My friend, the Air Canada pilot

Shared by Mel Berg on 20th June 2012

"My friend, the Air Canada pilot."  That’s how I referred to Robin when telling friends about him. I enjoyed the reflected glory of knowing someone who got to sit in the flight deck and fly those airplanes that were so much of my business life.  Now, on reflection, Robin was much more than that. 

We intersected periodically and memorably over almost 50 years and all of the memories make me smile. 

Robin and I met when we both were students at the University of Saskatchewan and had apartments in the same building.  My first flying experience with Robin was in Saskatchewan when he took me and another friend for some “touch and goes” at the Saskatoon airport.  It didn’t take Robin long to show that he could fly other than level and straight.  He demonstrated rolls and stall recoveries until my stomach begged for mercy and my ears rang from the sound of the stall horn.  Robin demonstrated his early confidence and competence in the cockpit and gave me a flying experience story that I enjoyed sharing.

I moved to Toronto and a few years later, so did Robin.  Robin bought two used cars from me – one that belonged to my mother-in-law and my 1973 Oldsmobile.  Both were past their prime by the time Robin bought them but somehow he managed to keep them on the road for several more years.  Robin could be very resourceful and frugal and these old vehicles played to his strength.

After Robin moved to Vancouver, we had less frequent contact but occasionally got together when I travelled there on business.  We enjoyed wide ranging conversations over lunch or dinner.  Robin was intensely interested in finance and economics and loved to share and debate his theories.  Robin also shared stories of his growing family.  He was especially proud of his boys.

Some years later, I was flying from Toronto to Montreal.  As I settled into my seat with my business associate, the pilot announcement started.  I recognized the Captain’s voice.  “It’s my friend, the Air Canada pilot”.  I gave the stewardess my business card and asked her to give it to the captain.  She came back in a few seconds to invite me to sit in the third seat in the flight deck with Robin and his co-pilot.  This was my second most memorable flying experience, although all the flying that Robin did was enter data into the auto-pilot.  This flight was level and straight.  Robin has grown up and was an excellent example of a confident and competent airline captain.

A few years ago, my wife, Erin, and I relocated to Victoria area and I finally knew exactly where Point Roberts was.  I re-established email contact with Robin and caught up with the story of his second family, his airpark and his disappointment with not flying for Air Canada any longer.  We arranged to have dinner in Vancouver one evening when Erin and I were there.  Robin and Josh joined us and the years apart slipped away.  Old memories and new stories flowed easily.  We agreed to visit him in Point Roberts on one of our frequent trips by ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. 

Each time that I saw the sign to Tsawwassen and Point Roberts, I reminded myself that I had to organize that trip.  Alas, I waited too long.  Now, all that remains for me are the many memories of the times we shared. 

Flying Under the Radar

Shared by Ian Murray on 19th June 2012

I first met Robin when he came to the golf course scrounging old parts to keep his gang-mower in operation. Robin used this mower to maintain his grass airstrip. While in my office he noticed a picture of a Lancaster Bomber cockpit and the discussion quickly turned from mower parts to airplanes. One day he stopped by to inform me that he made good use of the old parts that we had and told me to stop by sometime to go flying - I said sure that would be great and he passed along his business card that I carried in my wallet. Rummaging through my wallet months later I discovered Robin's card and made contact again and our flight was booked.

We pulled the aircraft out of the hangar and Robin suggested we fly to Pender Island and have a late lunch at the Pub and asked if I wanted the controls for take-off......I told Robin that I am not checked-out on a tail dragger so he got us airborne and handed me the controls at our cruising altitude of 1200 feet! When I suggested we take her up a little higher seeing that we are crossing the strait with only one engine Robin told me he wanted to avoid all the Dash 8 traffic and did not want to be bothered by air traffic control. I have to admit I was a little concerned at this moment and thinking back to where Robin acquired his parts for his mower but the plane was clean and I told myself that the maintenance logs were probably all up to date and most likely there were no used, scrap parts within this single engine! We made it across and were soon flying over Pender when Robin asked me if I had the airstrip; negative - I do not have the field. Straight ahead I was told and asked to knock-off 200 feet of altitude; we are now pointed at power lines, a roadway, and a hillside. Got the field? negative I replied as I was scanning all around for a nice long, wide, even strip with maybe a tower or a wind sock or something that would represent a safe place for a landing. Straight ahead he replied; it's mowed into the hillside just left of that house - have control. We landed and rolled-out on this 15 foot wide strip and abruptly came to a stop. Robin asked me to help push the plane into the long grass next to the strip in case another plane was inbound. Who would be crazy enough to land here I thought and where is the Customs? As we walked back down the runway we had to make haste as another light aircraft was just over the power lines and lined-up for the short grass.

