In Memory of




Obituary for Robert Wallace Showman

April 13, 1942 (Ottawa) - June 29, 2020 (Ottawa)

Bob died at home peacefully and with dignity of metastatic prostate cancer after a heroic eight year fight. Preceded in death by his father, Wallace Huston Showman, mother Eva Hope McMahon, and sister Lois Hope MacDonald, he was the beloved husband of Dinah, the dearest dad to John Robert (Georgina Blanchard) of Toronto and to George William (Esther Cheung) of Brooklyn, the dearly loved grandfather to Arthur and Simon of Toronto and Madeline and Anne of Brooklyn especially for his delightful readings of Winnie the Pooh. He was much admired and well loved by nieces, nephews and cousins in Canada, the USA, and Australia, by his sister- and brother-in-law in Chicago and by his friends in many countries.

Bob was the modern renaissance man - a musician of note (award-winning pianist and flutist), a linguist, historian, economist, professional translator, diplomat, world traveler, adventurer, raconteur and a true gentleman. He was also a very engaging and generous friend whose wit, repartee and world famous martinis will be greatly missed. He and Dinah wintered for years on the island paradise of Kauai where the Showman triathlon came into being - a run on Hanalei Beach, an ocean swim, a martini on the lanai. His joie de vivre was a continuing tonic for friends and family.

He had a great and lifelong interest in Latin America, in particular Argentina, Brazil and Chile. He felt a tremendous affection for Rio and always considered himself a “carioca” at heart. He first went to Rio in 1962 when still a student at Trinity College, U of T, where he taught English to students only a few years younger than he. They in turn helped him to perfect his Portuguese, to samba and to celebrate with abandon Brazil’s second World Cup win in soccer. When he graduated from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1965 he and a Fletcher chum returned to Brazil with two other potential movie-makers to produce a film “The Role of the Armed Forces in the Political and Economic Life of Brazil” which was bought by the CBC.

His career included employment with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, DC, an IDB assignment to Buenos Aires, the Canadian Department of Finance, Canadian diplomatic postings to Washington, the OECD in Paris, the Canadian Embassy in Bonn, West Germany and a position on Canada’s Business Council on National Issues.

Bob enthusiastically embraced the culture of every country he lived in and became fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and German. When he left the federal government 27 years ago, he started a highly productive business translating financial documents for international agencies. As he could work anywhere in the world via internet, he and Dinah were often in Europe, Mexico, South America, and Hawaii feeling at home everywhere, especially at their own historic Narbonne, France apartment where many friends and family also spent “bons moments”.

A musical celebration of his life will take place at a later date. His unique spirit lives on.