Passings: Professor Emeritus Robert (Bob) Allan


Professor Emeritus Robert (Bob) Allan died June 5 following a battle with cancer. A cornerstone of York University’s Faculty of Science, Prof. Allan is remembered by many for his many contributions to York University.

Robert (Bob) Allan
Robert (Bob) Allan

After completing both undergraduate and graduate work at McMaster University, graduating with a PhD in Chemistry in 1967, Prof. Allan joined the faculty at the newly established York University where he helped build the science program. From 1972 to 1982 he served as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Science. Prof. Allan was a member of the York University Senate for many years while teaching introductory-level and third-year biochemistry courses. A particular delight for him was the organization and running of two Canada-wide Summer Science programs for 35 of Canada’s brightest and best science and math students, held at York University and Lakefield College School in Peterborough in 1969 and 1970. During his entire academic career, Prof. Allan enjoyed contributing, with his administrative mindset, to the betterment of the University.

For most of his adult life, the sport of curling was a favorite pastime for Prof. Allan. He enjoyed the challenge and camaraderie of the sport first at the Thornhill Golf Club where his late wife Dorothy and sons also curled. He was proud of his sons’ skill at the game. He served on the Curling Board of Directors at the club and was an Ontario Curling Association representative for Zone 7 for many years. When Prof. Allan moved from Thornhill to the country in Caledon, he had the opportunity to join the Orangeville Curling Club and found rewarding new friendships amongst the curlers in the Thursday morning jitney league.

A beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend, Prof. Allan was predeceased by his first wife Dorothy Hambly. He will be greatly missed by his remaining family: his beloved wife, Lynn; sons, stepsons and daughters-in-law – Bill and Laura, Gary and Alison, Dave and Lisa, Jamie and Hannah, Matthew and Caroline; plus 12 wonderful grandchildren. He will also be missed by his sister, Marg Howe; nieces Kathryn and Laura; Cousin Sue Mavinic as well as members of the Lerbinger and Hambly and Allworth families.

His family was the most meaningful part of his life, both in the enjoyment it gave and his interest in guiding and helping his children and grandchildren find satisfying and rewarding paths. Through Scouts, camping, canoeing, and curling Prof. Allan spent many enjoyable hours with his boys as they grew. And later, both his stepsons and his grandchildren were the beneficiaries of his genuine interest and love.

He took a leadership role in the First Thornhill Scout troop of which all three boys were members. He encouraged the troop members to learn new skills and organized many a camping trip to try out those skills. The highlight of his scouting was taking a group of 16 Scouts to Cameron River, NWT for a canoeing Jamboree in July 1982.

Prof. Allan leaves behind many long-standing friends. He so appreciated their faithful support during his illness with cancer. The family extends its thanks to all for their thoughts and prayers, and to the medical profession who have given their kindness and exemplary care. T

To all Prof. Allan would say, “Thank you and Fare Thee Well”.

In lieu of flowers, consider spreading kindness to a charity of your choice or to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. A tree will be planted in Prof. Allan’s memory in the Dods & McNair Memorial Forest in the Island Lake Conservation Area.