Obituary of Bobbie Roller
Bob Roller, a long-time resident of Hythe, AB., formerly a long-time resident of Chetwynd, B.C. passed away on Friday, November 2, 2018 in Grande Prairie, AB, at the age of 89 years.
Bob was born to Earl and Emma Roller in Bellbrook, Ohio on August 26, 1929. He was the second born child, a first born son who would be joined by two more sisters and lastly a baby brother in 1946. A brother, who in the late 60’s would move to Chetwynd and be part of Roller Bros. Construction.
Bob married Ellen Jane Moyer on November 20, 1948 and although he didn’t make it to the 70th Anniversary day, he and Ellen had 70 eventful years together. They had 6 children together: Roberta, Rebecca, Rosalinde, Rochelle, Calloway and Robin. In 1966, with Ellen 8 months pregnant with Robin, the family travelled to British Columbia for a vacation and to “scout out the area”. Application was made to purchase some land and in 1967 the whole family moved back to Chetwynd to start their lives a new.
They purchased an old log home 15 miles west of town that had no power or running water and fixed it up to a nice comfortable place for them and their 6 children. Their home overlooked a farm across the highway from them that they soon purchased and named it Bend River Ranch. Many years were spent raising grain, hay, cattle and kids as well as having their heavy duty equipment business, Roller Brothers. At age 50 he learned how to play the banjo and taught his young daughter Robin how to ‘pick’ it too. Traveling in the summers with her to music festivals gave them the inspiration to start one of their own at Bend River Ranch.
The Peace River Bluegrass and Country Music Festival ran for 10 years. It was at this time that Bob and Ellen decided to sell the farm and move a few short hours across the provincial line to the small town of Hythe, Alberta. While living in Hythe, they restored 2 old homes to modern day living, always having room for a garden with award winning produce featured at the Hythe Fall Fair. In the last few years Bob took up growing some great tomatoes and then would spend a couple of months making tomato juice as they ripened.
In the 51 years they lived in Canada, 27 years were spent in Chetwynd and then 24 years in Hythe. Along the way, Bob made many friends, young and old and he was never at a loss for words. He had more to share than most people and made it known that he loved his family, though sometimes it was hard for him to show it.
Bob started experiencing some very serious health concerns the last few months with an aggressive cancer ending his life on November 2nd, 2018, with Ellen right by his side as she had been for 70 years. He leaves to mourn his wife, six children and their spouses, 13 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild. Bob is also survived by his oldest sister, Mary Zimmerman of Bellbrook, Ohio, and youngest sister Ruth Ann Estes of Fort Meyers, Florida. Bob was pre-deceased by his parents Earl and Emma Roller, sister Catherine Howard, and brother Steve Roller.
What Dad/Grand-dad has taught us, October 19 2018
On the day of Bob’s surgery, his Grandaughter Rebekah Hallaert got the ball rolling for his kids and grandkids to say what he had taught them and the following is what she wrote:
Ok. so as grandpa is heading into surgery today or tomorrow I am wondering if we can all ( if you have some time today ) maybe write one thing on here that he has taught us or has done for us or helped us or shown us that sticks out for us, that is more on the light side . Sometimes life is so heavy and filled with emotion whether it be anger, frustration or fear if we can bring to light some of the good, and there is a lot, Gramps will feel it and help bring him through this with no hitch and the thumbs up .
If you don’t wish to do that it’s all good
I just know it will help me .( Rebekah)
Daughter Robin wrote: Mine should be pretty obvious. He taught me to play the banjo and for that I am ever thankful because that one thing has determined my path in life which has brought me to where I am, and more importantly to the one I'm with.
Granddaughter Rebekah Hallaert wrote: Gramps is pretty tough for sure but there is one thing he taught me . That when you risk everything on a dream , when you want a better life for your family and you can trust the way he did back then , not knowing what Canada would actually be like, but pack it all up and know that there is a better way . He had vision , he isn’t afraid of hard work and risk to see something through .
