If Roddie was putting together this obituary what a story he would tell. The Man could weave a tale. The facts were not always accurate, but the story was always entertaining. And through his stories you would learn about a man who lived a full life, surrounded by friends he treasured and a family he loved.
Stories about deer hunting with Georgie MacInnis, going to square dances with Hughie MacKenzie, or playing hockey with Hammie MacInnis. Being with Jean, his wife of 58 years, at dances and parties with the Walkers, the Williams, the Bonnell’s and the Rudderhams. Square dances in Frenchvale and East Bay and the one in Boisdale where he met Jean, a girl from MacAdam’s Lake, with whom he would build a family and a life.
He would tell the tale of the twelve year old him and Gerald Mac blocking the chimney of the school house in Frenchvale so that school was cancelled because of the smoke. Or boosting a car at the Peridot after working a Saturday at Co-op Building Supplies. And really, do you need the permission of the person who owns the other car? How he loved playing hockey with the Mounties, a relationship which got him out of many predicaments…like the time he boosted a car in the Peridot parking lot.
He would tell you about his favourite job, driving the school bus, giving bags of suckers to the little ones on Fridays. And then on Sunday, at St. Mary’s in Frenchvale, having them high five him as they returned from receiving communion.
He loved April Fool’s Day, playing tricks on the kids on the bus. His favourite was the year he prepared breakfast for Pam and her shock when she cracked open the boiled egg only to find out it was hollow. He would laugh as he later explained that he wished someone had told him you were supposed to blow the eggs contents through…not suck them out.
When his health was failing he hated having to go to the hospital, but in earlier years he regularly popped by the hospital to check on whoever he heard was sick and would then wander the halls to see if he knew anyone else and have a visit, whether they wanted one or not.
He loved a good card game. Loud and rowdy tarbish games with his brothers or asking for patience while playing with Jean and the girls. “Why did you play that? Weren’t you counting the cards?”
His golf story wouldn’t be about a game or tournament…it would be about running through the woods, chasing the fox who stole his golf ball off the fairway. Returning home with holes in the knees of his pants and a bucket of golf balls. The Fox was not happy.
He would tell you how getting old sucks when he would have to watch the harness races on a computer after a lifetime of going to the track, leaning on the railing with his buddies, placing bets and even winning occasionally. Okay not that often.but the fun was in the watching. He loved the horses, but none more so than his pride and joy, his palomino named Rocky.
He was a County Councillor for close to two decades and loved elections because it meant he got to go visit folks and catch up on all the latest news. He loved being part of the Balls Creek - Frenchvale community.
He would have said how grateful he was to have the family he had. Jean for her love and for looking after him in his later years. Wendy for always looking after him, his banking, his medical requirements, and yelling at him when he needed it. Barb for her sarcasm and dry wit. Pam for always arriving home with provisions for a great meal, a silly game to play, and a story to entertain him. And Sharon for sharing his love of Politics, keeping him up to speed on what was happening behind the scenes in Ottawa.
His girls found wonderful men to share their lives and Roddie adored having them at the house. Wendy & Curtis Roper; Sharon & Tim Alp; Barb & Jimmy MacInnis; and Pam & Pete Hamilton.
Those close to Roddie knew that losing their son Blaise, who was born with serious health issues, was incredibly tough on Roddie. But losing his beloved Barb to cancer earlier this year broke his heart and he never truly recovered from that loss.
Roddie might tell you that his favourite role was being Poppie to Cortland, Ryley, Jayden, Mason, Keylen & Rory. He loved hearing about their adventures. And he treasured visits from Margaret Neville, and her stories of travel around the world.
Roddie would end this obituary thanking Dr. Poulos for his care and his conversations. He would thank Sandra Toner. He would thank Fr. Vargheese for his weekly visits and he would thank his nephew Jimmy Musgrave for always being there.
After a lifetime of attending wakes and funerals, too many cups of tea and egg sandwiches to mention, Roddie will be waked at W.J. Dooley Funeral Home in North Sydney from 7-9 pm on Tuesday May 10th. A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church in Frenchvale on Wednesday May 11th at 11:00 a.m.. In lieu of flowers please say a prayer that Roddie’s Detroit Red Wings make the playoffs next year.
He can rest easy now, knowing his stories will be remembered and retold.as we could never forget them…and we could never forget him; a husband, a Dad, a grandfather and a friend who’s life made for a wonderful story.
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