A native of Williamsburg and resident of Barrie for the past month, Robert John Locke passed away suddenly at home on Wednesday, October 5, 2011. He was 44.
Robert was born in Ottawa on April 16, 1967, to his parents Parker and Elizabeth “Bettie” Locke (nee Lennox).
Being the youngest of six children meant he was spoiled by all, especially his sisters. The first seven years of his life were not unlike any of the other children. Then his father died.
By this time, only he, sister Lauren and Bettie were at home. Lauren was attending university in Ottawa, and his mother went back to work.
Robert became a latch key child, although his neighbours always kept a watchful eye on him. The Kehoe’s and Barkley’s were very good to him. With help, he persevered. He attended public school in Elma, then Maple Ridge and finally off to Seaway District High School in Iroquois.
Robert’s greatest asset was his personality, and during high school he became well respected by his peers and teachers alike. He developed leadership skills through his involvement in students council, and he eventually earned the reputation as being the official planner for his class. These leadership skills would serve him well throughout the remainder of his life.
Following in his older brothers’ footsteps, Robert enjoyed a few extra curricular activities one of which included spending time at the cottage on Ault Island.
With respect to sports, Robert enjoyed playing baseball and hockey but his greatest sporting love was football. He and Gerry Mabo played in Cornwall, and as a one/two punch, became two of the best players on the team.
Robert moved away shortly after high school to attend Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough where he made many new friends. He completed a two year course in law and security, then went back and completed a business course where he ended up on the Dean’s list.
Through this honor, he met some notable people, one of whom hired him at the lottery corporation. Through hard work and determination he advanced quickly to become Director of Facilities & Maintenance at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. He was part of the startup program, which included the construction of the various lottery sites throughout Ontario, including Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa.
It was during the end of that period that he met his future wife Maha. They were married in a quiet ceremony in London on March 20, 2004. Robert and Maha have three children, Jad 14, Amanda 6 and John 5. Maha’s parents, along with her sister Lina were always willing to lend a helping hand allowing them the freedom to enjoy life to its fullest which they did. Good plan! Their zest for life took them on 15 vacations in the 11 years they were together. They also enjoyed hosting and attending parties with their family and friends.
After the lottery sites were up and running, Robert moved on to become General Manager at Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia owned by his friend, Jim Henderson. He helped Jim with the day to day operations of running this establishment. Jim gave Robert a free run of the place and Robert enjoyed, not only working in the front office, but on the track and in the backstretch as well. But, as in life, all good things must come to an end.
Robert left Sarnia on good terms to become General Manager at Georgian Downs in Barrie and had only been working there for approximately one month when tragedy struck.
Robert is survived by his wife Maha, his children Jad, Amanda and John, his siblings Mahlon (Paula) of Morrisburg, Duane “Sam” (Claire) of Williamsburg, Elizabeth Locke-Dickey (John) of Williamsburg, Wendy Casselman (Jim) of Williamsburg and Lauren Harriman (Craig) of Williamsburg.
He was a dear son-in-law of Faouz and Maurice Abou-Elias and brother-in-law of Nada, Eva, Lina and Maroun Abou-Elias.
He was predeceased by his parents Parker and Elizabeth “Bettie” Locke.
Uncle Robert will be sadly missed by John (Amy), Thomas (Marla), Jane (Bobby), Parker, Marissa (Kyle), Wendy (Phil), Jason and Sarah. He was a dear great-uncle of Kathryn, Emily, Joshua and William.
Robert will always be remembered as an amazing brother, loving husband and father, super uncle, and true friend to many.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home, Williamsburg, on Saturday, from 2-6 p.m. Funeral service was held at Williamsburg United Church, on Sunday, October 9th, at 2 p.m., with Rev. Christine Lowson officiating.
Interment followed at Spruce Haven Cemetery, Brinston.
Pallbearers were Brian McAdam, Gerard Palmer, Robert Currier, Lyle Schell, Ted Houck, and Scott Lockhart. Honorary pallbearers were Andy Lee, Jason Mandel, Eldon Horner, Paul McCaslin and David Lapier.
Donations to the C.N.I.B. or Williamsburg United Church would be appreciated by the family.