Friends and family of the late Robert George (Bob) Hendry gathered in the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre Friday, November 7th, 2008, to pay their respects to one of Quesnel’s pioneers. Bob passed away peacefully in his sleep at the G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital Saturday, November 1st, with his wife of 18 years, Yvonne (nee Moffat), at his side.
A ‘Celebration of Life’ was held in the Seniors’ Centre on Carson Avenue Friday afternoon, where more than 400 friends and family members gathered to remember and pay tribute to a man who had contributed greatly to his community. A special feature of the service, officiated by Jack Nelson, was the 1935 International fire engine on display outside the centre, and the role of more than 50 members of the Quesnel Volunteer Firefighters’ Association.
Bob was born Sept. 24th, 1914, and arrived in Quesnel in 1936 at the age of 22. In 1939 he married Sylvia (nee Perry), his wife of 46 years until her death in 1985.
Bob worked for 20 years at Beath Motors, where his skill in welding and metal fabrication was legend to many farmers and loggers of the area. He spent the last 20 years of his working career as Mechanical Foreman for the Town of Quesnel. By the time of his retirement, in 1979, Bob had left his impression on many people and projects around the city…even today, there is a ‘Bob Hendry key’ used by the waterworks crew when repairing some of the older water lines in the community. One of his proudest projects was the working model of the Cornish pump, used for many years on the float representing the City of Quesnel, currently on display outside the museum.
At the time of his death, Bob was the longest-serving member of the Quesnel Volunteer Firefighters’ Association, joining their ranks a few months after his arrival in town. He served as Assistant Fire Chief for many years, representing the City at annual conventions throughout the province. Bob was a founding member of our local Elks Club. He served as president of the Athletics Club during the war years and, later, devoted much of his spare time to the Quesnel Rod and Gun Club and to the Boy Scouts Association. Bob enjoyed fishing. He was an avid curler and golfer. He played a mean poker hand, and he seldom missed an NHL game on TV.
But Bob is perhaps best remembered for his saxophone. Soon after his arrival in town he had joined the Quesnel Youth Band and the Quesnel Volunteer Firemen’s Band. By the 40s, Bob Hendry and his Orchestra were a Saturday night feature in one of many community centres throughout the area…Bouchie Lake, Kersley, Wells, the Legion. He delivered the ballads of the 20s and 30s, but particularly liked playing the music of the Big Band era, especially if it had a Latin or syncopated beat.
Bob is lovingly remembered by his wife, Yvonne; his daughter, Naline (Tony); his son, Don (Darleen); his stepdaughters, Donalda and Joy; by 10 grandchildren, 4 step grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, 5 step great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Buys, Dr. Aziz, and the nursing staff of the G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital for the care and compassion given Bob during his last days, Clayton’s Funeral Directors, and the many people who took part in his memorial service Friday afternoon. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that a donation be made, in Bob’s name, to the Lung Association of BC or to a charity of one’s choice.