Robert F. Brett, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and firefighter passed away on the morning of Saturday, July 6th surrounded by those he loved. Bob lost a valiant battle with a lung disease but never lost his humility, wry wit, and ability to charm. As a testament to Bob's character, his nurse embraced his family and through tears said; "He was a lovely man and he reminded me of my father".
Bob was born in Bonnyville, AB on Jan 13, 1948 to Herman and Peggy Brett. In 1969, he met the love of his life, Violet Mackiewich, who found in him a kindred spirit and passionate partner for adventure and arguments of no relevance. Bob and Vi were married the next year. In 1972, Bob found the next passion in his life and became a firefighter in St. Albert, AB. In 1974, he joined the Vernon Fire Department, Local 1517, in order to bring his sweetheart back to her hometown.
Shortly after moving to Vernon, Bob and Vi welcomed their first born, Robin, who Bob would often boast as fearing nothing with an appetite to match. In 1977, they welcomed their second child, Kelly, who Bob described as the precocious life of the party who stole his heart immediately. Bob invested everything he had to give into his family and, thus, provided the model of how to truly be a husband and father. Bob's devotion to his family was evident in the fact that he did not miss a single sporting event, awards banquet, anniversary, graduation, broken heart, or scraped elbow.
Bob invested equally in his brothers and sisters at the Vernon Fire Department and Firefighters Association. He was elected President of the Vernon Firefighters Association (25 years), President of the BC Firefighters Association (10 years), and President of the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund. Bob suffered no fools and demanded excellence from those who worked for him and with him. He fought tirelessly for the rights of the men and women he represented and specifically for their health benefits as it related to various cancers. As a direct result of his fight, Bob's membership won coverage for those life-threatening diseases. Even for his work family, he showed an unceasing desire to invest in their well-being. This past June, Bob was awarded the prestigious Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service in the BC Firefighters Association.
Bob lived to see both children marry: Robin to Brandice and Kelly to Paul. Through them, Bob and Vi welcomed their grandchildren, Liviah, Rowan, and Cohen whom they fell instantly in love with. Bob's heart for his grandchildren knew no bounds and, as he did with his children, he invested his time and became the obsession of each child. Despite their young age, he will forever be imprinted on their hearts.
Bob is also survived by his brother Barry (Darlene) Brett of Sherwood Park, his sister Bev (Roy) Allison of Edmonton and his many brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews of BC and Alberta. There is not a family memory for those left that does not have Bob in it. This family has lost its patriarch whose love, strength, and knowledge of all things duct tape truly kept it together. Bob's caring nature extended beyond his family and he held dear all of his friends both in and out of the fire service. Bob remains a steadfast reminder that where you invest your time you truly invest your heart.
Funeral to be held on Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at the Vernon Alliance Church, 2601 – 43 Ave. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund.
Arrangements are in the care of Vernon Funeral Home 250-542-0155.