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November 27, 2016
Robert (Bob) Joseph Kortje, 80 years old, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan passed away peacefully at home on November 27, 2016. Born in Saskatoon, he lived most of his life in the city, save a few years during his successful hockey career as a young man. He was predeceased by Darlene Kortje (nee Howe), his spouse of 56 years who sadly succumbed to cancer at the age of 75 in 2012. Without a doubt, Bob’s life was shaped by his endearing love for Darlene, a beautiful young and spirited match he met in Flin Flon, Manitoba when he was playing for the Flin Flon Bombers. His story of their youthful romance remains as inspiration for all in the Kortje family thanks to his many sweet retellings. Although hockey was a major influence in developing his presence as an individual and spawned many important lifelong friendships, Bob found his most natural expression as a devoted husband and father. He was a gentle yet imposing athletic figure in his younger years, a man whose impressive physical strength was only eclipsed by the size of his heart and his playful sense of humour. A life of dedication - first to his family, but also to his work - earned Bob respect and adoration at home and with his colleagues. Bob worked from his early teens when his father instilled in him a strong work ethic at the family business, Modern Spring Works Ltd. After retiring from his professional hockey career in 1968, Bob worked at MSW for several decades until his “retirement” from the physical demands of the shop in the 1990s. However, retirement proved to be unwelcome for Bob, as he then commenced a 16-year retirement career as a driver for first Bourassa & Associates, and then Enterprise Rent-a-Car. He worked until he was felled by back surgery a year ago. He always appreciated the purpose work gave him, and he found it especially comforting at Enterprise in the years following the passing of Darlene. Bob was the second oldest child of Frank and Eva Kortje, and grew up in the Nutana/Buena Vista area with his elder brother Alex (who passed away in 2012), his sister Doreen (Small) of Regina, and youngest brother Jim (who passed away in 2009). Bob is survived by his six children, all of whom absolutely adore him: Kevin (Frances) of Vancouver, Miles (Dianne) of Calgary, Richard (Anita) of North Vancouver, Scott (Monique) of Toronto, Lisa (Rick) of Peachland, B.C., and Derek (Barb) of Saskatoon. He is also survived by his fifteen grandchildren and their extended family: Connor and Gillian, Graham (Taylor) and Evan (Sarah), Zoë and Thomas, Brianna (Mike) and Mickyla, Daniel (Leigh) and Samantha, Carlynn (Carter), Mackenzie, Jessica (Rylee), Cara (Caleb), and Kaelee. All will remember Bob for being a charming man of great capacity in the way he showed his love, and the way he dealt with life in general. He will also be remembered by friends and family as a highly sentimental man whose unique way of engaging the world often elicited a ubiquitous refrain in its many variations: “Oh, Bob!!!”, “Oh, Dad!!!”, “Oh, Grandpa!!!” He will be immensely missed, to be sure, but he has touched us all by the example he set. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (222 Queen Street, Suite 1402 Ottawa, ON K1P 5V9). A private service will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be sent from www.hillcrestmemorial.ca Arrangements entrusted to Hillcrest Funeral Home.