Gordon Ross Robertson was born in Toronto to Dr. Ross and Mary Robertson. He was the middle of three children, older brother John (Francis), and younger sister Mary Elizabeth (Alex).
Dad lived life with a sparkle in his eye. He loved being active in the mountains or on the water, in helping people, and in worshiping God.
During his school days in Ontario, dad memorized vast quantities of poetry and in his later years a passing phrase would trigger a distant memory and he would recite a poem. A few days before he died his eldest son played the sound of a grandfather clock which has been in the family for 200 years – and dad, who was barely speaking, recited “My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf, so it stood ninety years on the floor.”
At sixteen, after living in a variety of Ontario and Quebec locations, the family moved to Vancouver. After graduating from Lord Byng and going to UBC, he followed his father’s footsteps into the medical profession, graduating from the University of Toronto.
Dad met Daphne Jean Granger at a church young people’s social at 16. They married at 25, beginning their married life in a tiny Toronto basement suit with a tub in the laundry room for dishes. They went to Hope, and then Kelowna where they were part of a vibrant church young couples’ group and established lifelong friendships. This community inspired and supported them to move to rural Zambia for four years to practice medicine and bring the love of Jesus.
On returning to Canada in 1967 dad did a residency at Shaugnessy Hospital and then settled in the Cowichan Valley where he worked in General Practice at the Coleman Clinic. He sought to treat the whole person, not only the presenting ailment. An appointment with Dr. Robertson might entail a long wait, but would include a listening ear. On his many house calls he carried a vial of oil from the Holy Land to pray for and anoint the sick. He was an active member of the Adlerian Society. Gordon enjoyed the diversity of general practice –but the highlight was always the birth of a baby, and he delivered multiple generations of Duncan babies.
Dad loved his family, and nothing gave him such joy as being with his 5 children: David (Laura), Stephen (Sybil), Brian (Leah), Kathryn (Dennis), and EunYoung (Don). He was delighted to be the grandfather of 7 grandsons and 7 granddaughters, as well as 24 great grandchildren. Their families are scattered across North and South America, and he loved hearing about their activities.
In Duncan Dad was a long-time member of Duncan United, and then of St Andrew’s Presbyterian. From our earliest years dad and mom sought to nourish our spiritual lives, and faithfully took the whole family to Camp Farthest Out (CFO), where he was an active leader. He is remembered with fondness or chagrin for playing his bagpipes for the 7am morning wakeup call.
Dad and mom had a shared vision for living life fully. Over the years they had many projects and adventures – renovating their houses, multi-week sailing trips, and in their retirement, trips abroad for CFO international, and B&B or RV trips with friends to warm places.
Dad and mom lived for 20 years on Jaynes Rd in Duncan. Then, finding the house and yard work too onerous, they moved to a seaside cottage in Chemainus – and promptly renovated and expanded it. Dad loved beauty, and a rose garden was a feature of most of his homes.
In his 80s Dad had a mini stroke (TIA). Slowly previous joys - sailing, gardening, leading Bible Studies – disappeared from his life. Dad and mom moved from their beloved home to Independent Living in Nanaimo, and then to Stanford Care Home in Parksville where they were blessed to have a spacious double room which functioned as a small suite. To the end he continued to love worshiping God, took joy in being with his family, and was known throughout the Care Home where he spent his last 4 years for his friendliness and his “micro-hug.”
He knew where he was going and looked forward to meeting Jesus face to face.
Heartfelt thanks to Tammy for her exercises, songs and prayers with Dad in his last months. Also, to the staff of Stanford Place who have persevered through hardships in the past two years.
A Service in his memory, followed by a tea, will be held on Sunday May 15 at 2:00 at Christian Fellowship Centre in Qualicum Beach.
Dad had a deep compassion for children in need and gifts in his memory may be given to Hope and Healing International.
To send flowers to Gordon's family, please visit our floral store.