I wasn’t even around when his brother Steve died , or maybe I was a tiny baby , but what gramps did teach me around that was that “ not talking about it and how it affected him to this day “ isn’t healthy so that’s why I over share and talk about everything I feel .
I think gramps throat is all about him not crying enough , I’m not judging, I am just witnessing . I can never imagine how that sat so heavy for him all through the years . Gramps has taught me a lot and he has no idea. Sending massive prayers today and the next days following
Daughter Bobbie Nicholson I guess you could say that dad taught me when you start something.finish it
Grandson Eric Nicholson to Rebekah Hallaert - thank you for posting this. I was thinking about this yesterday - although there are some things about Gramps that I don't agree with, and some things about him that I wish we could change, I think that he and Gramma have passed down to their kids and from them to us, a number of things that have made our family special. Personally for me, Gramps modelled the "If you are going to do it, do it right" philosophy. Although it was often irritating to hear it as a kid, pride of workmanship and setting a high bar was important for me to learn.
Daughter Rosalinde Lee He taught me at a very young age how to hunt for mushrooms, no matter what the weather and how to cure a ham and bacon of which my family is very grateful for. Also how to clean a track on a bulldozer the right way and wash equipment (every nook and cranny) for a Ritchie Brothers auction
Grandson Scott Galbraith The first thing I remember that gramps taught me was out in the front yard of the farm. He had a pouch he kept in his pocket, every once and a while he'd take a break from what he was working on, dig it out and take a pinch of the contents, popping it in his mouth. I asked him repeatedly if I could have some, and when I finally wore him down he showed me the first lesson of being a farmer: That was how to spit tobacco. He taught me to take note of the little things; do it just right. He definitely had his own brand of instruction, and being a 'little spaz' it didn't translate well. Looking back now I've definitely come to realize, especially with the military lifestyle, that it's the details that make up the job. Everything that needs doing needs doing right.
Grandson Jimmy Wark Gramps taught me how to dig a ditch and to take pride in your work I think I was ten years old
I dug a ditch a foot wide 4 deep and straight as an arrow.
It took me a couple days and I was exhausted when I was done. But I was super proud of what I did. One of dozens of lessons I learned being on the farm. A couple of others would be knowing how To drive a tractor at a young age and boiling eggs in a stickney engine. Thanks Gramps
Granddaughter Kate Galbraith He taught me to enjoy the twangy melody of the banjo. Bluegrass will always warm the cockles of my heart and make me think of him.
Granddaughter Belinda Tim Gerstel I am always a ball of emotions and I am not good with words but I will try. I think we need to remember that gramps and gram brought their family to Canada leaving behind their family and friends and everything they knew and loved. They put down deep roots in this community and raised a big crazy family here.
The choices they made brought us all here to today. I am so thankful for them and my beautiful family.
Gramps has taught me a lot over the years. Many the same as what have been mentioned. Maybe the welcoming of family and friends and neighbours around the table being a big one.
Granddaughter Jane Roller Being from the second set of grands, and because we moved away I feel like I generally experience the “grandpa lite” version. While there’s always been gramps way or the wrong way to do things I always had the feeling that he genuinely enjoyed teaching us. When I think about gramps it’s also hard not to think about how he could give historical lessons like no other, as an adult I can appreciate his love of our families history, as a kid it was an easy thing to tune out; I am defiantly thankful that I have heard many old stories straight from his mouth. It lovely to think of our old people as our history books, years of knowledge will be lost when he goes. I also have good memories of him shoving treats in my hands; a hershey’s kiss always makes me think of him. It’s too bad that the heavy stuff blurs out the good. Thanks Reb, this was a good idea
Granddaughter Christy Waldie; Grampa taught Laura Spenst and I how to have the correct sized rocks on your driveway , great memories of driving the white truck and picking rocks up off the driveway and hauling them off. He taught me to cook piggy puffs and how to fry and enjoy a green tomato!! He showed me a great love for music, and appreciation for a kick ass instrumental ❤❤love you gramps.
