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World champion curler from Red Deer passes away

Rob Armitage was 65 years old
Rob Armitage, who won the 2013 World Senior Curling Championships, passed away on Nov. 28. (Advocate file photo)

Rob Armitage, who won the 2013 World Senior Curling Championships, has passed away at the age of 65 years old after battling pancreatic cancer.

Growing up in Red Deer, Armitage was involved in 4H and played many different sports in addition to curling, including badminton, football, rugby and baseball.

His curling career spanned several decades. A major career highlight was his journey to becoming senior world champion.

In 2012, Armitage and his rink of Randy Ponich, Wilf Edgar and Keith Glover were Alberta Senior champions and represented the province at the 2012 Canadian Senior Curling Championships.

“We only lost one game at the Canadian Championships to Ontario. We won everything else,” Ponich recalled of the competition in Abbotsford, B.C.

After becoming national champions, the team went on to win the 2013 World Senior Curling Championships in Fredericton, N.B., going a perfect 11-0.

“Rob was a hell of a good player. It is a team sport – it takes the right combination of guys to win anything. But Rob has the best memory of anyone I know,” said Armitage.

“He could remember every game we ever played, end by end, for as long as I can remember. He was so good in that regards and in terms of strategy.”

Ponich and Armitage first met in the mid-1970s at a curling rink.

“We’ve been friends ever since. He was my best man at my wedding. We went through lots of stuff together. We curled and golfed a lot over the years,” he said.

“He was a hell of a good guy. He always liked to tell stories and everyone liked to listen to him. He was never short of conversation.”

Armitage qualified for provincial playdowns at some level in six different decades.

“He went to provincial competitions from the 1970s and on – 1979 was his first one and he never missed a decade after that,” said Ponich.

“Not many guys will ever do that. Most people are just happy to get to one provincial.”

Armitage also won the Masters Men’s Curling Provincials in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 – he took home the Canadian title in 2018 and 2019.

The Pidherney Centre – Home of Red Deer Curling page on Facebook posted about Armitage’s passing.

“Sadly we have lost one of our own, Rob Armitage, our deepest condolences go out to his family,” the Facebook post said.

“Rob was not only a member, but made a name for the Red Deer Curling Centre with the accolades that he and his team accomplished. He was highly regarded as a teammate, but more so as a friend. He will be greatly missed.”

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Red Deer on Monday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m.

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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