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Robert Marentette: a true professional remembered by a friend and colleague

Marentette, who passed away in May, is remembered by his friend and frequent collaborator Graham Ospreay.


Robert Marentette

When I was informed about the passing of Robert (Bob) Marentette, I was at a true loss for words.

It seems like just yesterday when I was honoured to be asked by Canadian Security to present him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for celebrating his 50th year in professional security. It seems even shorter when I think that he had just retired from his role as the Director of Security and Building Operations at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH).

He was so looking forward to spending more time with all of his family in Windsor, Ont. And my deepest condolences go out to all of them.

Bob was a friend, a colleague and a brother to me. We had spent many years together working with CSIS Inc. (Canadian Society for Industrial Security) as volunteers. Without Bob I would not have survived three terms as its president and in fact the society would have come to an end long before it did if it were not for Mr. Marentette. During our time with the society and in private, he and I broke much bread together. We shared laughter until we were both in tears, as well as anger, joy and success. Bob was a true professional whom I had much admiration and respect for, and always will.

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We both shared a great professional love of art and often spoke for hours on end about the cultural property field and the pitfalls of international art crime. We lectured at colleges and universities together and worked with each other on several art theft and fraud cases. I always picked up the phone to consult with him on art forgery cases in my office — his knowledge and insight was always so valuable. We worked as a dynamic duo, Bob the Cultural Property Security Expert and me, the Forgery Analyst. He and his staff at the AGH were always open and generous of their time with me when I needed to compare the works of several international masters.

Bob was a dedicated mentor to many and his strong belief in private security education and guiding students along their chosen career path was his greatest attribute. Many are far better off in their professions because of knowing him and listening to his calm demeanor and security wisdom.

I have always held the belief that there are those who simply work in the private security profession and then there are those who work as professionals in the private security industry — Bob was the latter.

My love of fishing in the great outdoors was only matched, and probably even surpassed, by Bob’s. He loved spending time with his two boys (Jeff and Tony) on Manitoulin Island. I think that his fondest memories were those trips away with his sons. He loved his family, his grandchildren, his friends and yes, even his job.

When times were challenging, Bob and I would look at each other and laugh as we repeated the words,”All in all, I would rather be fishing.”

The art world, the private security profession and so many of us have lost a great man.


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