Roberta Ross

ROSS, Roberta Labelle Allen (Henderson)
January 9, 1921 - November 14, 2012
She slipped away at the close of a crisp, sunny day in her bed at Pinegrove Place care home in Richmond, classical music playing softly in her room, her daughter and son-in-law at her side. Survived by Nikki (Idar) Bergseth, Andrew (Fran) Ross, Jeanette (Alfred) Jung and Dan Ross. It's comforting to think she's gone to a happy place where a welcoming party awaited, but she didn't really believe in afterlives. She did believe in honesty and love. She was funny, often hilarious, often unwittingly so. She radiated warmth and intelligence and wit. For many years she taught elementary school, helping to open young eyes and minds and hearts in classrooms all over B.C. A voracious reader, patient, astute, thoughtful. In her younger days she was Hollywood-beautiful. She travelled the world with Andy, her soulmate and sometime sparring partner - a navy captain who took orders from only her. Once, in the mid- 1950s, she won $10,000 in a Vancouver radio quiz, a windfall that enabled her and Andy to dump the icebox and buy their first fridge and TV and hi- fi for their Lynn Valley home. She loved reading stories to her grandchildren Lara, Zak, Alida, Shani and Lena, who rekindled the teacher in her after she had retired from the classroom. Her own childhood, a brilliantly happy one, was spent mostly in Vancouver but she often reminisced about living in the once-vibrant (now ghost) towns of Anyox and Blakeburn, where her father was a mining engineer. Robbie lived to be almost 92, the last surviving member of a large Henderson clan, but the last dozen years of her life were spent in the enveloping fog of dementia. Maybe she's now in paradise with Andy and her parents and beloved siblings. What a surprise for a skeptic who loved surprises. A celebration of Robbie's life will be held Sunday, Dec. 2, 2 - 5 p.m., at the Richmond home of Jeanette and Alfred Jung. Details at

Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2012