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5 years 4 months
Submitted by amber on Fri, 06/14/2024 - 02:07:PM

It is with profound sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Robin Dorrell in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Born on the Isle of Dogs, London, England, the only child of Marjorie Browning and Frank Andrews, Robin emigrated alone to Ottawa at the age of 17. He passionately loved Canada and always claimed that whatever success he had had in life was due to the unselfish help of myriad Canadians.  He is survived by his beloved wife Barbara whom he frequently described as his best friend, his most loyal critic, his sous-chef, and the love of his life; as well as by Barbara’s siblings: Ellie (Earl), Allan (Willa), Jonathan (Rosemary); nieces and nephews: Mike (Simone), Joy (Chad), Leith (Patrick), Andrew (Kara); and their children: Oscar, Bodhi & Henry, Arthur & Peter, Jack & Penny. He is also lovingly remembered by numerous friends in Ottawa, British Columbia, France, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and family in the U.K..

Robin had an interesting and varied life. At various times he was a soldier, a janitor, a film critic, a delivery boy, a student of French & Spanish, a traveler, a judoki, and a wine lover. After completing a Master of Arts degree at Carleton University he started his own creative writing company with clients such as Parks Canada, and the Exhibition Commission, doing work relating to Expo 67. He was a theatre critic for over 10 years with the Ottawa Journal, and performed in Beyond the Fringe productions at local supper clubs. He had a successful career with Algonquin College as a teacher, a founding member of the Public Relations Program, and as Director of Marketing and Public Affairs. Those he worked with remember him as a kind, supportive mentor devoted to his staff and the College. His love of travel took him to many corners of the world, including a year at the University of Montpellier. While there he acquired a small property with the idea of having a pied-à-terre in Provence. When leaving France, with plans having changed, and on learning that he would not be able to take the proceeds of the sale of the property out of France, he used them to buy the entire year’s production of a local winery and left it in the local cave for the villagers to enjoy! We understand he is still fondly remembered by the villagers! Robin had many interests: cooking, reading, following the financial markets, gardening, was an avid tennis player and a long-time member of the Rideau Tennis Club. He was a supporter of the arts, a subscriber/member of the National Gallery, the National Arts Centre, local theatre, Stratford, and Toronto’s Koerner Hall.   

He took people seriously and frequently remarked how privileged he was to have so many friends. A generous host, he loved having guests at his cottage on Lac Vert, Quebec over many summers. The cottage was his retreat; he loved the lake, the loons, his garden of day lilies, and his constant projects. Friends enjoyed the use of the cottage which Robin was happy to offer. He was a very good, inventive cook, and loved entertaining with small dinner parties. He and Barbara’s socializing often revolved around food in various forums. This included a dining out group consisting of couples from university days; a gourmet cooking club where competition was fierce to win the trophy; and a literary dinner club – a group of friends where writers/poets were explored over an era-appropriate dinner. Robin was well-known as a gifted story teller. His dry humour, wit, and repertoire of accents enlivened countless social gatherings (as did Thornton, the very proper English butler and Robin’s alter ego). He especially enthralled children with his whimsical stories.

Later in life, he and Barbara met and married and had a very loving 31 years together. Their love of travel was a shared joy, and they travelled to every continent, exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations, often for long periods of time. Spanish-speaking countries were favourites to maintain his proficiency in that language. Favourite Canadian destinations were Victoria and Haida Gwaii, B.C, and Newfoundland.

Robin lived a rich, full life defined by kindness, simplicity, integrity, and generosity. A Memorial Service will take place at First Baptist Church, Elgin at Laurier Avenue, at 2 pm on Saturday, July 20th, 2024. In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to Doctors Without Borders. For messages of condolence please visit


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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/06/2024 - 08:15:AM


Tremble Family

We will always cherish our memories of the Easter Chicken, the best neighbour that ever there was. With love, Marie, John, Alex and Anne-Marie

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/06/2024 - 03:37:PM


Andrea Murphy

Farewell, dear Robin. Along with my sorrow, I am smiling at a memory of your mother mistakenly calling me "Anthea" and thereafter everyone at 8 Range Road calling me that. My sincere condolences to Barbara and all those who knew you.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/07/2024 - 05:40:PM


Pauline Anderson

Although we never met, my parents were good friends of Robin's mother and stepfather. Mabs was always so proud of Robin and loved to talk about his life in Canada. Our condolences to Barbara and his friends.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/08/2024 - 06:05:PM


Sharron & John Hanna

Sending love and condolences to Barbara

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/12/2024 - 07:05:AM


David Berofe and Céleste Mercier

We were very sad to hear about Robin. He was such a lovely gentleman and a raconteur par excellence, with an irresistible twinkle in his eye. He will be sorely missed but will forever be in our hearts. Our deepest sympatry.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/13/2024 - 10:50:AM


Mary Browne

I knew Robin when we were growing up in Ealing. Robin was a Boy Scout and I remember him acting in the annual Scouts' pantomime - "Buttons" in Cinderella. We belonged to St Peter's church, which had a very lively group and many activities - the drama group, tennis, evenings at Mabs' house listening to Doris Day records! Robin was a devoted fan. A lot of happy memories. And we both came to live in Canada - Robin earlier than me when he joined the Canadian Army. I came in 1958. Please accept my deepest condolences, Barbara.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/14/2024 - 06:06:AM


Deborah Jelly

Dear Barbara, please accept my warmest thoughts as you cope with this loss. Thinking of you. Deborah

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/19/2024 - 08:41:AM


Alrick Huebener

My condolences to Robin's friends and family. Robin attended several of the summer outdoor concerts when I played in local jazz band to raise funds for the food bank. Even though he was quite ill, he and Barbara made a huge effort to be there. I remember him smiling and swaying to to the music and was glad out tunes could provide a few moments of good cheer, relief and distraction when he was facing such wearying health challenges. Moments matter. I was glad I could send him some positive vibrations late in his life. We played the same concert yesterday evening and I noticed his absence. I asked and was told he had died. Adieu, Robin. I will no longer see you in chance encounters on Bank Street, but I will always remember your joy in the music we both love.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/20/2024 - 03:22:PM


Karen Watson and family

With all our love to Robino in all his modest excellence and kindness, and love to dear Barbara.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/20/2024 - 05:47:PM


Karen Watson and family

With all our love to Robino in all his modest excellence and kindness, and our love to dear Barbara.

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