After having endured several months of poor health, on Tuesday, September 6th in the afternoon, Robert (Bob) MacRitchie passed away peacefully at the age of 76, in his home that he loved so much, with clear skies overhead and the waters of Cadboro Bay glistening in the sun, at peace at last. He had been cared for at home during his illness. The last few days of his life, his loving daughter joined his wife and life partner of 44 years to be with her father and on the day of his passing, his son and grandson came to say goodbye.
Bob was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, spent his junior years in Edmonton and moved to Vancouver for his Senior school years, University education and to start an amazing life journey. Always the industrious entrepreneur, which began at the age of 14, organizing paper deliveries, with a team of people working with him. In 1968 he started up a courier and armored car company with his father. A while later there was a postal strike, annoying most of us but “An Amazing Opportunity” for someone with vision who could see that window of opportunity for growth. Bob had really found his niche and rapidly expanded the company across Canada. With that success behind him he sold the company and continued to pursue other entrepreneurial endeavors until 1978, when he shifted his talents and focus into the world of High-Tech, in sales and marketing of course! He initially joined International Computers and then to Apple Computers where he was involved in the launch of the “MAC” in Western Canada. Now recognized for his success, he was approached by Sun Microsystems, which would ultimately transform his and his wife’s lives forever.
Originally based with Sun Microsystems Toronto for approximately one year, he was promoted to a position in Silicon Valley and the whirlwind of global business and travelling began. He was appointed President Sun Japan, commuting from California. Two years later he was promoted to the position of Vice President, Asia Pacific Group based in Hong Kong, where he remained for 3 years until repatriated to Silicon Valley. If the truth be known, he did not want to leave. One should hasten to add the travel opportunities, social life and numerous black-tie events and parties played no role in this! Back in Silicon Valley, for a few years he took on several assignments including Vice President of The International Americas Group and other assignments related to Global Sales.
Whilst it was a time of many diverse challenges for him, it awarded him the honour to become Executive Vice President of Global Sales and the pinnacle of his career. Over the many years at Sun he had won numerous awards for achievement, but one of his most coveted was the “The 2001 Sun Women’s Leadership Award…Women’s Champion”. That tells you so much about him. He felt very strongly for equal opportunity for everyone.
He may also be one of the few people who, when invited to a High-Tech event at the White House, took his pocket camera with him, had it approved by security, and has informal photographs with The Clintons in his office, always good for another story to tell. Of course, as the Women’s Champion, he thoroughly enjoyed his conversation with Hillary. Bob always said, “set your goals and expectations high, never be afraid to ask, people can only say no, and if they do say no that was an invitation to change people’s minds to yes”.
In 1998 he and his wife selected Victoria as their choice for their retirement destination, built a home, and moved to Victoria in 2000 and have endeavored to play an active part in the community since. Much to the chagrin of his wife, he continued to commute to California for two more years, as neither he nor Sun were quite ready to go their separate ways!
As an intellectual man, it is no surprise that one of his two main retirement hobbies was spending several hours a day on the internet, following the progress of Apple and Sun, keeping abreast of world affairs, and keeping in touch with his friends and colleagues around the world. By contrast his second hobby was woodworking which was always a surprise and sense of curiosity to people. In his “Shop Clothes”, saw dust on the floor, tools scattered around and paint on the floor from the less than slow patient approach to painting, hardly the image of a successful executive! Bob was also very committed to giving back recognizing that he had been so incredibly fortunate in his lifetime. He supported youth programs, the Arts, in particular Pacific Opera, for whom he served on the board, and programs to provide support and opportunity for people less fortunate than himself. As an ardent lover of animals and wildlife, Bob and his wife have always considered the SPCA to be closest to their hearts. According to the unknown author of “Rainbow Bridge”, Bob will have crossed the bridge after being reunited with his beloved dogs that have passed, but never absent from his heart…
In the last year, with failing health, by total contrast, he was content to sit on the terrace with his cell phone, listening to country music, enjoying the wildlife, squirrels, birds, rabbits, for whom hilariously he had given names; and enjoying looking out onto the bay. Bob was a complex man, a man of ideas, a driving force in business but personally, very private, who sometimes was quite intimidating in his stature, but really a gentle giant. He was stubborn, focused, difficult at times buy always much loved and respected for it. He will be missed by his extended family here in BC, his niece and relatives in Alberta, and his friends and business colleagues around the world. To those who treasured him the most, he will be profoundly missed, always loved and forever remembered.
By request no service was held, only a private family farewell. It is requested that any memorial tributes that wish to be made are as a donation to the Victoria Branch of the SPCA via his Personal Memorial Page at spca.bc.ca/memorial/bobmacritchie.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.
Patricia Porter (Yechtel)
Jose Gómez Obregon
It is sad to know that the boss is gone.
One of the greatest men we have ever met and worked for.
He taught many of us how to always give our best and show our people that companies are really what their employees do and commit for them.
His human sense was one of his best attributes, always listening and giving advice.
His leadership made many of us to become who we are and how we see others.
An incredible man who will always be remember by many of us in Latin America. He lead by example and built the region to one of the best worldwide.
I personally will miss him as I am sure many others will too!
