Robert Stephen Koleszar was born in Vancouver, BC on January 28, 1947 to Joseph and Mary Koleszar. Although Robert was his given name, from a very young age until his passing, he preferred to be called Bob. He was the 2nd born of three boys and by his account the most handsome. His older brother James (Jim) and his younger brother Donald (Don) would likely argue this fact and maybe a few others while they grew up in the suburbs of East Vancouver during the 50’s and 60’s. Many days were spent playing football at the park and running around the neighbourhood during that much simpler time.
Bob went to elementary school at Lord Nelson and attended Secondary School at Vancouver Technical. His first job was at a local Dairy Queen as a cook and he held many other jobs over the years with Russ Reid’s Dive Shop, Canadian Telephone & Supply, Borden’s Chemicals, U-Haul and Avcorp. Avcorp was the company that would encompass the majority of his working life as he became an expert in the shot-peening of aircraft parts until his retirement. There were also ventures into self-employment with Robin’s Donuts and Northside Vinyl-coat sprinkled through his resume.
Bob loved music (especially the Beatles) and grew up during an incredible time with bands like the aforementioned Beatles, Chicago, Pink Floyd, The Doors CCR and Led Zeppelin breaking onto the scene during his young adult years. The interest went beyond just listening and he joined a band called “Justus”. Bob was the lead singer and his brother Don occasionally filled in on drums as was needed. They mainly played high-school dances and was rumoured to have a very underground following in Belgium, but this was never confirmed.
While working as a Dive Instructor at Russ Reid’s Dive Shop in 1971, he met a beautiful young woman named Phyllis (Chris) Halpape. As the story goes, Chris was forced to go to Bob’s house to give him heck for missing Instructor meetings. Bob had a severely broken leg at the time from a ski accident which left him, as he was fond of putting it, with “one of my legs shorter than the other two”. Luckily for Bob, his mother Mary was there and they spent the majority of that visit chatting with each other in the kitchen.
Bob married the love of his life on October 5, 1974 in Coquitlam, BC and in 1975, they were given the greatest gift of their young lives when their son David was born. Straight from the womb, he possessed James Bond-like looks and charm, which was perfectly balanced with wisdom and elite athletic ability. *this claim is not verified and has been disputed.
In January 1980, a second and almost equally as great a miracle was given to them when their son Trevor was born. Trevor possessed many of the traits that were bestowed upon his brother plus several more, which although slightly annoying to David, was okay because they were all smitten with the bright-eyed addition to the family.
Bob and Chris lived and raised their family in various cities within BC. Burnaby until 1978, then moved to North Delta until 1990. In the Summer of 1990, they moved to Abbotsford where they lived until 2007. With an empty nest by that time and Bob retiring from Avcorp, they made a move up to the Caribou area of BC near 100 mile house called Deka Lake. In 2011, they moved to Kamloops where they currently reside.
Over the years, there were many places that held a special spot in Bob’s heart. Powell River during his summer vacations as a young lad, camping in the Botanie Valley or hunting trips to Christina Lake.
Of all the places that he spent his time, Dominic Lake was where he loved being the most. Mary and Joseph had acquired land on Dominic Lake and built a small, lakefront cabin. The memories of the family times spent there are too many to list in this forum, but every member of the Koleszar family has many fond experiences there. Fishing past the family famous spots of Deep Bay, Pile’s Point, Blue Door and the Meadow or taking the traditional trips to the Dam and Greenstone Mountain. Sitting around the campfire looking for satellites, on the deck watching “tunder” and lightning storms roll through or fly fishing out of the top drawer boat on a flat calm lake. Every Koleszar family child has bathed in that kitchen sink, woken up to the sound of Nan stoking the wood stove or listened to Grandpa singing opera while he shaved by the front door. It was always happy hour in the wood shed. We can always feel the presence of Mary and Joseph while we were there and that is where we will go to speak to Bob now as well.
One of the greatest gifts that Bob shared with the world was his ability to coach. He discovered this talent likely when he started coaching football after high school in North Burnaby. He follow this up by coaching both his sons David and Trevor while they played minor hockey in Abbotsford. He did play hockey through the years as a goalie and later a “big, ugly” defenceman, but let’s just say that his talents were better suited behind the bench. He was dedicated as a coach and all consumed by it during the years he was coaching his sons. One great story was when he felt that his son David was passing the puck too much and not taking advantage of his scoring chances. As David lay down to sleep that night, he stared up to the ceiling to see a large piece of paper taped there with the phrase “More shots on goal, David” written on it.
His gifts for coaching also translated well into his passion as a referee of minor football. At the end of his career as a ref, he was the highest ranking referee in the Kamloops area and received his 35 year service pin. Every referee who worked games with him always enjoyed his professionalism and expertise. Every coach who either openly or secretly questioned/hated his calls during the game, respected him by the end as they quickly realized that he was completely impartial, likely correct and true to the spirit of his position within the game.
Bob liked and followed many different sports, but the true love of his sport watching life was the Vancouver Canucks. He rarely missed watching a game and was truly a devoted fan. Lineup combinations would often be found lying around scrawled on napkins or bits of paper and he was always intensely scrutinizing the performance of the team, coaching staff and management. He was a very “what have you done for me lately” fan and a player could move from hero to chump in the space of a couple of shifts, unless you were Jannick Hansen, who always remained in the doghouse no matter what. One funny story was when he was caught actually heaped praise on the current coach and stated that he should be resigned to a new contract. When it was pointed out how often he had expressed his disgust of this coaches decisions over the past few years, Bob replied, “well, he must have gotten my messages.”
In 2009, Bob acquired the additional title of Grandpa when Austin was born to David and Katie Koleszar. In 2013, Flynn became grandson number two. Grandpa was blessed a third time when Kaden was born to Trevor and Amie Koleszar. As with his two boys and his several nephews and nieces, Bob had this uncanny ability to mesmerize children with silly made up games using just his hands or a piece of paper or a blowing a straw across a table.
Bob always had a twinkle in his eye and loved to laugh and find humour in everything. A word that keeps being used to describe him is genuine. You always got the real Bob, whether you liked it or not. Most of the time, you liked it, but make no mistake, he could be gruff and irritable as well. You don’t get the nickname “Horrible Bob” by being all sunshine and lollipops. When Horrible Bob came out, he was more bark than bite and he will be remembered as the kind, gentle, engaging and warm person that he was.
Bob was a Father and a Grandpa, but he also held many other titles in the Koleszar, Halpape and extended family such as Brother, Brother In-law, Uncle and great Uncle. He always enjoyed gathering with family and they with him. Many fond memories have been shared by different family members over the recent days.
In 2016, Bob was diagnosed with Cancer and fought this terrible disease for as long as he could until ultimately he could not fight anymore. On December 13, 2020, Bob Koleszar passed from this world surrounded by and holding tightly to his wife Phyllis and his two sons Trevor and David.
There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you morePrint This Obituary & Condolences