Dave ROBSON

Obituary
  • "Dave was a great visionary, great leader and a great man...."
    - Carlos Sepeda
  • "Veritas without Dave was like a human without a soul. He..."
    - Sandy Lucas
  • "A Great Man, Veritas was a pleasure to work for."
    - Karen Carroll
  • "Dear Jeff and family, my deepest sympathies at the passing..."
    - Susan Lees-Miller
  • "I was sorry to learn of Dave Robson's passing. I had the..."
    - June Donaldson


ROBSON, Dave
May 8, 1939 – April 2, 2018 | Calgary, Alberta
After a life well lived, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, grandfather, mentor and friend David Bowlby Robson. After a hard-fought battle with COPD, Dave passed away April 2, 2018 surrounded by loved ones. Dave was born May 8, 1939 in Daysland, Alberta where he grew up in a modest farming family and learned early on the value of hard work. He is survived by his sons Kurt and Jeff (Barbara) and his grandchildren Thomas, Havey, Mattye, Britton and Tevary. He was predeceased by his parents Malcolm and Idella, his brother Scott and his wife Valerie.
Dave's experiences of fixing machinery on the farm introduced him to engineering and in 1961, he graduated from the University of Alberta with an electrical engineering degree. After graduating, Dave held managerial positions with a few seismic processing firms before he founded Veritas in 1974. Under his visionary guidance, Dave led the company to become one of the world's most successful multinational seismic companies. He was a great leader, a remarkable man, and an exceptional mentor. He had a reputation for his honesty and integrity and was always generous with his time. "Do what you say", "Say what you think" and "You are only as successful as your people" are only a few of Dave's favourite quotes. After retiring from Veritas in 2004, Dave held the position of Chairman of Vada Capital, a family owned private equity firm until it was time to pass the business onto his sons. The assortment of awards bestowed upon Dave throughout his life and career are as diverse as they are prestigious, they speak volumes of his accomplishments and his character: Milner Fenerty Pinnacle Award (1995), Society of Geophysicists Enterprise Award (1998), Canada's Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (2002), and most recently an Honorary Degree "Doctor of Laws" from the University of Calgary (2017).
Outside work, Dave could often be found in blue jeans and a cowboy hat, enjoying his passion for horses. Throughout his life he made substantial contributions to the western horse industry. He was actively involved in the cutting horse industry serving on the Board of Governors for the Canadian Cutting Horse Association (CCHA), a Director Emeritus for the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) and for approximately 25 years he was Chairman of the Canadian Supreme. Dave was a member of several Calgary Stampede volunteer committees including Corporate Relations, Light Horse and Cutting. He was also a Director of the Calgary Stampede Foundation from 2005 - 2015. Here again he was honoured by inductions into the CCHA, NCHA and Canadian Supreme halls of fame. He was also presented with the Horse Industry Association of Alberta's Distinguished Service Award for lasting contributions to the equine industry.
Dave invested countless hours making his community better – from mentoring business students on building a sustainable corporate culture, to ensuring funds were available for cancer research. He was the embodiment of philanthropy. Dave had an extremely altruistic nature and supported many causes including but not limited to: the Haskayne School of Business Robson Professorship and the Nutrien Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. More recently he contributed to the University of Calgary's Robson DNA Science Centre which facilitates genetic research into the root causes of cancer. The generous gift was given in honour of his late wife Val who died of a rare form of bone-marrow cancer.
Throughout his life Dave's wife Val remained steadfastly by his side wherever his path took him. She was his biggest cheerleader and his true north star. He considered asking her to marry him the best decision he ever made. They remained happily married until her passing in 2014. Among his many remarkable achievements, Dave considered fatherhood one of the most enriching and he was extremely proud of his two sons.
A private family funeral will be held shortly. For those dear friends wishing to remember Dave and his generous spirit, you are invited to a Celebration of life to be held on Monday, May 14, 2018 in the Palomino Room, BMO Centre, Stampede Park at 1:00 p.m.

Published in The Calgary Herald from Apr. 7 to Apr. 11, 2018
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