June 20, 1940 – August 11, 2020
On August 11, 2020, Ian Robertson passed away peacefully, with his beloved wife Bonnie at his side. Ian was born in Montreal on June 20, 1940 to Rocke and Roslyn Robertson. He will be greatly missed by Bonnie, his wife of 58 years; his children Wes (Bev), Stuart (Sheena), and Susan; and by his grandchildren Chelsea, Isabel, Sophia, Joe, Nelson, George, and Beatrice. He was predeceased by his brother Tam and is survived by his sister Beatrice and his brother Stuart.
Ian had many friends. It was said that when he entered a room, “everyone relaxed with a sort of invisible thought, oh good, Ian’s here so everything will be all right.” Ian was well known for his sense of humour—he was quick and witty, and often caused loud groans with his puns.
Ian received a BA from McGill and an MBA from Harvard. He worked in finance at Wood Gundy until 1968, then joined the Canadian International Development Agency and was there for ten years, including postings to the Philippines and India. In 1978 he left CIDA for the private sector, and 1982 he and a partner formed MRI International, a marketing consulting firm. In 1989 he left MRI for BC Trade and was then Executive Director of the Canada-ASEAN Centre in Singapore from 1990 to 1999.
After returning to Canada he wrote three books of family history, including the story of his father’s war years (“While Bullets Fly”); the life of Alexander Rocke Robertson, the first Canadian-born BC Supreme Court judge (“The Honourable Aleck”); and the life of an ancestor who lived through the War of 1812 (“Marie Françoise Huc”).
Ian loved rugby; he played at high school (Shawnigan) and university (UBC, McGill), as well as club rugby in Montreal and Toronto. Later, he continued to watch the pros on TV and youth players on local fields. He also loved music, especially 1950s rock and 1960s folk, and was a great singalong guitarist. His version of the Kingston Trio’s “The Tattooed Lady” always brought down the house.
Upon moving to Vancouver Island in 2003, Ian and Bonnie became active in local life, notably on the QBANA Social Committee, singing in the Camerata choir, and volunteering with Global Village Nanaimo. True to form, Ian also participated in the creation of the Affordable Housing: Vancouver Island Society.
Our world is a better place for having had Ian in it and he will be sadly missed.
Ian’s family would like to thank the staff at the Hospice at Trillium Lodge in Parksville and the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, who were caring and professional. Online tributes for Ian can be left at Yates Memorial Services at www.yatesmemorial.ca. In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations to the Kids International Development Society (KIDS) at www.kidsdevelopmentsociety.org.
To send a condolence to the family please visit www.yatesmemorial.ca
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