Cover photo for Robert (Bob) Allan Webster's Obituary
Robert (Bob) Allan Webster Profile Photo

Robert (Bob) Allan Webster

December 5, 1955 — October 3, 2023


With sadness, we announce the passing of Robert Allan (Bob) Webster.  Bob died quietly with dear friends by his side on October 3, 2023.

Born and raised in St. Catharines and the surrounding Niagara Region, Bob was somewhat of a nomad.  He lived in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Hamilton, Montreal and finally Ottawa where his life has come to an end.

His mother’s favourite, Bob was the second of seven children.  He is survived by his siblings Billy, Kathy, Karen, Danny, Dougie and David, siblings-in-law, nieces, and nephews, all dear to him.  He will be missed by his greatly cherished friends Jim and Piet, and by dear friends Blair, Nancy, and Dennis. Bob will be remembered, perhaps even fondly, by his former colleagues at the Charities Directorate-CRA, the body that employed him for the longest, ironically since charity was one of his many nemeses.  Bob’s friends who “left the building” before him, were ever in his memory, especially Alan Alvare.

Bob spent his life getting out from under the control of his father, the church, and societal expectations in general.  Life was a heroic struggle to be out, to be himself, and to make his own choices. Irascible yet with a huge capacity for joy and gratitude, latterly Bob focused more on trying to be nicer to people.

Bob’s coming out process began in high school in the early 1970s and climaxed in 1988 when, reporting on his bid for the NDP nomination in Vancouver Centre, the Toronto Star described him as a “publicly proclaimed homosexual”.  A life-long activist, Bob was committed to improving society so that it would be better for the people he loved.  Gay rights, income inequality and the protection of our democracy were his priorities.  His first job was a union job at General Motors.  He carried the lead banner “Job Security A Gay Right” in his first protest in 1977. In 1978, he helped organize the protest of Anita Bryant’s visit to Toronto. Romans II was more than just a chapter in the Bible for Bob.  It was the name of the establishment where he was arrested as a “found-in” in the Toronto Bathhouse Raids of 1981, giving him first-hand experience of the state’s abuse of power. Also, in 1981 Bob aka Sister Exposia joined the Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Later in the 80s, Bob joined the fight for affordable housing. He worked in HIV/AIDS education in the early 90s. Bob remained committed to social justice to the very end.

Fabulous but flawed, Bob wrung as many drops out of life as he could.  Availing himself of MAiD, he left this life on his own terms just as he lived it.  A virtual celebration of life will be held at a later date.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Robert (Bob) Allan Webster, please visit our flower store.


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