Batting a Century: AT 100, RIDLEY’S OLDEST ALUMNUS TALKS FAMILY, RETIREMENT—AND HOW HE’S STILL LIVING THE GOOD LIFE.
When it comes to longevity, who better to share its secrets than Ridley’s oldest living alumni? We caught up with Bob (Robert) Dunsmore ’37 and his son, Ross (Robert) ’67 over lunch, just as Bob was set to turn 100. The two are clearly good friends, quick to laugh and take what comes their way in stride. The affable pair came to campus Homecoming when Bob was celebrating his 80th and Ross, his 50th reunion. Presenting them with a framed photo from the event during our visit, we all agreed they’re likely the oldest living father and son of any independent school in North America. “I really don’t want the responsibility,” Bob quipped. “I’d rather not have to worry about maintaining it.” “Well, that’s entirely up to you,” his son joked back goodnaturedly. “We can quit whenever you want!” Born in 1919, Bob attended Ridley back in the 1930s, when H.G. Williams was Head of Lower School. Though he felt quite alone when he first showed up, an eight-year-old boy boarding for the first time, Bob soon forged bonds with other young Ridleians who were looking to find their footing in a foreign world. “I learned to adapt,” he remembers, nodding towards faculty like Terry Cronin who once taught him, and later, Ross. “and to develop a life for myself there.”
Bob would go on to school at King’s College and Dalhousie University, before working for the Interprovincial Pipeline. His career enabled him to travel, provided him with lifelong benefits, and put his each of his three children through school—Ross, along with sisters Cathy and Rosemary (you may know the latter, a long-standing actress on Stratford’s stage and from the popular Netflix series, Orphan Black). After he retired, Bob still worked for the company on certain projects and spent his summers in Nevis with his late wife, Ruth. The pair eventually purchased a beautiful property in nearby Montserrat.