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Wednesday, 14 December 2016 21:25

Remembering the ‘Mayor of Bobcaygeon'

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            Robert Kennedy, the man many knew as the unofficial “Mayor of Bobcaygeon,” has died. He passed away on Dec. 1 at Lakeridge Health, Oshawa, at the age of 84.

            “He loved to get out and talk to people,” recalls his sister Trudy Ferguson. Perhaps that’s why living downtown, in behind the IGA (now Foodland) was the perfect place for him in his latter years.

            “He knew everyone in town,” says friend, Joe Pollard. “If he saw you across the street, he’d

holler at you.”

            “If he didn’t know you,” adds Trudy, “ he would question you until he found out who you were—and who you were related to.”

            Kennedy, who grew up in a family of three boys and three girls, belonged to one of the stalwart, pioneer Bobcaygeon families. His grandfather, and later his father, Bruce, ran Kennedy’s Store—and the egg-grading station beside it on Main Street.

            His uncle Roy ran the garage next door, now owned by John Snider.

            A career selling automotive parts took Robert away from the village of his childhood—first to Campbellford, Ont., and later to Winnipeg and Toronto, where he settled just outside the city, in Thornhill. Work travel took him all over the United States.

            “He was quite a salesperson,” says Trudy.

            Eventually, the siren call of Bobcaygeon drew him back home, where he worked until retirement at Rokeby Lumber. “He knew everything about the lumber business,” recalls Pollard. “If he didn’t know it, you didn’t need to know it.”

            After retirement, says Trudy, Robert actually served for a while as a proofreader for The Promoter—and was an active volunteer with Red Cross blood-donor clinics. The family is asking for remembrance donations to the Red Cross.

            He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, and a Shriner, and was so active in the curling club that people joked they should put in a bed there for him. “He was there all the time,” remembers Trudy.

            He also loved hunting and fishing, and spending time at his hunt camp off Bass Lake Road, where he would sometimes take his grandchildren.

            In addition to Trudy, who lives in Bobcaygeon, Robert is also survived by another sister, Joan Fischer of Ohio. He has two daughters, Sandra in Ajax, and Susan in Minnesota, and a total of seven grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

            They will miss him—and so will Bobcaygeon.

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