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Roland Edmund John Alexander

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Roland Edmund John Alexander

May 26, 1930 - November 7, 2022

ALEXANDER, Roland Edmund John – was born on May 26th, 1930 to Bruce Cartwright and Florence Evelyn (nee Ferris) Alexander in Kingston, Ontario. The family soon moved to Toronto where younger brother Cary (b. 1933, d. 1992) was born. Rolly died on November 7th, 2022, aged 92, due to complications from bladder cancer.
Rolly was an industrious kid who earned money from a paper route, delivering packages, and cleaning offices. He bought many comic books, sports cards, and loved a good hamburger or meat pie. He bought a coal shovel for $2 in the 1944 snow storm in Toronto and made this amount back and more that afternoon. His carpentry skills began to grow from such things as building balsa wood gliders and furniture out of orange crates.
As a young man he worked for T. Eaton & Co. and then for Toronto Hydro. As a mature student he studied at Ryerson Institute of Technology as it was called then for carpentry and later for architectural drafting. Also around this time a cousin introduced him to the Don Rowing Club where he would ride his Royal Enfield motorcycle to and from practice, work, home, and other places.
In 1956 while working at Camp Couchiching he met the love of his life in Catherine Conlon and the couple were married in 1957. They shared a love of good food, literature, classical music, and many family trips to visit friends and experience interesting places. The Alexanders had David Bruce in 1962 and Lucas Roland in 1964 and through a variety of sports, culture, and the outdoors instilled in them a sense of curiosity, creativity, and a love of nature.
Rolly worked for Project Planning Associates Ltd., at offices in Toronto and Montreal, where he supported fort restoration projects across Canada such as Louisbourg and Fort Edmonton, developments around a growing Toronto like Meadowvale and Don Mills, and landscaping projects such as Centre Island, Guelph University, Upper Canada Pioneer Village, and Expo ’67.
Outside the workday he was always ‘experimenting’, writing in his journal (a practice he did up until weeks before passing), and following the markets. He helped his parents open The Bed Post store in North York and designed an accessible house for his cousin Verla Barclay in Kingston who was stricken with polio. Later in his career he worked for a few architecture firms building houses, oversaw the restoration of Fort William in Thunder Bay, and many jobs as a design/build contractor for A.E. Wood and Sons Ltd.
In the 90s David (Krystie) had Jacob and Owen, and Lucas (Belinda) had Bella whom grampa adored. He was uncle to Roxalana, Adriana (d. 2015), and Stefan; and Jody and Jennifer. In 1998 Cathy and Rolly moved to Roseneath Landing on the shores of Rice Lake to be closer to the family forest they bought in 1982 where they had planned to build a house. Instead they got involved in Cobourg Probus, golfing, curling, bowling, plus meeting and travelling with new friends and reconnecting with family, so the need to build on ‘the property’ faded. His last project was as a volunteer: designing the Roseneath 4-Corner garden in 2007. The last handful of years saw Rolly increasingly devote his time to care for Cathy as her Alzheimer’s has now taken her to live at Extendicare in Cobourg.
All through his life Rolly had a stoicism and patience about him and his self-effacing manner, together with his need for solitude, and a desire for a quieter, calmer lifestyle made him an interesting friend. In 2018 he found he had bladder cancer. Things turned in the last few months and his condition became palliative, but it did not take his mind which was all there up until he died. Surrounded by his three grandchildren and having been visited by many friends and family he passed peacefully at Ed’s House hospice in Cobourg after a being there for 10 days. At Ed’s House when first asked if he was anxious or fearful of dying he said was curious. A typical Rolly answer.
Donations are most welcome for Ed’s House Northumberland Hospice Care Centre in Cobourg where the staff there were welcoming, caring, and simply excellent. A drop in will be held by the family for friends and neighbours at the house in Roseneath on the afternoon of November 20th and a celebration of good, long life is planned for the spring.
Anyone who wants to reach out they are welcome to contact David Alexander at 905-329-6026 or by email at

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Glenys and David Ward - November 19, 2022 DONATION

A Memorial Donation has been made to the following charity:

Ed's House Northumberland Hospice Care Centre

Glenys and David Ward - November 19, 2022

We will miss our lunches and dinners together. It has been a wonderful experience knowing Roland and we remember especially our trip with Rolly and Cathy to Russia and the Hermitage. Deepest condolences to you David and your family and to Lucas and his family.

kenneth stoker - November 17, 2022

I met Rolly in the early 2000's when he approached me for golf lessons for his wife Cathy. An excellent and interesting conversationalist, Rolland was person of integrity, honesty and modest of his many achievements, I treasured our time together and will miss his relaxed and laid back energy. Rest in Peace.

Ross Smith - November 17, 2022

David and Lucas I will miss my weekly golf game with Rolly and the trips to and from the golf course Our condolences to you and the family Ross/Vicky Smith

Ross Smith - November 17, 2022

David and Lucas I will miss my weekly golf game with Rolly and the trips to and from the golf course Our condolences to you and the family Ross/Vicky Smith

Peter Michael Scott - November 17, 2022

So sorry to hear about the passing of your father, David. Our prayers are with him.

Sandy and Hugh Graham - November 16, 2022

A wonderful tribute to your father. We are thinking of you.

Anne Parker - November 14, 2022

My condolences to the family in the passing of Roland. I had the privilege of meeting him through our work on the Roseneath Revitalization Volunteer Committee for many years. He was a true gentleman who contributed his time, effort and experiences to help make our village a better place. RIP

JoAnn Kropf-Hedley - November 13, 2022

What a beautiful tribute . You have my sorrows.