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Robert Keeley

Obituary of Robert Cameron Keeley

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Bob Keeley on 18 February 2021 after a long and courageous battle with COPD.

Bob is survived by his loving wife Nancy, married 28 years; their twin daughters Sydney and Brenna; Bob’s three children from his first marriage—Diane (Lloyd), David (Vivian) and Jennifer (Micah); as well as six grandchildren; one of his sisters, Karen; brother Mike (Donna); mother-in-law June, brother-in-law Steve, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunties and an uncle.   Bob was predeceased by his parents Mickey & Peggy Keeley; sister Carol; and father-in-law Eric Poole.

Born on 8 February 1953 in Williams Lake, BC, Bob came home to a log cabin his father built for the family, hoping to make the Cariboo their home. Circumstances didn’t quite work out the way Mickey and Peggy had hoped so the family returned to Vancouver, welcoming baby brother Mike a year later, their family now complete with two daughters, two sons.  

Throughout Bob’s childhood, the family lived in central Vancouver, North Delta and South Burnaby where Bob attended school and played sports. During those years, Bob routinely received awards for his academic prowess, winning the Citizenship Award in Grade 7 and the Industrial Education Award in Grade 10. During high school, he was an avid rugby player.

Marriage brought fatherhood, a role he cherished while working for Johnston Terminals, a job he acquired right out of high school. He then lived in Surrey before moving to Northeast Cloverdale, his home with Nancy and the girls, an easy drive to work at the Fraser Surrey docks on the river, an area he loved. While working with Johnston’s, he drove semi-tractor/trailer rigs, delivering steel throughout the province. One job he was particularly proud of was driving a B-train out past Hope on numerous occasions, delivering cement girders, rebar and heavy equipment needed on the construction of the Coquihalla Highway. Eventually the job morphed into working for TMS Transport, delivering building products to various locations throughout the lower mainland. The job then morphed a third time, his duties as yard manager and foreman, driving a fork lift, responsible for yard inventory and inspecting the trucks for ongoing maintenance. He also mentored many a young driver, telling them, “safety first—at all times!” Bob worked long hours, dedicated to his job, meticulous with his paperwork, his love of numbers evident, even at home, keeping a daily log of the hydro output while tracking other household bills. He was particularly proud of the many licence plates collected over the years, all displayed on the inside of the garage door. And his collection of coins, especially Canadian nickels, something he first got into as a child.

Bob and Nancy met while taking part in a bowling tournament, each on opposing teams, Bob into bowling and golf at that time. He was a lifelong sports enthusiast, introduced to hockey and baseball as a child, watching many a game on television. He and Nancy married in July 1992 and happily became parents to twin girls. Bob often joked, “twin sisters AND twin daughters.” His five children (and six grandchildren) were his greatest joy, so proud of all they have accomplished.

Bob’s health began to deteriorate seven years ago which led to early retirement. COPD didn’t stop him from embracing life despite being tethered to the much needed oxygen. During his retirement, he kept busy, replacing the backyard fence which included a stellar gate, in addition to refurbishing three flooring projects in the family home he and Nancy had shared for more than 22 years.

Bob also loved the outdoors—camping, boating and fishing. He especially enjoyed the nighttime sky away from city lights. He took an avid interest in astronomy and knew more about the stars than anyone else in the family. We all took turns standing with him, staring up at the constellations while he pointed out the North Star, the Big Dipper, Mars, Jupiter or Venus. The heavens held a special fascination to him, interested in the evolution of our galaxy, the complexity of the universe.

Always cold, Bob’s signature look was blue jeans, work socks, a t-shirt, a black hoodie, and his padded vest, numerous handkerchiefs squirreled away in the Kangaroo pouch. He did scrub up rather well when required, telling people, “Nancy dressed me,” accompanied by a smile.

Bob will be missed—not only his impish grin but his bright twinkly eyes, his way of looking at you as though you were the only person who mattered, his exemplary work ethic, his loyalty to family and friends, his wit, humour and laughter, his barbequing skills, his handy-man skills, and his love of Candy Crush! His favourite number was the number 8. Born 8 February, died 18 February, age 68; even his birth year added up to 8—5+3, and his truck number was number 78. The number 8 is known as the number of balance and harmony. Bob was certainly that, despite his stubbornness!

There is no service planned at this time due to the pandemic but the family would like to thank the staff of Fraser Health for their continued support throughout Bob’s illness, particularly these last months. In lieu of cards or flowers, please post a testimonial on Bob’s page, if so inclined, or donate to the BC Lung Association or a charity of your choice.

In Nancy’s words, “Bob can now breathe easy.” He fought the good fight, his stubborn determination keeping him with us despite the debilitating illness, always finding things to do without complaint. Bob’s bright light now shines among the stars, enriching all of our lives with cherished memories.