Robert Smith



Robert (Robin) Smith, beloved husband of Janet E Smith (nee Hersberger) of Edmonton, Alberta, passed away, at the age of 78 years on Tuesday, June 2, 2021, in the Grey Nuns Hospital, Edmonton.

Robin and Janet married in 1967 and lived in Edmonton, Alberta. Robin is survived by Janet, and by their daughter Jennifer Wickman and her family of Curtis Wickman, Jennifer’s husband since 2001, and their two children; Rebecca (11) and Callum (8) of Arlington, Massachusetts. Robin was predeceased by his parents; Robert (Bob) and Ruth (nee Stokes) Smith; and his only sibling, Lynda Ward (nee Smith).

Robin was a born planner and organizer who loved music, literature, poetry, sports (especially hockey, swimming, football, and golf), and being a father and grandfather. Robin was a great storyteller and made friends everywhere he went (with people and dogs, too)! He loved to spend time with his daughter and her family. With his grandchildren, he was always ready to be silly and fun. He loved to do special things for them whether that was getting them a treat or making them a video of something he thought they'd like. You could not ask for a more supportive or dedicated father and grandfather.

Robin was born in Regina, Saskatchewan on June 16, 1942. He moved with his parents and sister, Lynda, to Edmonton right after he finished High School. Robin immediately attended the University of Alberta in Engineering, joined a Fraternity, and played with a rousing Folk Music band. He left that life to become a Life Insurance agent until he met his future wife, Janet, who encouraged him to return to university, this time in the Arts Faculty, where he excelled, completing a BA, then a 2 year After-Degree teaching qualification from the Faculty of Education. He later completed a Master’s degree in Education, Curriculum Studies. He loved his work as teacher and school administrator, first at the Spruce Grove Elementary and Junior High School where he taught junior high students. After that as a High School vice Principal and English teacher at Memorial Composite High School in Stony Plain.

Robin coached football for a few years at MCHS, sang with other teachers when convinced to show his excellent singing voice, was an active member of the Alberta Teacher’s Association, and even convinced some of his fellow teachers to play hockey together at lunch at a nearby rink once a week at noon for many years. He enjoyed several summers of marking Grade 12 English exams with other High School English teachers. Upon retirement he took on the project of documenting the first students who attended High School in Stony Plain and had a great time hunting down all of the information that had not been previously documented. Then he volunteered with the Parkland Alberta Retired Teachers Association for several years.

After retirement, Robin and another member of their 1960 UAlberta folk music group, Gordon Muerin of Calgary, reconnected and continued to share music stories, videos, and their recent experiences playing stringed instruments, in Robin’s case, guitars, banjo, ukulele, and violin. Robin and his oldest friend, Rick Johnson of Edmonton, met regularly all their lives for lunch and commiseration.

Robin loved his life as a school teacher and administrator; he liked the students, the teachers, and the work of developing new programs such as the Outreach Program, helping revise existing ones including the library and music programs, supporting student led projects such as the year book committee, and helping students (both those in difficulty as well as those who excelled, and all who were doing their best). He worked to support parents in any way the school could. He did not hesitate to wade into a problem area with kindness, good humour, or discipline, always with care for those involved.

The family wishes to thank the Alberta health Palliative Home Care program, and the caring and skillful care Robin received at the last of his life, at the Palliative Care Unit of the Grey Nuns Hospital, Edmonton, that allowed him to pass peacefully and in comfort.

A celebration of life will be held this summer, either in person or through zoom, depending upon Alberta Covid19 regulations. Memorials or donations may be made to the Salvation Army and the Canadian Cancer Society.

In Loving Memory of
Robert Smith
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