Robert Charles Ekelund
Nov. 21, 1932 – Sept. 19, 2019
Robert Charles (Bob) Ekelund of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., passed away Sept. 19, 2019, in the Rimbey Hospital where he was being cared for after suffering a stroke on Aug. 9.
Bob was born Nov. 21, 1932, on the family farm at Twin Butte. In the rugged yet beautiful foothills just north of Waterton Lakes National Park, which his family had close ties to, Bob lived his childhood in the beauty and splendour of prairie ranch lands that drifted to the base of the majestic Dungarvan Range, a stretch of the Rockies that inspire awe in all that gaze upon them.
As a young boy, he attended school in a one room school house at the base of Spread Eagle Mountain, where learning came with lessons also in horsemanship, hunting, trapping and “Wild lands” ranching, resulting in a true respect for the flora and fauna that made up the natural grandeur all around him.
Armed with a grade ten education (his last year received at Strathcona High School in Edmonton), Bob entered the workforce determined to make his way in a brand new industry in the era of oil and gas. It was that move that caused this young man in the midst of the Oil Boom to meet his beautiful wife June Kerbes in Stettler, Alta.
Bob’s oilman career led him through more than 40 years of dedicated service from Pincher Creek Gas Plants to construction superintendent of a Rainbow Lake facility, then to Rocky Mountain House to build the Ram River Gas Plant as construction and later production superintendent. He rounded out his oil career by developing a safety department for Husky Oil, serving as safety superintendent after his retirement, working in the oil safety industry as a consultant through his business Silvertip Safety Services.
Bob spent his life as a rancher, an oilman and a dedicated father of a family of nine children and foster parent with June of 497 children in care over a 40-year career. Bob and June received a Humanitarian Award from the Government of Alberta for their services.
Bob was predeceased by his brothers, Jack and Bill; sister Jean Sinclair; and his beloved children David Ekelund and Julia Morrison. He is survived by his wife June; sister Helen McNab; and children Mike Ekelund, Connie Harvie, Aron Ekelund, Brian English, James Ekelund, Debbie Lecerf and Liz Frisneth. He and his wife June were married sixty-five years and were lovingly surrounded by their children, 22 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
A funeral service was held Oct. 7, 2019, at the First Christian Reformed Church, Rocky Mountain House.