June 6, 1937 – August 29, 2022
It is with great sorrow that we announce that Robert “Ian” Sibbald passed away, surrounded by his wife and children, at home in Courtenay on August 29, 2022. Ian is the beloved husband of 67 years of Margaret “Jean” Sibbald (Lucas). He is survived by his three children and their spouses, Robert (Barb), Barbara (Stuart) and Stephen (Wynn Anne), grandchildren, Michael, Tim, Chris, Keith, Ky, Peter, Emily and Brian, and great-grandchildren Xavier, Kitt, Madeleine and Quinn. He is predeceased by his father (Robert “Bob”), mother (Lucille), sister (Shirley), half-sister (Bette), half-brother (Bruce) and great-grandson (wee Robbie).
Ian was a man of firm opinions and an abiding sense of humour. He was a gregarious person, who loved to entertain and tell stories. Ian was deeply committed to his family and his career in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Ian was born in Matsqui, B.C. on June 6, 1937; his early years were filled with turmoil after his parents separated. He often quipped that he had 12 brothers and sisters but was an only child; they were all step or half siblings. Under the influence of his brother Bruce who was an air force mechanic in World War II, Ian joined air cadets while still in high school. There he met his future wife and life partner, Jean. Ian joined the Royal Canadian Air Force then began pilot training in Claresholm, Alberta in 1956. After Wings graduation, he began a 36-year career in the Royal Canadian Air Force; he flew 8,963 hours with postings at Penhold, Alberta, Ottawa, Colorado Springs, Ottawa NDHQ, Edmonton, Trenton, Lahr, Germany, Damascus Syria, Tiberius, Israel, Jerusalem Israel, Ottawa and Comox, B.C. where he retired with the rank of Squadron Leader in 1991. Jean and Ian lived in 23 homes, in five countries on three continents.
Ian was an ardent student of military history with a collection of over 3,000 books, a passion for war gaming and a consummate skill in constructing plastic models. Some of his models are on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. For nearly 20 years, he wrote an advice column called “Uncle Freddie” in Random Thoughts, the magazine of the International Plastic Modelers Society.
Retirement brought time to volunteer. He was political campaigner, worked with Citizens on Patrol and helped extensively at the Comox Air Force Museum. For a decade, he was president of the Comox Chapter of Federal Superannuates National Association (as it was then known). He helped restore St. Andrew’s Church and its adjacent cemetery. His travels continued through retirement; he and Jean visited China, Russia, Egypt, India, Tunisia, England, France (Normandy), Turkey, Australia, Singapore, Newfoundland and many other lands.
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