Bob Holliday — a St. Vital icon
I met Bob Holliday when I was 13 years old. I was playing baseball at Norberry Community Club and he was an umpire. Decades later I met him again at the St. Vital Museum. I had stopped in to finally see the museum in the old fire station at the junction of St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s Roads. There he was, right inside the front door.
It turns out that Bob often stood near the entrance to the museum on Saturday mornings and greeted whoever came through the door. He recognized me immediately and regaled me with stories from our past. Bob was a very entertaining storyteller, and he had an amazing memory.
On Dec. 28, Bob passed on after bravely battling cancer these past few years. He will be missed by so many.
My last visit with Bob was on Dec. 10t= with three former Norberry ballplayers, and what a fun visit we had. His recollections of those days so long ago were vivid and engaging; he made the morning a real treat for everyone. While his body may have been failing him, his mind and wit were sharp right until the end of his life, and that is a blessing.
Bob loved to tease and engage in biting sarcasm. You knew by the smirk on his face that he was having fun. In one of my first columns for The Lance, I wrote about re-connecting with Bob. For fun I wrote that, when I was a kid, I thought Bob, when he was an umpire, was nearly blind and only found out years later his eyesight was just fine. Bob thought that was funny and wrote in his next column that it was easy to umpire when Hindle was at bat since it just took three pitches and I was out. He loved to go back and forth with people.
Bob was a reporter, a photographer, and an extraordinary volunteer. His dedication to the St. Vital Museum was unwavering and his knowledge of St. Vital history was unparalleled.
One evening I asked Bob to speak to a group at the United Church in Meadowood. In his engaging manner, he described St. Vital history, answered every question thrown at him, and impressed everyone in the room. Even though I had heard many of his stories, I still learned a great deal that evening. The depth of his knowledge was boundless. The St. Vital Museum is what it is today in large part due to Bob Holliday.
Here is a quote from long-time friend and St. Vital Museum board member, Kerry Pedrick:
“Bob was comfortable in the presence of Premiers and Mayors, pro wrestlers, police chiefs, or the guy at the local coffee shop (which was often the Red Top). They were all treated to the same Bob Holliday. He was one unique individual and did it his way!”
I am grateful I reconnected with Bob Holliday.
Rest in peace, Bob.
Community Correspondent — St. Vital
John Hindle is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org