Rob Vernon 1960–2013

Ron Vernon at the DUCW Christmas party, December 2012

Ron Vernon at the DUCW Christmas party, December 2012

Sad news to share with you all that DUCW member Rob Vernon has passed away. Condolences to his immediate family – Jacqueline, Peter and Southerly – and to his family and friends in Australia.

For those of you who worked alongside Rob at any of the Folklorama pavilions, please send Jacqueline any stories you remember of Rob’s work there and his time as ambassador. And if you have any stories of Rob that you would like to share with his family, please send them to


It is with great sorrow that I advise you all of Robert M Vernon‘s passing, in the early hours of Friday, March 1, 2013, at the age of 52, due to complications of diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease. He passed at home in his bed, in his sleep, and (we hope) with little pain.

Petey, Southerly and I will miss him terribly. As Southerly said, he was a caring, gentle man, a child in heart and spirit. We hated all the pain and suffering he had been through these last several years due to his illnesses.

Despite all his physical challenges, the partial blindness, the mobility issues, the chronic infections, he tried to volunteer at the kids’ schools, and at St. Boniface Hospital as a pet therapy visitor with our beloved dog Chinook. He still tried to cook for the family from time to time, passing on his culinary expertise to the kids; both are becoming accomplished home chefs due to their father’s inspiration.

The service will be at EJ Coutu, 680 Archibald [map], Winnipeg
Saturday March 9 at 2:00 pm

We respectfully ask that the phone lines remain open only to family and close friends at this time, so we may make arrangements and adjust to our new lives without him.

Please share your memories, your pictures, your condolences here, or on my facebook page. We would love to share them at his memorial.

May grace, peace and love be with you all.

 Jacqueline Cassel-Vernon

The Winnipeg Free Press published an obituary on March 6th, which is also retained on their Passages web site, as follows:


ROBERT MATHEW VERNON July 30, 1960 – March 1, 2013 After a lengthy illness, peacefully with family nearby, Robert died on March 1, 2013 at the age of 52. Rob was predeceased by infant son Christopher, parents Reginald and Katherine of Australia, in-laws Percy and Emily Cassel of Winnipeg, MB.

He leaves to mourn, wife Jacqueline Cassel-Vernon, children Peter and Southerly, sister Margaret (Stephen Dean), brothers David (Liz), James (Kaye) and Peter (Jan) of Australia, in-laws Brian (Pat Martin) in Mississauga, Deborah (Daryl Verbeek) in Abbotsford, BC; 11 nieces, five nephews and their partners; great-nieces and great-nephews in Canada and Australia; as well as hundreds of friends worldwide.

Born in Tamworth, NSW, Rob grew up there as well as Dubbo, Griffith and finally Manly. In 1988, he packed his swag and went on a walkabout through Europe and England before coming to Canada in 1989. There he met his soul-mate Jacqueline while touring on the VIA Rail train. After a brief stay back home, he moved to Winnipeg and married “Jacq” in 1990.

He worked in photography, micrographics and finally in culinary before being forced onto disability. Rob was very active in the community with Tavern’s Cricket, the Down Under Club, St. Boniface Children’s Place Daycare and various charities. Even when ill he continued to volunteer at the kids’ school and St. Boniface Hospital as a pet therapy visitor with our dog Chinook.

He adored his kids, loved his wife, enjoyed travel, cricket, scuba, sci-fi movies and fine cuisine. All who knew him loved his cheeky Aussie humour and zest for life. His Aussie accent was a big hit with the ladies here in Canada.

In keeping with Robert’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in the Coutu Funeral Chapel, 680 Archibald Street.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, directed to Kidney Patient Services.

The Coutu family in care of arrangements: E.J. COUTU & CO. FUNERAL DIRECTORS 680 Archibald Street 204-253-5086

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on March 06, 2013

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