Great Grandaughter Megan Lee I remember watching grampa making the piggy puffs too Auntie! I remember him coming down to the farm to go on mushroom hunts. He was always so proud of his tomatoes, they were always really yummy! I remember staying over and grampa teaching you about or showing you his engines in the shop. And always having chocolate! And his stories. he always had a good story to tell you ❤️ love you grampa!
Granddaughter Giselle Roller Grampa taught me to enjoy bluegrass! When I think of our family I’m reminded of our love for music. I also love Hershey Kisses because of grampa
Daughter Rebecca Lynn Roller Wark He taught me to take care of what I have. And that candy is a good thing!
Son Calloway Roller Well this could be a long story so I will keep it short
I am who I am because of Bob Roller . 1. speak the truth to myself and others 2. take responsibly for ones action 3. be mindfull of the needs of others
Grandson Zach Roller Gramps taught me the value of gifts, he always had some sort of ‘treasure’ and I always got told “If you lose it you don’t get another one. “ He also taught me you see something through to the end and do it right the first time or at least learn. Whether it was a 100 year old engine, a garden, or what ever project he had on the go, I was always fascinated to watch, learn or get in the way. I will miss you, even if it was coming to visit and hear was was on CNN. I loved every minute…he also taught me about piggy puffs and how great they are.
Grandson Francis Roller-gramps has taught me a few things over the years…including who to vote for. Haircuts are important. I remember when I used to go to their house and one of the first things gramps would do after giving me a hug hello was to cut off my rat tail and give me a buck for the candy store and a hersheys chocolate. Gramps taught me that coffee tastes better when you don’t wash your coffee cup. Its okay to finish the day with a bowl of carmel popcorn that grandma made, sit on the couch and watch the news. Thank you for these, plus countless more wonderful memories gramps.
Bob’s family would like to thank all of those people and institutions that provided help to mom and dad over the last year of dad’s health decline.namely Ted and Jack Frost, Dr. Florentina Duta, Alberta Health Care, and homecare worker Jean Van Dyk, Beaverlodge Community Services, Beaverlodge Hospital, U of A Hospital in Edmonton, and QE II Hospital in Grande Prairie and to all the doctors and nurses that had dad in their care.
The family also takes comfort in all of the tributes and messages we have all received. Mainly online but heartfelt just the same:
From Mike Mub, Bass Player with the band Weary Hearts: Just read that Robin Thixton’s father, Bob Roller has crossed over. Bob was one of the first promoters to give our band, Weary Hearts, a chance to be a touring band. Playing his festival in Chetwynd, BC changed our lives and careers (Ron Block and Chris Jones married sisters, Sandra and Sally whom we met at the festival. We also played every other festival in the region as a result of playing his). He was a pioneer promoter of Bluegrass in way northern British Columbia bringing nationally known and unknown bands close to where the ALCAN Highway starts. He was a character.smoked hand rolled cigarettes and took his bluegrass seriously.
I’d always get a laugh when he’d describe the unbelievable bargain that the Shoney’s breakfast bar was.
He’d say “I don’t know how they do it for $3.99!” Just like a promoter!
RIP, Bob Roller, thanks for your generosity and showing us a beautiful part of the world. All the best to Robin and her family.
From Lisa Winland: The Winland family is so deeply sorry to hear of Bobs passing. We have him and Ellen to thank for our life here in Canada as they helped my parents substantially make a go of it. There are very few stories my mom tells of our Chetwynd life that do not include your family helping us in some way or being there. Our thoughts and prayers are going out to you all with heavy hearts. Lots of love The Winland Clan. And lastly from the daughter of Emil Breitkritz who dad had bought the farm from, Evy. It is a sad time for all - your whole family has always meant so much to me - it was the first time I had ever experienced a large family with all the sisters and poor old CP - I felt like an only child in our house as my brothers were so much older. - it was always so fun to be at your house! I have loved both of your parents since I met your family when I was a kid.
A Funeral Service was held on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the Chetwynd Fellowship Baptist Church, Chetwynd B.C., Pastor Bill Evans officiated. Interment followed in the Tuscoola Mountain Cemetery.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Bob to a charity of choice.
Very Respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium
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