Robert Hirtle

Obituary of Robert Denniston Hirtle

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Our father, husband, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. Born in Martins Point, Lunenburg, in 1931, Robert (Bob) Hirtle was a toddler when he lost his young father to tuberculosis. His mother later remarried, and Bob became big brother to Dorothy and Donnie. By the time Bob was in his mid-teens, WWII had ended. Merchant Navy Ships which had avoided torpedo strikes went on to transport war brides and children to Canada through Halifax’s Pier 21. These ships returned to trade between Canada and the Caribbean. Bob had joined the The Lady Rodney at this point as a mariner. A 1st class stationary and refrigeration engineer, many will say Bob Hirtle was good working with his hands. It showed: his hands were big, scuffed and a little scarred. These vessels would end their service in 1952, but Bob’s love of ships, the Caribbean, and a Dartmouth girl named Edna Murphy thereafter would be with him a lifetime. Following six decades, four children grew up, and family life took intervals in Nova Scotia and overseas. Then marriages and partnerships brought Janice, Brian, Cindy, Denise, and Brenda into our family. Then, too, came grandchildren: Meghan, Melanie, Madeline, Brandon, Richard, Jessica, and Brendan; and great-grandchildren: Braxon, Poppy, Liam, and Lachlan. Bob would ask of us to put him to good use keeping his hands busy. We learned his heart worked through his hands. Both were connected and big. Recently, it would be a lung illness, reminding us of his father, that would leave Bob physically faded and smaller. But not his hands nor his heart – both remained big to the end. A private commemoration will take place in the future. His wish was to be cremated and then returned to the sea, because the salt water is always home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Halifax Chapter of the Tetra Society of North America.
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