Corporal Ron Robson loved his dog.
© Canadian Forces Snowbirds
Corporal Ron Robson — known to his squadmates as "Robbie" — died suddenly on Sunday, Jan. 19. He was 52.
That was one of the memories that Sgt. Scott Marsh shared about his closest co-worker with 431 Squadron — the Canadian Forces Snowbirds — in an interview with the Times-Herald Thursday.
"The one thing (Ron) really talked about — as if he was his kid — was his dog, Rocko," said Marsh. "I thought he had a kid, but he was just talking about his dog."
Robson — affectionately known as "Robbie" by his peers in 431 Squadron — died last Sunday after sudden illness, according to a statement from Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Chris England, posted on the Snowbirds' Facebook page. He was 52.
Marsh remembers Robson as a hard worker and a good friend.
"His dedication to the Forces was par to none," said Marsh. "And he was one who would laugh at himself before he'd laugh at others. That sort of helped everybody accept that we're not all perfect and that we have faults."
With 431 Squadron, Robson served as part of the two-man quality management office (QMO). Marsh worked alongside him.
With Marsh, he helped keep the Snowbirds in the air through "a lot of auditing."
"What we do is we try to keep the technicians in line, for lack of a better term. We make sure they are doing their job properly and well," explained Marsh. "With his experience, (Robbie) wanted to teach and make sure the younger generation kept the maintenance excellence up to par."
Robson served on many ships over his 35 year career with the Canadian Armed Forces, including the HMCS Huron, HMCS Nipigon, and HMCS Saguenay. He also worked on a number of aircraft, including the CH-124 Sea King, the CF-18 Hornet, and the CC-115 Buffalo.
But he took the most passion out of working on the CT-114 Tutor — the jet the Snowbirds fly — said Marsh.
It was Robbie's love for the Tutor that brought him back to the Snowbirds in 2010. At that point, he was eligible to retire with a pension, Marsh said — but he wanted to continue to serve.
"He loved what he did, and he was going to stay until he was at least 55," said Marsh. "He was pensionable anyway, but he just loved being a technician."
Robson's dedication showed in his actions.
"He was a perpetually cheery co-worker and was always eager to volunteer, even on weekends, often meeting the returning team late at night to marshal the planes home," England wrote in the Facebook post.
"When we needed Robbie, he had a heart of gold," echoed Marsh. "He was a person who never said 'no' to anybody. … he always stayed with me, late at night."
For his part, Marsh said, he would miss his former partner in the QMO.
"I enjoyed working with Robbie," he said. "It was pretty sudden when he passed away, and so it put everybody into shock. Everybody is thinking about it, but we try to keep busy here at work to help keep our minds off of it.
"But Robbie was one of those people who everybody is definitely going to miss," added Marsh.
The Snowbirds were planning to hold Robson's service Saturday. His family and ex-wife are expected to be present, as well as his dog, Rocko.