Robert Alexander Smyth, 1920-2003
Robert Alexander Smyth was born in Grouard on July 25, 1920. His parents were Rosalie "Granny" and Frank Smyth. He was the second oldest child in a family of eight. He received his education at the Grouard Catholic Mission.
He left school at a young age to enter the workforce, mostly working for local farmers in the summer. In the winter he would work in the lumber camps and sawmills.
On June 21, 1941 when he was 21, he joined the army in Calgary. He signed up as a gunner with the Artillery Division in Calgary, in the 15th Canadian Field Regiment. He served throughout Europe.
There is a proud story told of Bobby by a local veteran when he was in Europe. Tom Scott was serving overseas with Bobby during active battle when he had his leg dismembered. He told of when he was laying bleeding from his injuries, Bobby saw him, picked him up and carried him on his back for a long way to get him medical aid. He always claimed that Bobby was his hero for saving his life.
When Bobby was discharged from the army on Aug. 3, 1946 he came back to live in the Triangle area. There was a lot of work upgrading the Alaska Highway and Bobby went to work throughout northern British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. This is where he acquired his nickname Snag. He always spoke of the time he worked in Snag, Yukon when the all time coldest day was recorded in Canada.
He eventually applied for a homestead along Gunn's Creek and with his soldier's grant he cleared it off, but only became a hobby farmer.
His father Frank had a trapline since 1921 from the Smoky River to Triangle. When Frank passed away in 1958, Bobby inherited the trapline. He trapped it for years until ill health forced him to sell it.
Bobby worked for many summers for Alberta Forest Service. He managed standby crews and during the forest fire season, he was overall fire boss. His skills were in high demand and he worked all over Alberta as needed.
Bobby loved old time music. He was a skilled dancer and loved to dance the traditional dances. At times he would dance all night.
Bobby spent the last years in senior homes and passed away June 13 at Mayerthorpe.
He leaves to mourn his passing his sister, Ruth Sheldon, of Eugene, Oregon; sister Dorothy Woods of Chilliwack, B.C.; sister Pearl Ferguson of Edmonton; brother Harold Smyth of Edmonton; one aunt, Mary Pruden of Edmonton; as well as numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.
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