Friends remember life of Robert Hannah 

Energetic, enthusiastic 21-year-old died Sept. 21

Submitted by Tamara Renwick

Robert James Hannah (1981-2002)

Robert Hannah first arrived in Whistler from West Vancouver in October 2001.

He first made his presence felt at the Longhorn, where he worked from his arrival in Whistler through the ski season. Once the ski season was over and snowboarding no longer took up his days, he began to work construction on a house in Blueberry Hill.

During that time Rob met his girlfriend, Claire Green, at the Levi’s Store, where he also worked part-time. He left Levi’s to find work at the Westin Hotel as he made plans to travel.

Rob’s plans were never ending. He was looking forward to making a heli-ski trip that he had won in a draw the previous season. Simultaneously, he planned to move to Rossland to ski, Vancouver to take a photography course, and London, England, to travel with Claire.

September 21st marked the death of our angel.

Claire and Rob were driving across the country to Claire’s home in Ontario to pick up some of her belonging. As they were passing through Saskatchewan, they were involved in a fatal car crash.

Claire survived and is now recuperating with her brother’s family in Alberta before returning to Whistler. She sustained a compression fracture in her back, as well as a lacerated liver, a broken nose, and other bruising. She expects to be able return to Whistler in January.

Rob’s love for the outdoors and adventure was only paralleled by his love for life. He touched everyone he met and will be sorely missed.

His funeral was held in West Vancouver on Oct. 3, and four carloads of his Whistler friends made the trip to say goodbye.

The following eulogy was written by Claire.

"My first thought upon meeting him was that he was perhaps another one of God’s miracles, not in any way ordinary. Rob was neither ordinarily nice nor ordinarily friendly, but rather genuine in all aspects of his personality. He was genuinely impulsive, stubborn, and free.

He continually had a new plan, or a new direction. He would dream a new dream every day. For those trying to keep up with Robbie’s endless and overpowering outpouring of ideas, schemes and fairy tale expectations, it was tiring. But Rob was excitable and full of energy, and he would tire anyone. He even wore himself out.

I guess I was like him in that I believed every one of his ideas were attainable, and if not in this lifetime, then maybe in the next. That’s why I loved him. No amount of dreaming could quench his desire to achieve, succeed, and see the world. There was no convincing him it could not one day all come true.

It was this desire and passion that compelled him to take photographs of the world in which he lived, with an eye that was genuinely compassionate. He wished us to see the world as he saw it, filled with beauty and wonder. The kind of wonder most of us lose in our childhood he held onto through the lens of his camera.

It was this wonder that brought him from Vancouver to the mountains of Whistler, a first step which provided only a small taste of what he longed for. This curiosity is what would have found him living in London, England after the New Year, and then on to South America. With his camera he planned to document all that he saw. It was this curiosity which frustrated all of us, I'm sure, and what made us love him, I know. We wanted to see a bit more of him before he ran off.

I'm sure there were those who tittered and laughed at the notion of Rob thinking he could do whatever he wanted, but I had a feeling about him. I believe he would have accomplished anything he set his mind to. For Rob, each day was so precious. He lived each one as if it were his last, or so he tried, until his last. If I could bring him back I would but I can't, so I'll hold on to what we had. We had an angel on our hands, if only for a while. I love you. We all love you."

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, only more love. – Mother Theresa

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