280 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
Robert assisted many First Nations bands in developing economic projects,
including shopping centres, cruise ship terminals, mine developments
and so on. His clients have included members and stakeholders of the
Sechelt Indian Band, Campbell River Indian Band, Haida Enterprise Corporation,
Lower Nicola Indian Band, McLeod Indian Band, the Haida and Nisga’a
Village of Gingolx.
In the course of his work with the Nikkei Heritage Centre Society, Robert
became acquainted with its executive director, Cathy Makihara. Cathy
recalls that she was pleasantly surprised upon meeting Robert because she
had expected someone “much more conservative”. Whatever her perception
of a typical Davis/DLA Piper corporate solicitor, Robert did not fit the mold.
Most of his friends would have considered Robert to present “conservatively”
but always with a sense of humour. Cathy and Robert both worked
tirelessly on the Nikkei project. They eventually married and spent many
happy years together. Cathy also had an instrumental role throughout the
evolution and realization of the project. When Cathy’s sister Grace became
separated and was a single parent raising four children, two of those children,
the boys Emil and Matthew, moved in with Robert and Cathy primarily
and attended school and university while living with them. Grace and
Cathy both have noted the tremendous love and generosity that Robert
bestowed upon his nephews. In this respect, Robert was never a person to
say that he could not assist. I know stories of former high school classmates
who have had the benefit of legal assistance form DLA Piper at little or no
cost when they came to Robert with a problem. This humble man demonstrated
over and over an expansive and generous spirit. He is tremendously
missed by his wide range of friends and family.
Robert was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross by the Governor General
of Canada in recognition of his work on the Nikkei project. The award
was officially made on Canada Day in 2020, two weeks after his death.
Robert had been advised of the award and was honoured, humbled and
Michael Bolton, Q.C.