Smellie, Robert Gordon

Published: 
Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Robert Gordon Smellie, 82 died September 29, 2005, at Victoria Hospital in Winnipeg, bringing to a close a lifetime of service to community, province and country. That life began in 1923 at Russell, Manitoba where Bob received his elementary and high school education. The service began when he interrupted his education at Brandon College and enlisted in the Canadian Army to serve in World War 11. Within weeks of surviving the D-Day landing at Juno Beach in Normandy, Bob was wounded and evacuated to England for treatment and recovery. Officer training followed, and he received his commission as a Lieutenant. Returning to Canada after the war, he completed his interrupted education, and married his fiancÈe, Lois Cochrane, who became the mother of their three daughters. Obtaining his law degree, he practiced law in Russell, and several years later joined the firm of Aikins MacAulay to practice in Winnipeg. While still in Russell, Bob was elected to the Manitoba Legislature and served a period as Minister of Municipal Affairs with the Duff Roblin government. Bob subsequently chaired a provincial boundaries commission and after retiring from the practice of law, served as chairman of the Municipal Board of Manitoba. Bob maintained a close relationship with his wartime regiment, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, and in 1986 was appointed Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment. After serving many years at various levels with the Royal Canadian Legion, in 1972 he was elected Dominion President. Bob joined the Canadian Corps of Commissioners in 1978 as a governor of the Manitoba Division, and served as National Chairman in 1995. After 20 years of service, the Corps warded him its highest honor - the Distinguished Service Medal. in 2003, he was awarded a Queen's Jubilee Medal. Predeceased by his parents, George and Jessie Smellie, Bob is survived by his wife of 25 years, Jean, and her daughter Penelope Clarke (Paul Inksetter) of Thunder Bay; his first wife Lois and their daughters Susan (Tsugio) Kurushima of Victoria, Carol (George) Gamby of Winnipeg, and Linda (Doug) Gage of Calgary; and grandchildren, Carmen and Brad Kurushima, Christopher and Andrew Gamby, and Scott and Graham Gage; and great-granddaughter Emily Gage. Also surviving are Bob's sister, Patricia Partaker of Winnipeg, and brothers George (Taisia) of Winnipeg and Logie (Dorothea) of Esterhazy, Sask. , as well as numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. A memorial will be held in the Minto Armoury, St. Matthews Ave. , Winnipeg at 7:00 p.m. October 18. In lieu of flowers, friends wishing to make tributes are encouraged to make donations either to the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Trust Fund, 221-5445 Roblin Blvd. , Winnipeg, MB, R3R 3W7, or to the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, P.O. Box 24036, Thunder Bay, ON, P7A 8A9.