Roland Armitage
Roland Armitage

Obituary of Roland M. Armitage

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ARMITAGE, Roland (Roly) Montgomery

Passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at the age of 99 at the Perley Rideau Veterans Residence, Ottawa, Ontario.

He was born February 8, 1925 at the family homestead in South March, Ontario.

Predeceased by his parents Godfrey and Joan (Foot) Armitage.  Also predeceased by his siblings and their spouses, Maxwell (WW2), Robin (Lu), William (Shirley), Frank (Kay), June Pye (Brian), and Peggy Scott (George).  He is survived by his brother Kingsley (Heather).

Roly was married to Mary Spearman in June, 1947, who passed away in 1985, and is the much loved father of Maxwell, Ann Webster (Robert), Blake (deceased 1981), and Donald (Glenda).  Special grandfather of Shaun Armitage (Shannon), Emily and Margaret Armitage, and great-grandfather of Blake and Katie Armitage.

He was predeceased by son-in-law Wayne Shepherd (1995), and twin great-granddaughters, Sarah and Brooke Armitage (2002).

He is also predeceased by his second wife, Karen Flahven (2013).

He will be fondly remembered by daughters-in-law Mary Lou Carrier-Ellis, Patti Sheppard-Armitage, and Mary Nelson, his god-daughter niece Joanne Pye-Milligan, his brother-in-law George Spearman (Helen), the Spearman family, and many nieces and nephews, in particular Kelly, Paul and Cassidy Atkins, and Jeff and Sheila Armitage.

Roly joined the army at the age of 17 (before he was officially eligible), and served in World War II in the 3rd Medium Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day in June 1944, and participated in the Battle of Normandy through to the Liberation of Holland in 1945.  After the war, he completed his high school, then attended Guelph Veterinarian College.  He graduated in 1951, and set up his veterinary practice in Shawville, Quebec shortly thereafter until moving to Dunrobin, Ontario in 1968, where he was a Standardbred owner, breeder and manager of Armstead Farms, along with sons Blake and Donald.

His many accolades and accomplishments include Citizen of the Year in Shawville in 1960, race track veterinarian at Connaught Park in Aylmer, Quebec, named Veterinarian of the Year by the Ontario Veterinary Association (1982), President of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society (1972 to 1974), and the Canadian Trotting Association (1974 to 1980), inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (1999), Mayor of West Carleton (1990 to 1994) (with the Community Complex named after him), General Manager of Rideau Carleton Raceway (1981 to 1990), inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame (2000), recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2000), Key to the City of Ottawa (2006), Order of Ottawa (2019), Order of Ontario (2022), General Manager of Carp Airport for nine years (with Terminal named after him), and appointed Honorary Lifetime Member of OXA Ottawa representing Pinecrest Cemetery (2023).

Roly was author of a trilogy of books reflecting on his life as a proud war veteran, a dedicated veterinarian and his extensive knowledge of horses, in particular the sport of harness racing.

His culinary talents were often contenders at the fall Carp Fair, where he entered his homemade jellies and pickles.

He enjoyed solving the daily Jumble puzzle with daughter Ann by email or phone.  He did very well, even though he considered himself the world’s worst speller!

Roly was a strong community supporter, having contributed to the development of the Carp Farmers Market, in addition to the West Carleton War Memorial Project Committee with the successful completion of a Carp Cenotaph in order to honour the residents of West Carleton and March Townships who served and died during the First and Second World Wars.

Roly will be fondly remembered by his family and many, many friends (locally, and world-wide) for his quick wit and great sense of humour, his warm smile, his MANY stories, his immense generosity, and his love of people.  He loved social get-togethers with family and friends.  We always said he couldn’t stand his own company!

He made numerous trips to Normandy, France and Holland for the post-war commemorative celebrations, the most recent being the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in June, 2019, and the 79th Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland in May, 2023.  He was very disappointed to miss out on the 80th Anniversary ceremonies in Normandy, France this past June, 2024 due to ill health.

Roly lived in his home in Dunrobin until the age of 98, where he enjoyed country living, his apple trees, all the birds and animals, visiting the horses next door at his son Donald’s stable, and his many visitors.  In October, 2023, he moved to the Perley Rideau Veterans Residence.  He loved it there, and considered it his new home very quickly.  He loved all the many activities available, and especially the benefit of the pub, where he could share a drink with friends and family.  He and his family are very appreciative of the care he received from the wonderful staff there (he loved them, and they loved him).

A special thank you to his PSWs who cared for him at home, Allan Reid and Carl Manning, his noon helper and “soup maker”, Susan Jinarak, his favourite PSW, Barbara Curvan, and Dr. Cuong Ngo-Minh at Perley Health.

The world won’t be the same without him in it.  As Dad often said, “That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles”.

A celebration of life will be at the Highland Park Funeral Home, Carp, Ontario on Saturday, July 13th, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  Private interment will be at the Anglican Church Cemetery, South March, Ontario alongside his beloved Mary, and Blake, in addition to Noordwijk, The Netherlands.



Celebration Gathering

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, July 13, 2024
Highland Park
2037 McGee Side Rd
Carp, Ontario, Canada
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