The Mount Royal community lost a dear friend and tireless supporter when “Big Bob” Charlton passed away at the Foothills Hospital on April 22 at the age of 79.
Bob was the head of Security at Mount Royal for many years following his military service, but was perhaps best known for his volunteer work after retirement. In addition to his dedication for over 30 years to the Transitional Vocational Program (TVP) for developmentally disabled adults, Big Bob helped out with the MRU United Way Campaign, the Students’ Association, International Education, Cougar Athletics and many more.
A memorial service for Bob Charlton was held at MRU on May 4, with many from the Mount Royal community and beyond gathering to say farewell to a true friend.
“Bob would often be seen ‘holding court’ at Tim Horton’s and regaling us with his many stories,” the President’s Office noted. “We will truly miss Bob’s big smile and hearty laugh.”
“Bob always was willing to help both the program and individual students who needed support — financially or otherwise,” said Craig Baskett, Program Administrator of the Transitional Vocational Program. “When Bob was working with our students he didn’t put up with much goofing around but was always quick with a compliment as well. As we walk around our area we can see many instructional tools that we have as a direct result of his fundraising efforts.”
Here are some of the ways that Bob Charlton supported the TVP:
Big Bob’s BBQ, an annual spring picnic for staff and faculty, is in its 32nd year and has raised close to $90,000 for TVP.
In 1987, Bob Charlton and Stu Gaulthier began a bottle recycling program with proceeds going to support the program.
Every Christmas Bob worked directly with TVP students during the Season of Caring project — collecting donations or food and household goods for MRU students in need — to help them develop valuable employability skills.
Bob came to TVP graduation brunches, wearning his regimental blazer, to express his support of the students as they took the next step in their lives.
Bob Charlton served in the Canadian military for 25 years and retired a Warrant Officer. Bob was decorated with the Special Service Medal and Bar, Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, International Commission for Supervision and Control Indo-China (ICSC) and Canadian Forces’ Decoration (CD) and Bar. He served in Vietnam as a Canadian Peace Keeper.
Donations may be made to the Mount Royal University Bob and Christel Charlton Memorial Scholarship.
Bob’s legacy will continue. Big Bob’s BBQ will take place rain or shine on Tuesday, May 27. Bob’s many contributions will be honoured at the event, but we can never really adequately say thank you. He will be missed.
– by Karen McCarthy