A Tribute to Robin Flockton

Tribute: Robin Flockton

“Rest not. Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time.” Goethe.

Several months ago I suggested the above quotation as being indicative of the ambitious drive of the man who contributed so much to Glengarry (and probably beyond). Glengarry is privileged in having had the numerous contributions left by the energies and talents of Robin Flockton whose sudden passing this late June has shocked us all, and in particular at Glengarry Historical Society.

Only a week ago six of us met with Robin Flockton as he impressed us with his well-considered draft plan and criteria toward the creation of an on-line version of Royce MacGillivray’s Dictionary of Glengarry Biography. After having convinced us of the advantages and necessity of this undertaking in a March 30, 2021 letter leading to an alfresco April 7th meeting, Robin had been successful in recruiting the appropriate technical expertise and an “Editorial Committee” along with other support in moving forward to realizing his goal.

At the September, 2020 meeting of the Glengarry History Board Robin Flockton appeared with a proposal to create a ‘YouTube’ video featuring Glengarry War Memorials to highlight in story, music and verse the rich history of Glengarry’s remarkable contribution to Canada’s military endeavours. Script, research, and coordination of professional drone and still photography was all to be done under the direction and guidance of Mr. Flockton. He engaged experienced artists and technicians in his promotional display of the Memorials throughout the Glengarry towns of Alexandria, Maxville, Dalkeith, Apple Hill, Martintown, Williamstown, and Lancaster. Despite the constraints posed by the pandemic “Glengarry Remembers” is expected to be completed by July 1, 2021. Robin was well acquainted with the subject after having played a major role in compiling the 2020 Royal Canadian Legion Glengarry War Memorial Catalogue.

The two recently-erected (2020) historical plaques in honour of Lt Col A G F Macdonald at the Garry Fen and at the Glengarry Cenotaph were also the result of the initiative work of Robin Flockton whereby he brought about the partnership of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 423 and North Glengarry Township in joining with the Glengarry Historical Society. He was the key person in procuring the funding and coordination of the three entities and it was he who arranged the casting of the signs in both official languages.

The book “Glengarry and the First World War” published in 2020 stands as a

commendable and comprehensive exploration of how this county was affected and its involvement in that major world struggle. The generous gesture to donate the sale proceeds of the book to the Glengarry County Archives points to another priority achievement.

Robin Flockton’s role as president of the Glengarry Historical Society was a time of challenges and major achievements. His unrelenting determination and resourcefulness led to the creation of the Glengarry County Archives in 2013. The Constitution By-laws of the Society were upgraded in 2013/2014. No tasks or obstacles ever seemed to daunt this man of action.

Robin Flockton withdrew from the presidency and from the Board of Directors in 2016 leaving it in a good state of affairs. Happily for us, he would re-visit to engage us with his always well-prepared talks at our GH Speakers events.

When, a number of months ago, I drew attention to the above-mentioned Goethe quote in reference to himself, Robin seemed somewhat flattered and responded that his motto was always to leave whatever space he came upon in a better state than he found it. Saying that he succeeded in doing so is certainly an understatement.

Robin will be sadly missed. But we will for a very long time admire and appreciate the benefits of his substantial legacy.

Richard Bleile (June, 2021)