Rest In Peace the Boss
Deeply saddened at this news. Bob was my boss at Sun. He was kind and generous, sharp and thoughtful and a great sense of humor. Om Shanti! May his soul rest in peace.
Maria Benilde Ortiz
Wendy I am so sad to hear Bob’s passing.
I met Bob at Sun Microsystems. Alwaya remember him as a kind, great supporter, hard worker, respecful and a inspirational boss.
My condolence to you and the family.
Juan M Mogollon
Dear Wendy, I just learned about Bob’s passing today. He was such a great mentor a I will always have fond memories. My most sincere condolences
Dear Wendy and family my heart aches for you all!!
I first met Bob working at Apple. He had so many wonderful creative ideas! Later on I again worked with Bob at Sun Microsystems. The creatively was always in overdrive! Through various promotions at Sun he remained down to earth and even humble!
RIP Bob you were always a role model!!
One of the finest people I ever worked with!!
Wendy and family- my family and I send heartfelt condolence to you on Bob’s passing. While there were many of us who made the Apple-Sun transition, Bob helped to keep that connection strong. On most of my int’l travel for Sun, Bob was an everpresent calming force and level-headed representative of Sun values. I count Sun as the fondest part of my career, made even more special due to having Bob as a colleague. Godspeed.
Luiz Fernando Maluf
Bob was the strongest professional reference in my life. We shared several years at Sun Microsystems, where he was an inspiration for all his colleagues. Big hearted, hardworking, polite and very supportive in good and difficult times, Bob will never be forgotten.
Please accept my sincere sentiments.
Shall Bob rest in peace
Dear Wendy and family,
I was a young engineer when I first met you and Bob, like so many others he was as mentor to me. Bob saw beyond what you were and focused on what you could be, your family was so kind and friendly. I feel deep sorrow to hear this news, my and my family prayers are with you and your family.
My deepest sympathy for your loss. Bob will be missed and remembered by those who knew him for his kindness. Sincere condolences to you and your family.
E Faye Acton
I am sorry, Bob was bigger than life itself. He will be missed and dearly remembered. I know how you cherished each other and how incredibly strong you are. I just want you to know I am there for you at any time.
Sandi & Glen Kalmar
As I told you many times. We were so fortunate to meet both you & Bob. Our first meeting was at a POV event at your beautiful home. I was so drawn to Bob and spent a lot of time chatting with him on your lovely terrace. After spending time with both you & Bob I freely admitted to you that I had fallen a little in love with Bob. Both you & Glen got a kick out of this. I loved the respect he had for you and how proud he was of you when you were part of organizing an incredible fundraiser for our beloved SPCA. We shared your love for animals,
I could go on for hours but know that Bob was one of the finest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and call friend. Glen loved Bob as well and so enjoyed their chats.
Love to you and know we’re here.
I loved working with Bob in my last role at Sun. His admin Frances, would always call me and then transfer Bob to me…I always got a “Hi Bob, it’s Bob”…I also remember when he broke his ribs and we would be in a meeting and he would move and grunt in pain…we all jumped and even he laughed. He was also always pulling snacks out of his closet in his office offering them to anyone. Great man. RIP.
I truly admired Bob. He was a great leader and had a gift for reading people. He was persistent but always kind and respectful.
Wendy, I am so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. He was a wonderful inspiration and coach to me and so many others at Sun. He was a huge supporter of women and I owe much of my success in my career to Bob. Please know my thoughts are with you and your family.
Dear Wendy, please accept my sincere condolences. While on the Opera Board Bob and I shared many occasions trying to find ways to “russle” in some more money for POV. His neat ideas were astonishing and often brought in good results. He will be greatly missed, fond regards, Barbara
Dear Wendy, I was very sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. You were a very close and inspirational couple . Together you created a beautiful life for your family and many friends. I know you will continue in the kind and generous tradition that highlighted your life with Bob
Terri and I were so saddened to learn of Bob’s passing. Many of our fondest memories of Bob revolve around our POV involvement and related social events. In so many ways Bob was larger than life and even now I can hear his deep resonant voice as he made thoughtful insights or just was laughing. Wendy, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Wendy, I am so sad to hear of Bob’s passing. I met Bob as his advertising rep for the Times Colonist. He was a delight to work with. He made me think on my feet. But, he also shared a little bit of his past with me. I loved the stories about his exciting life. I’m sure you and your family will have so many amazing memories to keep forever!
Dear Wendy, so sorry to read of Bob’s passing. I will always remember Bob as a “gentle giant” (as you called him) and the fun times working with you both on your home and later in the lighting business. Bob was always kind to me and admired his accomplishments in life. My love to you and condolences to the family. Cathy Denny and David Anderson
Wendy and family..it is with utmost sadness that I read of Bob”s passing in todays TC. He was a wonderful client and he and I shared many laughs together. Sincere condolences to you and family.
Dear Wendy and family, I was so sad to here of Bob’s passing. He was very much admired by his Uncle John, my dad. Dad showed the picture of Bobby and President Clinton to anyone he could. I was very happy to reconnect with Bob and spend time going over our family history. I will be forever grateful for all the work he did putting the family tree together. My deepest sympathy to you and your family Wendy. I know I will truly miss my talks with Bob. He was truly a remarkable person.