ROBERTSON - Joe Robertson, Anita Robertson & Laura Robertson -
The family of Joe and Anita Robertson is deeply saddened to announce the sudden deaths of prominent Niagara Peninsula business people Joe and Anita Robertson, and their daughter Laura Robertson of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on July 30, 2018 in Greenville, Maine.
They were on their way from their family cottage to Prince Edward Island in Joe’s personal airplane. Joe, Anita and Laura were the only occupants.
Anita Elizabeth Robertson (nee Rodger) was born in Parry Sound to Eleanor and Arnold Rodger on June 24, 1960. She was the eldest of three sisters. After returning from the Northwest Territories in 1964, Anita’s parents Arnold and Eleanor moved home to Stittsville to be amongst Eleanor’s family. Anita and her sisters grew up in a very large and loving family of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents in the Ottawa Valley. In her youth, Anita was active in ballet and track and field, and as an adult started figure skating, winning gold in many events.
She attended South Carleton High School, graduating in 1977. She studied nursing at St. Lawrence College in Kingston (1978-1980) and worked in the neo-natal intensive care unit at CHEO. She later earned her B.Sc. in Nursing at McMaster University in 1989, graduating ten days after giving birth to her first child.
Anita was a partner to Joe in business and family. She played a vital role in the early operation of Pro-Mart (which later became Arcona Health Inc.) while simultaneously running the house and raising three children.
Anita’s presence in the community is demonstrated through her volunteer work with the Niagara Nursery School & Child Care Centre, Ridley College in St. Catharines, and most recently as the volunteer of the year (2017) for the St. Catharines & District United Way.
Joseph Charles Robertson was born in Ottawa to Jim and Helen Robertson on September 21, 1959. He was the youngest of five children. Joe attended Confederation High School in Nepean, St. Michael’s University College in Victoria, and then graduated from Bell High School in Nepean in 1977. After graduating, Joe spent a year working at McDonald’s to gain experience in a successful business, and then attended Carleton University where he earned a B.Comm. in 1981. He then worked for the Mercantile Bank before returning to school, this time at Harvard University where he completed an MBA.
Just shy of his 30th birthday, Joe purchased a small dental supply company in St. Catharines, Ontario. Together with his business partner Carman Adair, Joe grew the business under the name Arcona Health Inc. They sold the business to Henry Schein Dental and Joe became CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors of its Canadian subsidiary, which became known as Henry Schein Arcona Inc.
After moving on from Arcona, Joe became an active volunteer. He was part of Brock University’s Board of Directors for over a decade, and between 2012-14 he was Chair of the Board of Governors. Joe also acted as the Chair of the Council of Chairs of Ontario Universities and later became a board member of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017.
Joe and Anita met working at McDonald’s in Bells Corners in Nepean as teenagers. They married in 1986 and had three children: Taylor, Clark, and Laura. Joe and Anita were lifelong lovers, best friends, and business partners.
Joe, Anita and Laura lived their lives as best as they could be lived. They excelled in their careers, maintained close family relationships, and became leaders in their community. They loved spending time at their cottage in Golden Lake, Ontario. They were extremely generous with their successes, inspiring and improving the lives of countless individuals they encountered. They were incredibly loyal to those around them.
The Robertsons were philanthropically active in the Niagara-on-the-Lake and St. Catharines communities. They contributed to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre to build a multipurpose theatre, the Niagara Health Foundation to support the construction of the hospital, and the Niagara-on-the-Lake nursery, as well as many other worthy causes. They also co-chaired the St. Catharines & District United Way and were active with the Young President’s Organization. They were huge supporters of Music Cares, SOCAN, Bravo Niagara, and the Brock Performing Arts Centre.
Joe, Anita and Laura are survived by their loving sons and brothers, Taylor and Clark Robertson, who will proudly continue the legacy of community building that their parents started, by Joe’s siblings Dorothy Corbeil (Pierre, deceased), Jim, Andy (Brenda) and Mary Robertson, by Anita’s sisters Leisa Daly (Kevin), Sonya Rodger, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A celebration of lives will be held on Friday, August 10th in the Ian Beddis Gymnasium, Walker Complex, Brock University, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, where family will receive friends from 12:30 to 2:30p.m. Service will follow in the gymnasium at 2:30pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Catharines and District United Way, War Child, or a favourite charity of your choice. Arrangements with Morgan Funeral Home, Niagara-on-the-Lake.