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Posted: December 24, 2021

Obituary of Robert E Clarke

Robert E. Clarke (Bob) passed away at the Invermere Hospital on December 20th, 2021. Bob was born in Didsbury, Alberta April 23, 1937, and grew up in Bergen where his mother’s family homesteaded. He began to work part-time when he was 13 and left school to work full time when he was 15 to support his mother, sisters and brother. In 1954, 17-year-old Bob moved to Banff and worked for the Spray Lakes Sawmills Ltd., where he started as a yard bird then moved on to cat skinner.

In 1959 Bob married Ida Pope and they moved around to various areas where Bob could find work. With the family growing, migrant camp life was a challenge, so they moved back to Sundre where Bob became a municipal police officer. When the RCMP took over, he turned to car sales, then in 1972 they bought Mountain Aire Lodge west of Sundre. After three years there, they moved back to Banff and he began his long career with Parks Canada, working in Banff, Glacier and Kootenay National Parks, with two short side stints in Tete Jaune Cache and Grand Cache.

By the end of his Parks career, Bob had driven nearly everything on wheels and was training new recruits. He also proudly organized and emceed the KNP Truck Road-eo for many years.

After he and Ida parted ways, Bob devoted more time to his hobbies and took a trip to Norway to see where his mother’s family was from. Well-read and with many skills from his varied careers, Bob was also active in many community organizations, and when it came time to retire, he decided to fulfill his lifelong dream to be an author. History and maps had long been a passion for Bob, so he created a character that had a colourful life on the Canadian Frontier.

Writing his seven book Trig Carlyle series gave him great satisfaction and kept him busy travelling to farmers’ markets and craft fairs in Southern Alberta and BC. Settling down again in Banff, Bob continued to write and worked part time with Brewster Travel, creating the ice roads at Columbia Glacier and clearing snow at their facilities in Banff townsite. He was also on a committee to create a Banff history book called We Live in a Postcard.

This past summer he moved back to the Columbia Valley to spend his last days living happily with his daughter Sharon’s family.

Bob is predeceased by his father Edwin Clarke and his mother Solvieg (Haug) Clarke, his brother Ernest Clarke, his daughter Daphne Smith and his grandchildren Arlyann Stevens and Bryce Clarke. He is survived by his sisters, Jean Clark, Carol Sabourin and Anne Vezina, his brother Edwin Clarke, his son Robert Clarke, his daughters, Rose (Shane) Reid, Sharon (Robin) Wass, Stephanie (Tony) Stevens, and Sandi Courtorielle, 12 grandchildren (Margery, Chris, Dennis, Laura, Holly, Justin, Scott, Aidan, Shelby, Logan, Pierce and Sharon), 11 great grandchildren (Hope, Cassidy, Lachlan, Gwyddion, Tanwen, Soren, Ember, Ryker, Caleb, Caspian and Carter) and many nieces and nephews.

Bob loved well and was well loved. He will live on in our hearts.

There will be no service at this time but a celebration of life will be organized next summer.

 


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