Robert Gordon Wilson: Father. Picture historian. Collector. Writer. Born July 25, 1943, in Hamilton; died Could 8, 2019, in Toronto, of pancreatic most cancers, aged 75.
Bob Wilson lived life in three dimensions. On the celebration of his life, guests have been supplied 3-D glasses so they might benefit from the stereoscopic pictures he had taken with a digital camera that he had constructed himself. His assortment of early Canadian stereoscopic photos is probably going distinctive within the nation.
Bob studied chemical engineering at McMaster College and earned a PhD from the College of Alberta. He cherished sports activities, particularly basketball, and performed on the McMaster staff – however just for one yr. He left the staff to focus on his research. He labored for Union Carbide in Montreal, earlier than doing graduate work in Alberta and coming to Toronto in 1979 to work for Imperial Oil. Not less than that was his day job, his first dimension.
His second dimension was his ardour for the historical past of images. He linked with fellow fanatics by the Photographic Historic Society of Canada. Bob would rise early on Sundays to go to “church” – he was a trustworthy attendee on the weekly antiques and paper present on the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. His motto: “Get there first.” That’s when the actual discoveries might be made and he was recognized for his discerning eye as a collector of early Canadian photos. He travelled to libraries and archives throughout Canada and to conferences of the Daguerreian Society in Paris and america.
In retirement he had extra time to analysis the lives of these behind the digital camera. In 2013, he revealed Safe the Shadow: The Lifetime of Benjamin Franklin Baltzly, the story of a doctor-turned-photographer who captured early photos of British Columbia. Bob additionally revealed dozens of articles, primarily on early photographic tools, which shaped an enormous a part of his assortment.
Bob’s expertise for analysis even prolonged to an in depth historical past of the household cottage on Lake Muskoka that would have handed for a grasp’s thesis.
The third dimension of Bob’s life was his household and buddies. Whereas at McMaster, he met Lorraine Hill, a fellow scholar, on a blind date. They have been married on the McMaster Chapel proper after commencement, on a day when the temperature was 101 levels F, as Bob’s brother recollects. When Bob and Lorraine have been unable to have kids of their very own, they determined to undertake, and in August, 1976, welcomed younger Brian into their lives.
Bob and Brian spent hours growing movie and pictures collectively of their dwelling darkroom. Each Christmas, Bob would arrange a tripod to make sure Christmas dinner was “properly” photographed. Bob even constructed a stereo digital camera utilizing duplicate digital cameras so he might make stereocard collections for his grandsons, Tyler and Russell. These collections expanded yearly with the most recent home made stereocards, and stay as keepsakes with Bob’s grandsons.
When Lorraine grew to become severely in poor health, he cared for her selflessly till her dying in 2011. A number of years after Lorraine’s dying, Bob and a long-time household buddy, Could Maskow, started to journey collectively, visiting Costa Rica, Dubai and New Orleans. Bob and Could had totally different pursuits however they meshed. Could’s volunteer improvement work took the couple to Haiti and Iqaluit, whereas Bob’s photograph historical past curiosity took them to conferences in Paris and New York.
Bob was snug wherever he went: driving at the back of an outdated pickup in Haiti, engaged on the roof of a Habitat for Humanity constructing in Iqaluit or riffling by daguerreotypes in a again room of the Louvre. He was a gracious host at Could’s many feasts and gatherings: calm, considerate and beneficiant. Totally three-dimensional.
Could Maskow is Bob’s accomplice; Philippa Campsie is a household buddy.
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