FONDLY REMEMBERED: Former TANS director Dave Roberts, who succumbed to lung cancer recently, was known for his sense of humour and wanted his death to mirror the way he lived his life - as a celebration.
TRURO, N.S. – Family, friends and co-workers paid their last respects to former Truckers Association of Nova Scotia (TANS) executive director Dave Roberts last month.
Roberts died Apr. 11 after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 46.
“We knew this was coming,” said TANS vice chair Bill Dowe.
“But we really didn’t think it was going to come quite this quickly.”
Roberts died just a few weeks after it was announced he would be resigning from his position at TANS because of health problems.
“I know he regretted having to step down, he missed the association, he missed the people that he interacted with and I think that probably bothered him as much as anything,” Dowe said.
When the time came for his memorial, Roberts, known for his sense of humour, wanted his death to mirror the way he lived life – as a celebration.
“‘When the time comes that I have to go, I don’t want people standing around moping and crying over me. I want to go out with a party,'” Dowe remembers Roberts telling him.
At the funeral, a touching letter written by Roberts shortly before he died was read to those in attendance.
“It was an acknowledgement of what had happened to him, being struck down with cancer,” Dowe said.
“He mentioned the support and well wishes from family and friends and acquaintances from far and wide.
“It wasn’t bitter, it wasn’t angry, saying ‘Why me?’ It was an acknowledgement of what he had to deal with. He said that it wasn’t the end that bothered him, it was making sure he lived every day until the end and lived each one to the fullest.”
His trademark sense of humour still came shining through in the last line of the letter, which read: “And let’s hope Hockey Night in Canada comes back soon.”
Roberts joined the TANS team in 1995 with only limited knowledge of the trucking industry.
In time, his existing skills were honed to make him an effective and vital member of the team, handling TANS’ day-to-day operations and liaising with the government and the public works.
He eventually became known as the guy who knew everybody in the industry.
“He was a wealth of information,” Dowe said.
“He seemed to store as much stuff in his head as he did in his computer.”
Dowe said the possibility of an annual award in Roberts’ honour has been discussed though the plans are still in their early stages.
Roberts is survived by his wife Ruby and his daughters Jade, 9, and Lena, 6.