Pride – Honour – Commitment
These are words describing values Bob Casement (William Robert) held dear throughout his 95 plus years of life. His pride ran deep for his country, his fellow man and his family. There were no second thoughts when the call went out for men to enlist to keep our nation free in 1939. Signing up with the South Saskatchewan Regiment in June, 1940 Bob spent 23 years serving Canada rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant in the Canadian Army, retiring with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He was one of the 6,086 who landed on the beaches of Dieppe, France on August 19, 1942, and became one of the 3,623 who were killed, wounded or captured in one of Canada’s worst defeats. A prisoner of war from August, 1942 to April, 1945, Bob’s ingenuity and perseverance were traits that caused the Nazi’s plenty of headaches as he led escape attempts three times before finally breaking free from their captive hold. His patriotic commitment for his country shone again when he became one of 26,791 Canadians sent to the Korean War as part of our countries commitment to the fledgling United Nations forces. He arrived there in October, 1951 and it was in March of 1952 that a mortar exploded beside him, shrapnel shredding and crippling his left leg and ending his fighting days. Despite his injury, he battled on against all odds and remained in the PPCLI and Western Command until his retirement from the army in February, 1963. During the later years of his career, Bob became an instructor at the cadet military camp in Vernon, BC. The posting allowed him to fall in love with the Okanagan where he retired to his 20 acre farm on Schubert Road in Spallumcheen. He and the “honey” of his life, Patricia (Pat) lived there until 2003 when they moved into Armstrong.
Bob was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion who received his 45 year service pin from them this past year. He served as President of the Armstrong Branch #35 twice 1967 and 1979. He earned the Legion’s Meritorious Service Medal and was one of only four members in Armstrong to also be presented a palm leaf and diamond pin, the Legion’s highest honour.
One of the proudest moments of his life came in 2004 when his grandson Jeff Manz enlisted in the Canadian Army following in his footsteps and by coincidence ended up in Charlie Company in the PPCLI, the same unit Bob once served in.
Bob was born the oldest son in a family of sixteen children in Leslie, Saskatchewan in 1913. He leaves behind his loving wife Pat, daughter Dianne (Ron), grandchildren Jessica (Sam), Jeff, Angela, Michelle, Jennifer (Guy), and great grandchildren Mercedes, Tina, Petra, Blake, Carson and Alexis. He is survived by three brothers Harold, Earl and Warren and four sisters, Lilly, Mazie, Doris and Barb.
Bob was a fighter, a survivor, a character, one tough customer with strong opinions at times, but always a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. There is no doubt he will carry the torch for us all as he marches through the fields of heaven.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Royal Canadian Legion, Armstrong Branch #35. A Celebration of his Life will be held at the Armstrong Legion, Saturday, February 28th at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements in the care of Personal Alternative Funeral Services, Armstrong, 250 546-7237.