Sidney Robin Manser, Rob, died unexpectedly at his home on Saturday, June 11, 2022. He was 66 years old. Rob will be keenly missed by his beloved sons, Cameron (Samantha) of Elmvale and Ryan of Midhurst/Springwater and by Sandi, his wife of thirty-four years.
Memories of Rob are sure to include his many skills and passions. For his first full-time job Rob chose to drive truck. He operated "The White" a 1972 White 4000 and his 1981 Freightliner "The Freight Shaker". And he loved it. It was in his blood. In later years he could never shake the practice of double clutching; Sandi was amazed that he didn't wear out the clutch of their little Hyundai, the "Veloster Raptor".
Most recently he drove a school bus and took great joy in delivering his precious cargo safely between their homes and school. He loved to drive anything including cars, trucks, fire trucks, and several beloved Gravely tractors. Dear to his heart was his 1930 Ford Model A. In fact, it was his role as chauffeur of this vintage beauty for a Huttonville bridal couple in 1986 that enabled him to meet the love of his life, Sandi, on a reception hall dance floor. They married a year and a half later. He always enjoyed the attention and compliments the vehicle drew as he and Sandi cruised around. Rob also drove a cool looking 1959 Arrowcraft boat powered by a vintage 1963 50hp Mercury outboard motor. Sandi and Rob loved to go fishing and had fun waiting to see who caught the most fish of the day.
Rob was passionate about firefighting. For ten years as a volunteer, then thirty as a professional, Rob, unrelentingly conscientious in every detail, was known and valued by his colleagues for his work ethic and expertise. Once Rob had checked a vehicle, it was good to go. His Hazmat abilities were exceptional and, at one time, he taught pump operator courses throughout the province. He will be sorely missed by his firefighting community.
Over the years Rob was a devoted owner of several dogs, most recently two beloved Yorkies, Della and Diesel. Sandi loved hearing him speak in little Diesel and Della doggie voices, the Language of Dog-oo-laa. He was unfailingly patient in caring for them and tender in cuddling them. They were his dear companions.
Rob was a backyard mechanic extraordinaire. There was nothing he could not fix, nothing he could not contrive. Teased about his "seventy-year-old tools", he lovingly tended his Model A and his Gravely tractors and brought new life to many more such vehicles. "It's only nuts and bolts," he would say." I can fix it." If he didn't have the necessary tool at hand, he made it. No building idea was too complex for him to understand at a glance. Opportunities for collaboration arose; Rob built for function and strength; Sandi held out for beauty. Rob was a meticulous model railroader: his intricately constructed train set, complete with roundhouse and layout, is a testament to his ingenuity and patience.
Rob was an amazing neighbour. Drawn originally by his expertise in troubleshooting, locals were always met with his characteristic generosity and good humour. Undaunted by adverse conditions or tricky challenges, Rob always came up with solutions. Proud of the power of his Gravely tractor, he delighted in blowing neighbourhood snow in winter, the high spray from his machine shaming lesser snow blowers nearby much to his delight. In spring he would sweep the winter's deposit of sand from driveways into a pile where the children could play. Parents in the neighbourhood loved him for cleaning up the roadway so the dust was less and the kids were safe on their scooters and bikes.
Rob was a father. He loved his boys. Sandi always knew where they were; in the garage with their dad, enjoying every minute of the time they spent together, fixing, enhancing, refurbishing or creating something out of nothing. They truly shared this life's passion. Rob and his beloved sons had a beautiful connection. As Cam and Ryan have embarked on their own lives and have excelled in their chosen roles, Rob has been proud of them and deeply gratified to see them applying the skills and wisdom that he had passed on to them.
Rob was Sandi's best friend and confidant for the thirty-four years they had together. They shared many thoughts on life and loved to talk about world affairs. He devoted his married life to being the best husband, father and provider he could possibly be. Hearts have been broken. He will be forever missed. Rest in peace, Captain Rob. There will be a celebration of life in August. Date TBA.
Those wishing to donate in his honour are encouraged to support two local charities: the Muskoka Parry Sound chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, www.mps.cmha.ca. (Click on the donations button on the right side of the website or call 705 645 2262.) or The Muskoka Parry Sound Sexual Assault Services, www.mpssas.org