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September 11, 1942 - January 20, 2024

In loving memory ~

We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Bob (Robert)Willis, who passed away on January 20th, 2024.

Bob was born on September 11th, 1942, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, son of Elizabeth MacKinnon and was raised by Jack and Marion Willis.

The family moved to Goose Bay, Labrador in 1954. He enjoyed his life up North and excelled in all sports especially as a fastball pitcher and a hockey goalie. He learned to fish, hunt and took flying lessons. Some of his jobs were as a D.J, a house painter, a bartender and an assistant air traffic controller.

In 1967, he worked as a B-Stand in Cartierville and St. Hubert Towers. While residing in Montreal, he accidentally met Jeannette over "spilled milk." They married in 1968 and relocated to Winnipeg the following year, where Bob joined the Winnipeg Police Force.

Air Traffic Control was his first love; he graduated from Ottawa in 1971 and subsequently worked at St. Andrews Tower, Kenora, Ontario (radar), Winnipeg Center, then as a supervisor in Winnipeg and Vancouver Centers. He served as a director of CATCA Central Region.

In 1996, he obtained his certificate in Adult Education, which enabled him to teach ATC in Ottawa and Cornwall, Ontario, as well internationally in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Muscat, Oman.

Bob continued playing fastball, in Manitoba and Ontario. He had many adventures, fishing and hunting with his pals, Mike, Al and Gord. As a Dad, he devoted his time coaching his son, Jonathan, in baseball and hockey.

In 2001, Bob was reunited with his birth family in Pictou, Nova Scotia and was warmly welcomed by the Mackenzie clan.

Upon retiring to Vancouver Island in 2004, Bob enjoyed the country life, and working in his garden. He actively engaged in volunteer work with organizations such as BC Seniors Advocacy and NAFR Nanaimo and Area as director and past president.

Bob is survived by his wife of 55 yrs, Jeannette (nee Brunette), his soulmate and love of his life. He adored his children, Jonathan (Tray) and Melanie and was a great Papa to Kassidy, Kurt and Esté. He leaves behind his sisters-in-law, Anita Cloutier (George) and Denise Beer (Richard) and nieces and nephews.

Bob was so proud of his family and his legacy is one of boundless love and generosity.

The family extends a heartfelt gratitude to the EMT, Nanaimo ER and ICU teams.

Donations can be made to Nanaimo District Hospital Foundation.

A Celebration of His Life will be held on May 31st at 1:00 pm at the Nanoose Library Hall, in Nanoose Bay.

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Friday, May 31, 2024
1:00 PM
Nanoose Library Hall, in Nanoose Bay

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