It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our dear father, Robin Carpenter, in The Pas hospital, very peacefully with family at his side. He was nine days short of his 89th birthday.
Robin was born in Milestone, Saskatchewan and lived his young life in Saskatoon and Yorkton. In 1941 he returned to Milestone to work on his uncle’s farm and road outfit, beginning his life-long love of all things equipment, especially caterpillars. Robin left the farm for Navy life from 1944 to 1946. After the war, he went back to equipment operating and in January 1948 he drove a tractor for Transport Ltd. hauling freight from Flin Flon to Brochet. When that harrowing job was completed, Robin returned to Milestone where he married a local school teacher, Mary Stephenson, in 1948. They settled in a small farmhouse and started their family – Kathy first in 1951 and then Jean in 1953.
However, the North exerted its pull on Robin and in 1954 he loaded up Mary, Kathy, Jean and Skippy the dog in their Chevy car to make the long journey to Clearwater Lake where they joined his parents at Carpenter’s Camp. When fire destroyed the main lodge building in 1955, the family moved to The Pas Airport where Robin was employed with Aerofuel Ltd. until he bought the re-built lodge from his parents in 1969. He and Mary operated Carpenter’s Lodge until their retirement in 1986. During that time, many of their customers became life-long friends who have remained friends until his passing. Upon retirement, Robin and Mary only moved across the road from the lodge into a new house in order, as Robin liked to say, “to keep an eye on their retirement plan.”
Robin was an avid fisherman, both during open water season and ice-fishing season. He called his boat “The Meat Boat” and bringing home fish to eat was his priority. After retirement, Mary was usually along with him on these excursions which (another of his favorite sayings) “helped to keep the wolf from the door.” He was very enthusiastic about snowmobiling and loved to ride on the groomed trails in Clearwater Park. His other life-long love was motorcycles. As a young man he owned a Henderson 4 and in the latter years of his life, he bought a 50 cc Yamaha to zip around the lake roads. It was street legal so he liked to get out on the park highway which gave the rest of us cause for concern. However, his big interest was in the trikes which are becoming popular today and he said if he were ten years younger that he would be riding one of them. When Robin worked at the airport, he obtained his private pilot’s license and his interest in and knowledge of all aspects of aviation remained with him into his senior years.
Dad was a die-hard fan of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He had Roughriders clothes and he flew a Roughrider flag outside his home. When the club was on a bad streak this season, he wondered if he would have to lower his flag to half-mast. He watched all their games on TV and really got into the action. One time Mother told us that he was so mad at a call made against a Roughrider that he got up and kicked over his footstool. Dad also played hockey as a young man and interest in that sport stayed with him right to the end.
However, Dad also had a domestic side to him. He loved to cook and was always experimenting with improvements to recipes. He was particularly proud of the bread he produced with his bread machine. In the earlier years, he liked to make home brew, but we were able to set him on a more useful course when wine kits became popular. He became an expert at wine-making - red, blush, white and port – and they were all delicious. He also surprised us by embracing the computer age. He became adept at looking up all sorts of interesting subjects on the internet. We would often hear the sounds of a caterpillar roaring in the office as he viewed some YouTube of heavy equipment at work. He was even able to send out email messages on what he referred to as the “teletype”. Dad had a very soft spot in his heart for animals, in particular, cats. He adopted numerous strays over the years and they always received the best of care and attention from him. He gave up hunting many years ago as he told us that when he once shot a deer and looked into those soft brown eyes, he was done forever. In their retirement years, he and Mother took up square-dancing, became quite expert and travelled all over Manitoba and Saskatchewan to attend dances.
Robin is survived by his two daughters, Kathy Sangster and Jean Melko. He taught us to have a good work ethic by encouraging us with sage advice like: “Keep your nose to the grindstone.” Dad had a close and harmonious relationship with his two sons-in-law, Doug and Lawrence, mainly because the advice he was dying to give them, he was able to keep to himself! He had a great love for his three grandsons – Gary, Roger and Boyd Melko who visited with him regularly throughout his whole life. And when their wives entered the picture – Bambi, Lori and Marie – they too were loved and loved him back. Then two great- grandsons came along – Logann and Jakob – to keep him young at heart. He liked to go into town and watch them play beginner hockey and had a critical eye for their skills. Finally in 2014 a little girl was born into the family – great-granddaughter Elin Marie and she brought a sparkle to his eye when he held her on his knee. Robin is also survived by two sisters living in Ontario – Elizabeth and Mary.
Robin was pre-deceased by his wife Mary in 2014 and he never did get over the loss of the woman he had loved for 65 years. He was also pre-deceased by brother Graydon and sister Laura.
We would thank the Home Care attendants who made his life so much easier over the past few months, Dr. Kostyk and Dr. Rasool, and all the nurses and doctors in ER and ACIU for their care and compassion. No matter how uncomfortable Dad was, he always appreciated their kindness and professionalism. Also we want to thank his special friends for all their help – Jack and Bobbi Belous and Craig and Tanis Asselstine.
Robin has requested cremation and no service will be held. If you wish to make a donation in his name, please choose a charity of your choice. Hemauer Funeral Home and Cremation Services are in care of arrangements. Thank-you James and staff for your care of our dear father.
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