We had a fantastic lunch at the Pub and picked-up a few live crab from the dock before our departure. I was asked to navigate around a hillside to avoid being noticed on the Radar and maintain 1000 feet before our big climb back to 1200. The engine sounded solid and I was confident we were to make it back without an unscheduled swim. We were soon back over Point Roberts and I asked Robin if we could fly over the Beach Grove Golf Club so I could take a few aerial pictures. As we were flying over our 3rd fairway Robin asked if I had any experience with mountain flying and quickly started to set the aircraft up to demonstrate a box-turn. I had read about this in books to get out of a canyon when there is no other option but.... too late the stall horn was blaring in my ear and the crab in the back seat were becoming unsettled. Well I hope they plant a tree on the golf course in my memory was my next thought....just of the 3rd tee would be a nice spot; maybe an Oak. The slip indicator was not looking normal and the stall horn was still blaring away and I was looking for something to hold onto before our spin into the turf. Captain Robin was a great Pilot and we landed safely back at his strip that suddenly appeared much wider, flatter, and inviting compared with our previous landing site. I am certain that Robin enjoyed any opportunity to not have to fly straight and level and talk to ATC.

What a great day we had together sharing a common bond for aviation and a good lunch at the Pub.

Gone now but never forgotten. Thank you Captain Robin Lamb.

The most patient parent in the universe

Shared by Sheilagh Clucas on 18th June 2012

 On many occasions, I had the privilege of watching Robin interact with love and infinite patience towards his little sons, Noah, Micah, and Daniel.   A trip to Hawaii in June of 2005 was particularly memorable.  It was utterly amazing to see Robin being ordered around by two-year-old Noah throughout our time there.  Robin's standard response to Noah's demands  was, "OK, Adolf!"  One  particular day,  Noah would lead Robin down the escalator, up the elevator, down the elevator, and up the escalator endlessly.  Manninagh, baby Micah and I were sitting at a lunch table at the upper end of their destination, and as they came into view, Robin would grin and say, "Gotta go," as Noah would race him to either an elevator or escalator for another descent. Robin only stopped the game when Noah said it was over!  The same tests of patience occurred at the beach with Noah running in out of the water relentlessly.   Robin was a tireless, gentle and patient daddy, good-humoured, and delighted by the whole adventure with his bossy little son.  

During the same vacation, Micah, then two months old, was colicky and inconsolable--except when Robin held him endlessly, letting Micah suck on the side of his thumb. Robin was happy just to have the baby at peace and never asked for someone to take Micah so he could have a break.

 I'm so sad that Robin has left everyone who loved and respected him, and left far too soon.  He had so much to offer his family, friends, and his children who adored him. He was a caring, loving dad who genuinely enjoyed his children's company.  But I'm consoled that our family has many good memories of great conversations with Robin, happy times celebrating family events, and watching Robin spend time with his sons, so that we can keep telling his little boys how much he loved them.                                                                      

U of S and beyond

Shared by Ken Mcphee on 17th June 2012

Robin and I grew up at Tisdale. Since we were a year apart at school and he spent summers at Kip my memories then were less personal than later. I do remember he won the ping pong championship at elementary school when I watched him defeat Ivan Earl in the final. In my third and fourth years at U of Saskatchewan we roomed together and engaged in many lively conversations. We doubledated a few times.
After university, Robin joined IBM and then a career as pilot with Air Canada.
He lived his life with independance and adventure. He always stopped in when in Tisdale during the summer and spent enyoyable times at the lake. We always looked forward to his visits.
Illness took an enormous toll during the last few years but, had it not been for poor health, he would be stopping in this summer. 
I wish strength to those special people in Robin's life as their futures unfold.

Ken McPhee 

My Uncle

Shared by Steve Barker on 16th June 2012

I’m not sure how to put into words the love, respect and friendship I had with Robin.  As a kid I remember being excited for days just knowing he might come by our house.  My first memories of his generosity and kindness were from his town home in Vancouver.  His house had a yard that was covered in bark mulch and splinters (not the most kid friendly environment).  I don’t know how old I was (maybe 3 or 4) and I would somehow always manage to run barefoot through this splinter filled kid trap while playing in the garden.  This obviously led to immense pain and anguish as my feet would be packed with sharp splinters.  No matter how many times I did this Robin would always have the patience to take time from what he was doing, take me inside and gently pull all the splinters from my feet.  I remember him doing this countless times.  Usually I would go back outside and within the hour I had forgotten what had just happen and run strait through the splinter filled gauntlet again, only to have Uncle Robin take me back inside and do his best medic job on my feet.  This happened every time I went to his house in the summer.  Sitting here now I can’t understand why I didn’t ever just wear shoes, but Robin always had the time and patience to help me out no matter how many times I did this.  He never once showed that he was annoyed or mad, he just happily went to work with the tweezers.    

