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Firefighter leaves legacy of service to Guelph community

In this edition of Journeys, we look at the legacy left by longtime Guelph firefighter, Bob Regimbald, who passed away peacefully at Guelph General Hospital on July 15

Robert ‘Bob’ Joseph Regimbald was devoted to his family and his community.

Throughout his life, he did all he could to protect them.

Regimbald passed away peacefully at Guelph General Hospital on July 15, in his 77th year.

Employed by the Guelph Fire Department for 30 years, Regimbald, was known as ‘Reggie” by fellow firefighters.

“Reggie and I started the same day with the 18 others at Staff Station #3. He and I were posted together and became good friends,” said fellow firefighter, Bob Wells.

“Bob was great firefighter and a fine family man. We had many good times together, on and off the job.”

Regimbald was hired as a Guelph professional probationary firefighter in September 1976, and promoted to captain in June 2001.

“My dad was a very likeable person. The guys at the hall were like a second family. It was a brotherhood,” said Regimbald’s son Marc.

“I know firefighters see a lot of terrible things, but Dad never took any of that stuff home.”

Deputy chief Steven Goode says Regimbald was dedicated and proud to serve the Guelph community.

“He was also a plumber, he loved fishing and he made sure to stay connected with the fire department after his retirement in 2007,” Goode said.

Wells said he shared many good times with his friend.

“We skied, played ball and hockey, as well as did various jobs together. He was a fun and funny guy to be around,” Wells said.

“Although we drifted apart over the years, with platoon transfers and promotions, we would always catch up when we crossed paths. It's so sad. He has gone too soon."

Marc, the oldest of four sons, says he remembers many good times watching his father play hockey with his firefighter pals.

“A couple of them were fishing buddies. A few of them also had an annual ski trip to Mont Tremblant,” Marc said.

At home, Regimbald was known as a loving husband and father.

Regimblad was the beloved husband of Susan, and father to Marc, Michael, Matthieu and Eric. He was also the loving 'pépère' to his grandchildren Josh, Lee, Alexander, Isabelle, Abbigail, Violet, Baxter, and Holden.

Marc says that after retirement, was a difficult time for his father.

“He missed the close camaraderie,” Marc said.

“But after dad retired, he had a regular breakfast club with friends, not just firefighters. It started at Town and Country, Jolly's before it closed, then Angel's Diner, and then it was Stacked Pancake House. I would sometimes get the chance to join him."

Marc says it was always a fun atmosphere getting together with old friends.

“The regular servers got to know dad, and they'd joke around. When he'd sit down at a table, it was common to hear "the usual Bob?" Which was normally two eggs over easy, hash browns, brown toast, and black coffee,” Marc said.

“My son Josh had more opportunities to join him than I did in the last few years when he was able to drive. Josh usually came home with funny stories about things he'd heard in the conversation and banter between the breakfast club members.”

To ‘protect and serve’ was more than a slogan for Regimbald. Whether at work or at home, he was proud to live it everyday.

“He saw a lot. I'd get little tidbits here and there. As an example, when I considered getting my motorcycle license, he urged me not to because, as he put it, "he'd picked up too many motorcycle riders in pieces" at accident scenes. He used small quips like that to get his point across without getting into details,” Marc said.

“Although I still think about doing it, I still haven't gotten my M1 because I still hear my dad in my head. He wanted to keep his sons safe.”