Robert (Bob) Troy Blair was born on March 11, 1930 in Brandon, MB. His first six years were spent in Alexander, MB, where his father and uncle operated a grocery store. In 1936, his family moved to Souris, MB, where his father ran a grocery store. Blair received his primary and high school education, with the exception of Grade 12, in Souris.
Blair remembers his school years in Souris as mainly happy years. He was involved with both piano and organ music lessons. he was never interested in physical sports with the exception of golf. World War II broke out in September of 1939. Souris became the site of #17 SFTS and home base for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Many of the service men came from England, Australia and New Zealand. Blair's mother always entertained at least two for dinner every Sunday. Rationing of sugar, tea and coffee, butter and meat became a way of life. Blair had the job every Saturday of pasting the ration coupons into booklets. It was also when he was in Grade 6, that Blair realized he was more attracted to boys than to girls. Perhaps it was because so many attractive airmen surrounded him!
In November of 1947, the Blair family relocated to Alexander where Bob Blair finished his Grade 11. This was not a good year due to bullying. In September of 1948, Blair moved to Winnipeg to attend United College for his Grade 12. Upon completion of Grade 12, Blair remained in Winnipeg until June 1950. he worked at a number of businesses - Gestetner, Eaton's Mail Order shoe department, Maple Leaf Milling, and the drug store in the Medical Arts Building. In September 1950, he entered Brandon College. Blair was very active in extra-curricular affairs while at Brandon College; particularly drama. Following his B.A. he enrolled in the Education Faculty, having decided to become a teacher.
Blair's teaching career spanned 34 years. All but one year was spent in the Brandon School Division. On his first day of teaching in the Division he met the man with whom he would spend the next 46 years. He was primarily a teacher of English and Music. A highlight of his career was exchange teaching in Sacramento, California in 1961. Orientation for exchange took place in August in Washington, D.C., where Blair had the opportunity to meet President J.F. Kennedy. He vividly recals the morning that JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. In September 1965, Blair assumed the principalship of Park School and in September of 1969, the same position at George Fitton School where re remained until his retirement in 1989. He was a member of the Brandon Picnipals' Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and servedas President of the Brandon Teachers' Association. Among his major accomplishments during his time as principal were the introduction of a centralized school library in both Park and George Fitton Schools and the integration of special needs students into regular classroom situations wherever possible. He was made a Life Member of the Manitoba Teachers' Society (Brandon) in June 1990. Following his retirement Blair worked as a Library Automation Consultant (1989-1993).
Blair also had numerous community involvements during his time in Brandon. he was active in the Brandon Little Theatre (Best Actor Award, Manitoba Drama Festival for One Act Plays in 1963), the Brandon Festival of the Arts, the Eckhardt-Gramatte National Music Competition, and Arm Industries to name a few.
Following the death of his partner in 2001, Blair moved to Saskatoon to live with a younger gay couple. He has been active in volunteerism: as an Ambassador for the Saskatoon Airport Authority, assistant with the Saskatoon Health Region's Immunization Clinics, information clerk for the Festival of Trees, data entry clerk for the Saskatoon Music Festival, on the Board of the Saskatoon Jazz Society, and Hospitality Coordinator for the Saskatoon Jazz Festival.
As of October 2013, Bob Blair continues to live in Saskatoon, SK.
Records were in Blair's possession until he donated them to the Mckee Archives on Homecoming weekend October 2013.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of two scrapbooks containing 145 photographs and ephemera (play and graduation programs, tickets, pins, newspaper clippings) documenting Bob Blair's days at Brandon College. Social events and extra-curricular activities are heavily featured in the two scrapbooks. Also included are graduation portraits for the Classes of 1951, 1952 and 1953. Of the 145 photographs all are black and white except for two photos of the Class of '53 reconvocation (May 1993), and one from the Class of '53 reunion (2003).