I looked up to Robin immensely growing up as he was one of the very few adults who would take the time to ask me questions and understand my opinions on adult matters.  As Emma’s story illustrates beautifully, he had a very optimistic attitude and was open to discussing all range of topics with young people.  This is a very unique characteristic and one I will try to emulate myself.

Robin was a huge part of my family’s life growing up.  Bbq’s and pool parties at his home in Richmond with Tom, Jessie, Josh and Susan were always an exciting and fun treat for Emma and I.  I remember constantly going into his home office and turning off all his computers for him in some attempt to save energy maybe? Clearly I didn’t understand that in those days you didn’t turn off computers.  This was apparently a hard concept for me to grasp as I would always turn them off when no one was using them, only to have Robin gently remind me that it wasn’t really necessary, and please stop doing this!  Like the splinters this story highlights Robin’s gentle nature and kind attitude towards me, not to mention my apparently immensely slow learning curve.

As I got older Robin was always ready to help me learn the skills a young man needs.  I can remember him teaching me how to drive a standard car, teaching me to shoot, to fish, to drive his tractor, take me flying, and boating at Kip, all the activities he loved so much.  He always had so much to teach and was a natural instructor.  Never losing his temper, never showing any inclination at annoyance as I ground his transmission to a pulp trying to learn how to get his truck rolling in first gear.  After he would show me, he would let me loose on the air strip to drive around for hours.  I loved those times, I remember being so excited to show him I could finally do it properly.

Going to Robin’s was an adventure, he usually had some odd jobs he said he needed me to do, and he would pay me way too much to do them.  He was generous and kind and gave me the opportunity to do things my way, make mistakes, and encourage me to figure things out for myself.  Pouring the concrete for his hanger on the Point when I was 18 or 19 was a major reason I ended up in University.  After hours of backbreaking work on the end of the wet concrete pipe Robin (in his way) helped me realize a life of hard manual labour like this was not the way for me. 

Just driving through town he would have hundreds of interesting stories and observations on how things were done, or why things worked the way they did. He was a big picture thinker who would encourage me to think about how things worked, and how things could be better.

The last time I saw him was a few months before his passing, we went for lunch in Point Roberts.  Mom had encouraged me to go see him and I am so grateful she did.  We went to the golf course and had a great conversation on a wide variety of topics from business to politics to relationships etc.  It was a fun lunch and I will miss those talks greatly.  Robin was like a second father to me, losing a mentor who I adored so much growing up is tough.  They definitely broke the mold when the made Robin Lamb, he was a great man, fantastic Uncle and a good friend.  He will be forever missed.  I look forward to seeing you all at the memorial for one last get together at the place he built.


Steven Barker

Son to Susan Lamb and Hugh Barker.

Robin at the Airport

Shared by Judy Ross on 8th June 2012
A Generous Man   Alas, the June issue of the All Point Bulletin informs us that Robin Lamb has died this month.  Robin is the man who provided Point Roberts with a small private airport where anyone who wanted to land a small enough plane could do so, thanks to Robin's generosity.

He was a life-long pilot, a kind and good-natured man, and a good Point Roberts' citizen.

I didn't know Robin particularly well.  I first met him maybe 4 years ago, I'd guess, when Ed was flying in and out of the little airport in a rental helicopter.  He'd drive over to Sumas or to Bellingham to pick up the helicopter, fly it over here, land at Robin's little airport, take friends up for a ride or photograph the PR coastline and eventually take the helicopter back to the mainland.

Robin was always at the airport on those occasions.  He'd come out and talk to whoever was around, mostly pleasantries of one sort or another, or airplane talk.  The first time I saw him at the airport, he came up to me (he already knew Ed from previous landings) and said, "You're Judy Ross, aren't you?  I read your blog every day.  It's great."  I guessed that he had recognized me from my picture here, but mostly I was just (like any writer) unduly pleased to hear kind things said about one's writing.  And we talked a little about writing regularly and what it was like.

Those were the kind of conversations we had.  I knew a little about his plans to have houses around the landing strip so people could live next to the airport just as people live around the perimeter of a golf course, but he only talked about those plans if I inquired of them.  Most it was just general talk about Point Roberts.  I'm sorry, now, that I never asked him what had inspired him to build a private airport and then give free access to anyone who came by with a plane small enough to land there.  Maintaining that kind of space is no small job, and he did if for all those who were able to use it.  How exceedingly kind of him.

I saw him last December at the Community Center and we talked about helicopter flying a bit and I noted that he was looking unusually thin.  But nothing beyond that.  And now he is gone: a man who made a generous gift to many of us and asked for nothing back as far as I can tell.

