His friends called him Gump
Robert (Bob) Gmelin 1951-2023

His friends called him Gump

It was on January 30th that my youngest brother called me and said “did you hear Bob Gmelin died?”  I hadn’t. He saw a post by Peter Pisarchuk on Facebook. 

I have sad news to pass on to the “Our Preston Commuity”

On Saturday January 28th my friend Sergeant  Bob Gmelin  had passed away at the age of 71.

Bob moved out to British Columbia for a scenery change.

Many in the Preston Community knew the Gmelin surname , especially if your journeyed in or by their Flower Shop on Fountain St. South.

Bob although a couple of years older than myself attended Preston High School where Bob enjoyed wrestling on the high school team.

Bob was heavily involved in scouting . He was involved in running the troop out of Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church where along with his family he attended.

Bob became a Kitchener Police Officer and then continued with Waterloo Regional Police until his retirement.

I was fortunate to work with Bob in Kitchener and Cambridge.

We had good times on and off duty.

I’m not aware of any arrangements regarding Bob’s burial.

Gone now but not Forgotten by myself and others.

Then another post more recently appeared:

A little while back I wanted the Our Police Community to beware of the loss of Bob Gmelin .

The first time I met Bob was at Preston High School. I was grade 9 and joined the school wrestling team. Bob was a few years older than me and was also wrestling competitively on the school team.

Later on I worked with Bob policing in Kitchener and Cambridge and when he was promoted Bob became my platoon sergeant.

After Bob retired he remained in the Preston area for a while and decided to purchase a motorhome travel to British Columbia and eventually heading down to Mexico.

I was told this plan was made just pre COVID time and the border was closed into United States.

Bob remained in British Columbia and had such a great time , meeting new friends and enjoying the scenery out west.

I’m told that Bob wished upon his death to be cremated with his ashes spread into the Fraser River

Over the years had many great times and memories of Bob both in and off our working profession.

Was nice to hear of  what Bob’s  final departure choice request was,  and wanted others in the group to be aware as well.

Thank you Peter Pisarchuk for these posts.

Robert (Bob) Gmelin was the last surviving child of Allen and Bertha Gmelin. Bob was predeceased by both parents and his siblings Kathryn, Margaret, Carl and Deedee.

Bob’s dad, Allen and my grandmother were brother and sister. So, I guess that made us something like 2nd cousins. 

If my memory is correct Bob was born in the fall (Septmeber or October) so I was older by 7 or 8 months.

As kids we had many good times fishing in the speed river behind their place on Fountain Street or my Grandmother’s place right next door. I remember some unpleasant times as well, like getting our tonsils out the same day and being put in the same room in the hospital. In those days you were in the hospital 2 or 3 days and your parents were not allowed to come and visit because it might upset the children too much when there parents left them – again. 

As mentioned in Peter’s posts, copied above, Bob was on the high school wrestling teams. What most people didn’t know, the tough guy couldn’t stand being tickled. 

Bob was very active in the scouting movement at 7th Preston (later 20th Cambridge) I remember one year he gave up a week of his vacation and together we took a number of scouts camping in Timmins Ontario. Bob new somebody, who new somebody, who could get us access to a lumber forest area. The boys had a chance under Bob’s guidance to make plaster casts of moose tracks and he arranged a tour of the lumber saw mill where the scouts got to see trees stripped of bark and cut into lumber. 

Bob was full of mischief and loved practical jokes. They often got him in to hot water but for the most part they were harmless. 

Our scouts were fortunate enough to wear the old fashioned Stetsons that scouts used to wear. This was made possible because Bob contacted Bilmore Hat in Guelph and arranged to buy the seconds of the Stetsons they made for the RCMP.  

Another group in Toronto wanted to know if Bob could get them Stetsons. So, I got a phone call one November afternoon asking if I wanted to go for a drive while he picked up the Stetsons in Guelph and delivered them to the other scout leader in Toronto. We got the Stetsons and drove to Toronto but the lines of communication had broken down and the other scouter wasn’t available. Bob knew of a great restaurant in China Town so there was no point in wasting a drive to Toronto, we’d go for dinner. Bob was a regional police officer at the time and I was an identification technician with the force. We both happened to have a four day weekend that week. 

During dinner Bob suggested we drive to Florida, mail our parents a card and drive home. I of course said “no way.” Then he suggested we go to Cleveland to visit his sister Margie for the weekend. Again there was no way. 

Bob excused himself to use the men’s room and when he returned to the table he had that look on his face. With that silly grin on his face he said “guess who I just phoned?” I had no clue.  “Your mom – COLLECT..  I said ‘Hi Aunt Shirley, do you know where we are?” My mother knew we had gone to Toronto, but then Bob says “know where we’re going? Cleveland. See you Monday.” and he hung up on her. 

On the left Bob’s mom Bertha Gmelin, Bob on the right and my brother Wayne serving the wine.


It turned out it was the American Thanksgiving weekend and it was Black Friday. I won’t go into everything that happened that weekend but suffice it to say it was an adventure. Mainly because we had forgot all about the boxes of Stetson in the back of the station wagon. We had some explaining to do trying to get back into Canada. 

My mother loved Christmas. Christmas was all about family. But then there was “Boxing Day” and it was all about friends and family. There were usually 7 of us for Christmas dinner in those days to consume the usual turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Boxing day the dining room table had to be dismantled and taken to the rec. room where there was enough room to open it to its full length. Then a card table was added to one end to make room for the gang. 

Mom invited the Gmelin’s which included Allen, Bertha, Deedee and Bob as well as the Hewer’s (Frank, Mary and Patty). Mom’s brother and sister in law often stayed over for boxing day and dinner was for 14. Everyone had enough turkey the day before so the menu for boxing day was always ham, scalloped potatoes, at least 2 vegetables, jello salads, and on and on. 

For those that don’t know who these people are, all you really need to know is Frank was Inspector Frank Hewer. The ritual for the day usually involved Inspector Hewer’s update on the number of cruisers Gmelin had damaged in the previous year, followed by Bob trying to explain his way out of the doghouse. Then in Frank’s deep voice the whole household would hear something like ‘KEEP IT UP GMELIN AND YOU’LL BE WALKING THE BEAT IN DORKING.”

Bob did his share of good and he had a lot of fun doing it. It was so much better if he could get your goat doing it. 

Bob may have a halo and wings now, but knowing Bob they won’t be white for very long. 

Rest in peace cuz. 


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