Commodore Robert Norman Baugniet, (OMM, CD, BA, APR) Royal Canadian Navy (ret) crossed the bar in Toronto, Ontario at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre on January 12, 2023 at the age of 78. He is survived by his two daughters, Jessica and Belinda; four grandchildren, Abigail Sarah, Mason Alexander, Bennett Colville, and Charlotte Cameron Jules and by his siblings Michel (Patie), and Phillip and his beloved nieces and nephews Nicholas, Danielle, William, Edward, Richard, Andrew, David, Phillip, Jeremy, Vicky, Miranda, Rebecca and Joseph. He is predeceased by his loving parents Robert and Phyllis, his sister Martine and sister-in-law Gabriel.
Robert, or Bob as he was known to his Navy friends, tried hard to personify Sir Winston Churchill's observation that "a reservist is twice the citizen." But he was always quick to state that his greatest accomplishment in life was being father to his two incredible daughters, Jessica, a family doctor and Belinda, a marketing executive.
He retired from Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in October 2009, one month before his 65th birthday. At Gulfstream he served as Director, Corporate Communications for eight years. Prior to joining Gulfstream, he was Vice President, Corporate Communications, for Rolls-Royce North America (1997-2001) and Vice President, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services, Rolls-Royce Industries Canada Inc. (1994-1997). For the previous 29 years he was with Berger & Associates, a major, six-office, public relations consulting firm which in 1987 became part of Ogilvy & Mather. At Berger, Robert rose progressively through the ranks, in the Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto offices and, from 1987 to 1994, was President and Chief Executive Officer.
In parallel with his civilian career, Bob served in the Royal Canadian Navy, rising to the rank of Commodore and ultimately commanding Canada's naval reserve forces. He relinquished his command when he moved to the USA in 1997. Among his various appointments were Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer, HMCS CARLETON, Ottawa; Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer, HMCS YORK, Toronto; Senior Staff Officer (Navy) to the Chief of Reserves and he also served as Commander, Maritime Coastal Defense, Seaway. He was a member of the Flag Officers Council, The Naval Board of Canada and the Chief of Reserves Council and the Naval Reserve Council. In recognition of his service, he was named an Officer in the Order of Military Merit in 1986.
He attended HMCS VENTURE, the naval officer cadet training school, and Royal Roads Military College, in Victoria, B.C. and was a graduate of Sir George Williams University, Montreal, which is now Concordia University. His undergraduate degree was in English and Political Science. In addition, he was a graduate of the National Defence College of Canada's International Security Studies Program and an accredited member of the Canadian Public Relations Society.
Active in military and professional circles, Robert was a past president of the Royal Canadian Military Institute, The Maritime Defense Association of Canada and The Canadian Public Relations Society's Consultants' Institute as well as the Ottawa chapter. He is a former director of The Empire Club of Canada, Toronto Branch; the Military Affairs Committee of the Toronto Board of Trade; The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires (Toronto); The Navy League of Canada (Ontario Division), and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire, Savannah, Georgia. He was also a member of the Naval Officers Association of Canada, The HMCS Venture Association, The UNTD Association, the United States Naval Institute and the Navy League of the United States, Savannah Chapter.
He was an active member of the communications committees in the Aerospace Industries Associations in Canada and the US, as well as with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Washington, DC. He is a past member of the National Press Clubs in Ottawa, Canada, and Washington, DC.
Robert was born in London, England, completed his early education at Dulwich College, and moved to Canada in 1958. He relocated to the US in 1997 and became a US citizen in 2005. He travelled throughout the Americas, Continental Europe, the Middle East, Far East and Australia. He was fluent in English and French.
His ashes will be committed to the deep from HMCS Sackville, off the approaches to Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. A reception to celebrate his life will be hosted by his family in Toronto at the RCMI at a later date.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Dr. Deering and all the exceptional staff at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre LGSE, Carolyn Hutcheson, Kevin Reel, Dr. Nolan and Chaplin Wes Roberts.
For those wishing to remember Bob, donations to the Royal Canadian Navy Benevolent Fund , P.O. Box 505, Station B, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6, Canada, would be most appreciated.