There are other people like that in Point Roberts.  If you know one (and you surely do), consider thanking them now instead of waiting until they're no longer here to be thanked.  Up to the stars, Robin: Thank you

Car Ride from Saskatoon to Kipabiskau

Shared by Emma Barker on 4th June 2012

I arrived at the Saskatoon Airport solo that year.  I can't remember how old I was, maybe 13 or 14.  Robin was working for Air Canada at the time and had a limited number of days off.  Nevertheless, he volunteered to come and fetch me from the airport--a five hour round trip.

He greeted me at the gate, wearing a plaid jacket, a ball cap and a smile.  We chatted comfortably as we made our way through the arrivals lounge and out to the parking lot where Grandma's old, white Buick was waiting.  He hoisted my suitcase into the trunk and we set off for the lake. 

As we drove along, we talked and looked out the window at the rolling fields of alfalfa and canola.  I wish I remembered more details about the car ride but time has a way of blurring the lines.  What I do remember is that we didn't stop talking the entire trip.  We chatted about what I wanted to be when I grew up, about travel, donuts, religion and everything in between.  Those two and a half hours flew by.  After our chat I felt elated and especially optimistic.  Robin had an 'anything is possible' way of looking at the world.  It didn't matter what kind of crazy ideas you threw at him, he was always encouraging.  Instead of asking 'why' he'd ask 'why not?'

I think he got something out of our chat too because the next morning when he sat down at the breakfast table, Josh, Tom and I noticed something different about him...

His moustache was gone! 

In those days Robin was sporting a thick moustache--think Tom Selleck in the 70s.  We demanded an explanation and he laughed and said that he was just following my advice. (At one point during the car ride we'd discussed the importance of change and I had joked that he should shave off his moustache, not really believing he would do it). 

Well, he did it. 

My cousins couldn't believe that he had nixed the 'stashe--a permanent fixture on his face for many years--due to our conversation but he assured them it was true.  They were notably impressed and my thirteen year old self suddenly felt very important.  A grown-up taking advice from a teenager?  This was rare indeed. 

Robin finished his toast and as he was getting up from the table, we shared a glance and he winked at me. 

I will always remember that.

- Emma (niece to Robin)

from Peter Pihach

Shared by Susan Lamb on 4th June 2012

Peter Pihach via

My deepest sympathy to Captain Lambs Family.
From the Crew Scheduling point of view Captain Lamb was always professional and easy going.
Robin was instrumental in helping me obtain my first Personal Computer.

Shared by Doug Lamb on 1st June 2012

Good morning Susan ,aunty Hazel and gang I am very sorry to hear of my old friend ,cousin and E-Mail partner .passing away we have spent many evenings  gassing away at mostly nothing of any importance to anyone but our selves .

Years ago Uncle Tubby brought the two boys,David and Robin  over to The Pas and I was to give them both a check ride on a Cessna 180.A check ride meant you were in complete command of your airplane while takeing off ,flying and landing .There  wasn`t any dual controls available in or out of the airplane , 

One in the back watching and one in the left seat flying the airplane they both new what everything was for by watching their old Dad doing it . After a few axious moments they both did a couple of touch and goes after a dead stop . It didn`t take them long .and soon they both spent a life time flying hundreds of people all over the world .

Unfortunetly we will not be able to make the survice out there .

Our best wishes
Doug and Vasti Lamb               

Emily Farnham

Shared by Susan Lamb on 29th May 2012

To: Hazel, Susan, Marsha and Family


I was so sorry to see your loss and It is with deep regret to see that Robin has passed away. It has been many years since I have seen and talked to Robin. I would run into him periodically while I was in Saskatoon and the odd time prior to flights across the country.

I always remember him as a fine gentleman and always took a sincere interest in what I and the boys were doing. Although I no longer reside in Saskatoon, I do keep up with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and appreciated the notification of Robin’s passing.

The Lamb family has always been a large part of my memories of Tisdale and in subsequent years. Their support of my family was very much appreciated and I am pleased to see that Hazel is still with us – I do hope she is doing well.

I have notified my brother Bob who lives in Hinton AB and I have forwarded the information about Robin to him. He and Robin were born in the same year. He has asked me to pass on his condolences to his family.

My other brother Jack passed away March 1, 2011 at the age of 72. He, unfortunately, had an inoperable aortic aneurysm.

As for myself (now 75) and doing quite well. I have lived in Airdrie AB since 2007 and it’s been great in that I get to spend more time with my brothers Bob and Jack (before he died), their wives and all my nieces and nephews.

They all live in Alberta and have for many years.

I would not be able to attend the memorial in Point Roberts but I will be thinking of Robin and all of his family and will follow the information on Robin’s web site.


Emily Farnham

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