A woman of strength, kindness and selflessness whom has touched the lives of so many people in this community, whether it was through her years of service as a Red Cross nurse, or during her time as a community leader and volunteer. Living through the tragedy and heartbreak of war, having experienced loss and witnessing the suffering of her people, Robbie was inspired to follow her calling and become a nurse. She graduated in 1956, continuing her education to include a certificate in neuro-surgery and training as a midwife.
Her story, as she told it, was controlled by fate and a few tosses of a coin. Her goal was to leave England and travel the world with her nursing friend, Barbara. They began their journey with their first coin toss, landing them in New York City, Washington and then Montreal. After some time in Montreal, they left their fate once again to a coin toss and were referred to the Red Cross, where they discovered two vacancies in the remote Magdalen Islands, one in Grosse Ile and one in Entry Island. The coin toss resolved that Barbara would practice in Entry Island, and Robbie in Grosse Ile. That is where the story of Robbie’s legacy began. All the struggles and adjustments to island life, were soon forgotten when she met the love of her life, Ralph, whom she married and settled with into her new ‘forever home’ in Grosse Ile North. She and Ralph went on to raise three children : Jamie, Amanda and Vanessa. Only days after giving birth, Robbie would be back on the roads and ready to help those who needed her.
Robbie’s compassion ran as deep for animals as it did for humans, she loved to watch Coronation Street and keep up with the royal family, cross stitch and crochet. She was very proud of her British Roots and her family, she spoke of their accomplishments all the time, beaming with pride each time.
From 1960 till 1984, Robbie delivered more than thirty babies in the community, with Valerie being her first in 1960, coming full circle to deliver Nelia as her last in 1984. Although, she did not deliver Nelia’s children, she was at the hospital to assist with both of her children, Frederick and Kimberly.
Robbie served the community as a nurse for 36 years, retiring in 1996. But her community service did not end there. Robbie was one of seven founding members of CAMI and served as President from its inception in 1987, retiring in 2008 after 21 dedicated years of service. She maintained her connection to the board for 2 additional years, and officially retired in 2010. Remembrance Day was very important to Robbie and she remained involved each year in the planning and delivery of CAMI’s Annual ceremony. In addition to being the backbone of CAMI, Robbie was also the English representative at CAPIB, a member of the Hospital Foundation Board, the Foyer du lien Board, a member of the HLM Board, the First Informer and the CEDEC.
Robbie believed in bridge building and in collaborating with the francophone community, and felt that we needed to get along. It was under Robbie’s leadership that CAMI broadened its mandate, to not only protect the rights of Anglophones, but to reach out a hand to the neighboring francophone community as a gesture of good will, allowing our communities to work together in peace and harmony. This has been Robbie’s greatest legacy to CAMI, in the words of her board colleague, Geraldine Burke.
When talking about someone like Robbie, whom we all hold in such high esteem, one can never say enough.
Rest in Peace our dear Robbie.