Locally/Independently Owned & Operated

Nigel James Robbins – January 12, 1949 – January 30, 2017

Our family announces with deep sadness the death of Nigel James Robbins at the Maison McCulloch Hospice, peacefully after a lengthy illness, at the age of 68 years. Nigel is survived by his wife Maggie Keller, with whom he shared (amongst other things) a great love of playing the oboe. Also surviving Nigel is his mother Gwen Robbins (dad Charles died in 2001); his daughter Sylvia Robbins Phung (son-in-law David Phung, grandsons Alexander and Ethan Phung); his daughter Emily Ballent (son-in-law Danny Ballent, grandson River Ballent and granddaughter Willow Ballent); his sister Pam Robbins and brother-in-law Chris Lazarenko; his niece Jenna Lazarenko (spouse James Johnson and their son Callum); his nephew James Lazarenko; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Marti and Rich Masson and their daughter Hannah. Also, Nigel’s parents having both come from large families, there are many relatives (an aunt, many first and second cousins) who survive him England, Canada and the United States. Nigel was part of Sudbury’s musical community beginning in 1965, when he joined the Philharmonic Society as a student oboist. He was a regular competitor in the Kiwanis Music Festival in Sudbury. He auditioned for and was selected as a member of the National Youth Orchestra for two summers (1970 and 1971). In 1975, Metro Kozak and Nigel worked together to form the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. To pursue business interests based on his scientific background, Nigel left Sudbury in 1978. For the next twenty years, he developed an expertise in aquaculture. He owned a trout farm, invested and sold aquaculture equipment, then went to Eastern Canada where he helped with fishery-related research and development plus did some teaching. To be closer to his family and to establish a scientific research and development consultancy company in Sudbury, Nigel returned to Northern Ontario in 1998. It wasn’t long before he was playing in the Timmins and North Bay Symphony Orchestras and this led to meeting Maggie. Nigel also appeared as a soloist and guest artist at many different concerts in Northern Ontario and premiered new musical works for oboe d’amore and oboe in Nova Scotia and the United States. Nigel was a multifaceted man. Along with his musical interests, he was passionate about sailing and boats, perhaps stemming from his Trans-Atlantic voyage on the ship Ascania, when 5-year old Nigel and his parents emigrated from England in 1954. He owned a variety of boats over the years, most recently a lovely sailboat that he and Maggie sailed in the North Channel of Georgian Bay. It was always exciting to sail past Aird Island, which was formerly the site of United Church summer camp programs that Nigel and his family used to attend. Nigel was indeed a Renaissance Man, being interested in and knowing lots about many things. He did a little bit of everything, yet did it extremely well: tropical fish aquariums in his younger days, sketching, writing, wood working, welding, auto mechanics, etc. He was also a member of Bethel Masonic Lodge. He greatly prized individuality and inventiveness. He believed in people recognizing and following their passions. He was a confirmed Do-It-Yourself kind of guy, and absolutely loved finding “treasures” at the dump or at thrift shops. Kind-hearted and compassionate, Nigel cared about people and made a difference in so many lives. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at St. Andrew’s United Church, 111 Larch Street, Sudbury at 10:00 a.m. Instead of flowers, memorial donations to Maison McCulloch Hospice would be appreciated.

4 Condolences

  1. Losing a friend hurts, but losing a loved one, whether son, husband or brother, is infinitely more painful.
    My sincere condolences to Gwen, Maggie & Pam.
    The pain will fade but your memories will endure.
    Nigel was a good & gentle man, who left too soon.
    Keep strong in your support for each other.

    Posted by:Steve Monk
    February 9, 2017
  2. Dear Gwen, Maggie, Pam and family,
    I was so sorry to hear that Nigel had died but relieved to know that his suffering is now over. I have many fond memories of Nigel and the Robbins family going back to our days at Aird Island together. He was indeed a gifted musician and his many and varied other interests were indeed unique and provided him with such a great variety of opportunities throughout his life.
    I hope that the many wonderful memories that you all share will offer you a measure of peace and comfort in your sadness at his passing. May God grant you peace.
    Margaret and Ken Rabson

    Posted by:Margaret Rabson
    February 1, 2017
  3. Condolences to Gwen and the entire Robbins clan. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Posted by:Perry Ashawasegai
    February 1, 2017
  4. My thoughts and prayers are with Gwen, Maggie and family during this difficult time. Nigel was a very kind and thoughtful person and a very talented musician. I enjoyed having the chance to work with him for a short time and to listen to him perform as an oboist.

    Posted by:Laura Mucklow
    February 1, 2017

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