Born: Regina, Saskatchewan 10th March, 1965
Passed: Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta – June 24, 2021 (56 years old)
Robert King passed peacefully and surrounded by his loved ones, survived by his wife Kaen and daughter Marcenia.
Robert was the epitome of what you would expect a Canadian to be. A real “salt of the earth” kind of guy. Always the optimist and never without a beaming smile on his face. He was one of those people who would always light up a room.
I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him during his Canadian years; but he fondly told stories about his friends and his career.
He spent 2000-2007 working with the Search and Rescue team in Calgary, Alberta and it was his true calling.
He ventured to Thailand around 2008 and ended up meeting the woman of his dreams and they grew to create a family together. During his time in Thailand he nurtured the creative flare he had for photography and captured many incredible moments on film.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robert four years ago when he attended a community function I was hosting. He was one of the first to arrive and his ability to make one instantly feel like a family member or old friend, was uncanny. Like being home, he emanated that same feeling of comfort and warmth.
During the last two years while the community here increasingly struggled through Covid and its devastating effects – Robert put into place a CM SAR community that was able to help to provide support to a number of individuals and communities. Anyone that had the pleasure of knowing him knew that he embodied exactly the work he did, yet he would never call it that. I don’t think I have ever met a more selfless and loving individual, he was a beacon of light and a pillar of the community.
Some words from his chosen sister, Melissa Poulter Rock:
“Rob was known for making friends wherever he went and also for helping anyone that even looked like they needed help. His wife told me so many times she would come home to a stranger in their home that Rob had insisted on helping.
He was Canadian to the core- even when he was in his final stages – he kept apologising and always had his manners intact. The hospital staff loved him and called him one of the nicest people they had ever met.”
The news of his passing has impacted many people and he will be deeply missed.
I will leave you with some words from the man, himself:
“It happens… sometimes all we can do is just keep going, give our respects to the departed and try to take care of the living mate.” – Robert King.
*a fundraiser has been started in support of his family and to help cover medical expenses that weren’t covered by Alberta Health – if you’d like to help you can donate here.
[Editor: As Editor-in-Chief of Citylife Chiang Mai, I first met Robert King the Friday before everything shut down in March last year. We had an emergency meeting at the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club to figure out how best to help support the international community here in Chiang Mai as the pandemic arrived. Robert King was one of the people who turned up, offering his help. Following the very fruitful meeting, I wrote an article, “Anticipating the worst is bringing out the best: Chiang Mai foreign community is ready,” which featured Robert.
This was what was published: Canadian Robert King has over a decade of expertise in setting up such support systems for some of Canada’s search and rescue needs, and soon showed himself to be invaluable. He had previously set up the Chiang Mai Search and Rescue page and it was decided that this group, run by King, would be in charge of operations while the overarching COVID Foreign Community Support Group, overseen by Svasti, would be the main channel of communication with Chiang Mai’s foreign residents.
“The group has exceeded all of my expectations,” said King. “That first day before I got to the Gymkhana Club I thought we would get 30 maybe 50 people to help. But after meeting Ben, and after you ran that article in Citylife, it exploded and we now have 334 helpers. We work with the Expat Club team, the Free Burma Rangers, multiple groups. We even have a plane now, though I am not sure what we are going to do with it! All in all I think there are about 1,000 people involved and helping out in one capacity or another.”
King’s army of helpers have kindly offered to pickup and deliver food, medicine and other necessities to deliver to the old, the infirm and the vulnerable. They are also busy setting up basic – and remote – training for helpers to ensure their safety and wellbeing as well as how to work at maximum efficiency if and when the time comes.
King has also corralled all the community groups across Chiang Mai under one umbrella and everyone is doing their best to reach out far and wide to get the foreign community to join their local chapters.
Rest in peace.