James Joseph RobbsSeptember 22, 1929 ~ April 14, 2016 (age 86)
James Joseph Robbs
On 14 April 2016, at age 86, at the Stettler Active Treatment Hospital, James Joseph Robbs suddenly, and peacefully, left this world.
‘Jimmy’ was the third child born to Joseph Victor Robbs and Jenny Thomson in Hanna, Alberta. He was raised, and worked hard, alongside his 4 siblings on the ‘Ranch at Lone Butte’. The family raised purebred Herefords, which Jimmy and Gloria showed in 4H. They sold bulls at major bull sales around the country. While in their late teens, Jim and Gloria won a 4H trip to Ottawa where they toured around, and he got to sit in the seat of the ‘Leader of the Opposition, John Dieffenbacher’. Both parents died, within a short time frame, when Jim was in his early 20's. He bought the farm from the estate. In 1952, he married Cecilia Fairweather, farmed, and they had 3 children: Cynthia (Dwayne) Diegel, of Gadsby, AB, Joseph (Margaret) Robbs, of Calgary, AB, and Judy Robbs of Spruce Grove, AB.
Jim was discouraged when the family could no longer afford to remain on the farm and it was sold in 1962. The family moved into Hanna where he was employed: setting up farm machinery for CCIL, did mechanical work for K&B Motors, spent years as a furniture salesman at the Macleods franchise, then later took over the rural mail run from his good friend, John McLean, which he enjoyed for many years. Jim and Celia divorced. In the 1980’s Jim chose to alienate himself from his children. People often wondered if he had any family. He made a choice, and stuck by it. He traveled to Australia, to Asia with Don Ganong, to Cuba, and to Las Vegas with his brother, Lorne. Jim enjoyed reading, puzzle solving, collecting coins, visiting, and discussions about a variety of subjects. To most, he was a friendly and amiable fellow, who followed his own path. Jim never had a problem forming and expressing his own opinions. He always ‘liked a good argument’. Discussions would get heated, but he rarely changed his mind.
In the 1990's, due to declining health, Jim moved into the Acadia Lodge in Hanna, where he befriended and helped many. The staff and residents of the Acadia Lodge were his family for nearly 20 years. He met an ‘older woman’ named Mollie Brooke. They each enjoyed walking, separately. A few times he asked Mollie if they could walk together but she was quite concerned that ‘people will talk’, so refused. He was surprised and pleased when she suggested that they could walk together, ‘if they were married’, and so... Jim married Mollie, the love of his life, in secret, in Feb 2003. Finally, Jim experienced happiness. Their love and closeness over the next 4 years was beautiful to see. Jim was also very proud to help Florence Storch practice and prepare for the Alberta Seniors Games.
In 2015, Jim’s health further deteriorated and he moved to Points West Living in Stettler, where he resided for about 6 months. He mostly liked it, but often expressed the wish to go back to Hanna.
Dad was predeceased by: his parents, Joseph and Jenny Robbs, best friend and oldest brother, Lorne Robbs, beloved wife, Mollie Brooke. He is survived by sisters Merle Hayes (Rimbey), Gloria Robbs (Calgary), and brother Lyle (Gladys) of Rimbey. In some cases, ‘Family are chosen, not blood relatives’. Jim Robbs chosen families were: staff at Acadia Lodge, Hanna, and the Hanna Home Care staff who looked after his many medical and physical needs over the years. He really did have a chance to ‘age in place’. His friends on the rural mail route. Hutterite friends. Many others who filled the empty spaces in his life. Linda Fano Hill - surrogate niece. Biggest thank-you to Les Karg, nephew to Mollie Brooke, who went above and beyond. Jim had a full life, and he did it his way.
Years ago, Jim made it known that he wished to be cremated, and no funeral service. Thank you to those who touched his life.
Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.brennenfuneralhome.com or www.heartlandfuneralservices.com. Arrangements in care of Brennen Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Stettler. 403-742-3315 and Heartland Funeral Services Ltd., Hanna, 403-854-2758. Divisions of Central Alberta Family Funeral Services.