was truly a good man who strove to live an “examined life,” never taking his happiness, or the opportunities that life had to offer, for granted. Robert pursued a vast array of interests. He was as happy to attend a NASCAR race as he was to attend the symphony. Robert’s father nurtured him and his friends as hunters, through which they shared over 30 years of joy and camaraderie in the “plywood palace” at Stewiake (with minimal harm to wildlife). One of his lesser known but constant hobbies was offering impromptu career counselling to cashiers. He loved gardening and collecting china, and he learned in recent years that he could enjoy leaving the job he loved so much to vacation with Eileen. From these travels he found new “family” in Cape Cod and Maine, he discovered a love of boating (provided by Captains Caleb and George), he almost acquired a second language in Mexico, he experienced a rain forest and “bus beer” in Grenada, snorkeling and conch fritters in the Bahamas, he was immersed in culture in Barcelona (yes, he ate paella), and on the “Magic” Mediterranean cruise he was utterly blown away, especially by cannolis in Sicily, and by seeing the sun rise over Venice. Other activities paled when Robert became Hannah’s grandfather. He was just so smitten and devoted. When he became ill, Robert’s one regret was that he would leave Hannah too soon, describing his life as otherwise “perfect.” He faced the challenges of his illness with incredible courage and dignity. A special thank you to all the nurses who gave hope and cared for us, to the whole QEII oncology team who went beyond the call of duty, especially Dr. Amy Nason, whose compassion and encouragement helped us so much at the end, and to Father Roberto Donato, who brought serenity and peace to us all. Robert was a gift from God. Visitation will be held at J.A. Snow Funeral Home, 339 Lacewood Dr., Halifax (902) 455-0531 ( from 2 – 8 pm on Thursday, December 1st . Funeral service at St. Theresa’s Church 10:30 am on Friday, December 2nd. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society (

I carry your heart with me I carry it in my heart It is with me always


  • Visitation

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, December 2, 2011


Robert Anthony Sampson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rick MacMillan

December 16, 2011

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Robert's passing.Robert was always great to work with. Robert always had a smile . When I reviewed the photo's all I could think of is that the first time I meet Robert is that smile and a good joke to tell. Robert worked very hard in helping others to meet their goals. My prayers are with Robert's family.

Greg and Diana Sampson

December 6, 2011

We want to offer our deepest sympathy for the lose of Robert. We never had the pleasure of meeting Robert but we heard so many positive things about Robert from his parents Tony and Shirley who often visited our family in Louisdale. Looking at all the wonderful photos tell me how positive and happy Robert was with his Family and Friends

Our prayers go out to all your family.

Natalie Kenrick

December 5, 2011

May the peace of fond memories bring you comfort now and in the days ahead. Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow.

Our deepest sympathy,
Natalie Kenrick & Craig Cherrett

Katrina Kieley

December 5, 2011

He will be sadly missed. Prayers go to your family

December 4, 2011

So sorry for your lose. Robert's charm and caring personality will always be remembered. To all the good times in high school and our class reunions that Robert made happen, he will truly be missed, but will never be forgotten.

Luann Doyle (Boutilier)

December 3, 2011

There are no words...sending love and hugs.

Sue, Nancy, Cali and Tyler xo

lynn myra

December 2, 2011

may the tragic passing of our dear fiend Robert teach us all the true meaning of a life successfully lived in that there is no amount of any currency that can replace the obvious respect and admiration felt and displayed exponentially by his widespread and diverse group of friends.

lynn myra

December 2, 2011

may our tragic loss of our dear friend Robert..teach us all the true meaning of having lived life successfully,,,as there is no amount of any currency that can replace the respect and admiration he has obviously obtained throughout every aspect of his life...

December 1, 2011

To Eileen, Stephen and families ...
The world has lost one of its bright lights.
For me and I expect for many of his former teachers, Robert will remain one of the most endearing and memorable of all the students who made Sir John A a wonderful high school.
My sincere sympathy.
Grayce Rogers

Beth (Fisher)Giberson (Sir JohnA - Class of '78)

December 1, 2011

Dear Eileen,

The posts here and on Caring Bridge have revealed a precious gem in Robert. He was our "Head Boy" in '78. We all admired and respected him as a friend and a leader. It is easy to see that this was his "true self" as the tributes describe the incredible character and life he lead. Thankfully he was able to share this life with you!
He made a difference in our lives but most importantly, to yours and those he loved.
1,575 km is the physical distance between us today, but Friday my heart and thoughts will be right with you. God bless you and all at St. Theresa's


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