Rob Veltheer’s lanky six-foot-eight frame and ready smile didn’t allow anyone to miss him. Passionate and opinionated, Rob was well-read and his parents, Maggie and Robert Veltheer, said he had a powerful personality and could argue about many subjects with the skill of an experienced debater.
A first-year student in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Rob died suddenly on Monday, Jan. 24 in Toronto of an accidental drug overdose. He was 23.
Left: Rob Veltheer, photograph courtesy of Maggie and Robert Veltheer
His family and friends describe him as being outgoing, very interested in people and intensely curious. “He was interested in everything,” said his mother. “He wanted to experience everything and did a great deal. He was a telemarketer, a window washer, head chef at Kelsey’s Restaurant, he taught English as a second language in Cambodia, he was a circus carny and he travelled the world.”
Passionate about film, Rob enrolled in the Film Studies Program at York University. “Rob wanted to be a director, but thought he’d start as a screenwriter,” she said. “He wanted to have lots of experiences to draw on for his films. He stayed at a homeless shelter in downtown Toronto for a week, just to know what it was like for others.
“He was a good friend and would often talk to people who were having life issues to help them out,” his mother said. “He would strike up conversations with strangers, especially if they seemed out of the ordinary.”
Rob loved music and played guitar and drums. He also loved dancing, fire poi, subway parties and playing capture the flag in downtown Toronto.
The York University flag was lowered to half-mast at sunrise this morning and will remain at half-mast until noon tomorrow in memory of Rob Veltheer.
In addition to his parents, Rob leaves his brothers, Jacob and John, and his many friends. The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. Online condolences may be made through the Marshall Funeral Home website.