Roland Hammerstedt (Rollie)
Friday, July 21
Hammerstedt, Roland — Rollie passed away peacefully after a hard fought battle with cancer on Friday, July 21, 2017, at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital. He is survived by his wife Shirley, and stepchildren Wendy Cook, Karen Iwanoczko (Doug), Carla Northcote-Brewer (Reg), Paula Zeaton (Lawrence) and Wayne Basso (Darlene), all his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and Dawn Basso and family. He will also be missed by Shirley’s children Craig (Janet), Michael (Leanne) and their families, his many friends and aviation peers across Canada.
Rollie was born in Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba, on November 5, 1931 to Bill (Wilhelm) and Helga Hammerstedt. He was predeceased by his brother Murray, his son Derek, and first wife Anne.
Rollie marked many lives with his unfailing wit and wisdom. He was an entrepreneur, accomplished airplane mechanic and overall master of trades. Many have said that their planes never flew the same once Rollie retired. We’re not sure if this “retirement” every actually happened, although there’s record that he retired from Redditt Aviation in 1999.
It was his last adventure, working and forging incredible friendships with Don Wieben and the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society team, that would mark Rollie’s final years. The project of restoring a Canso, a large amphibian aircraft built for submarine spotting during the Second World War, would draw on his encyclopedic knowledge about aircraft, as well as his tools and time. The Canso gang said that the project would never have been completed without Rollie’s help, but it was finished earlier this year. Rollie was too ill with throat cancer to attend when the plane made its first flight in sixteen years this past July but his spirit was definitely there. After the flight. Don and some of the team brought memorabilia and their gratitude to Rollie at his Kenora home. It was an amazing time as they shared stories and got to see the old hanger that was so much a part of Rollie’s life in Redditt.
Soon after, Rollie was admitted to Kenora Hospital where he died a few weeks later. His pain ended, and his work done. The family extends heartfelt thanks to the hospital staff for their kindness and care, and to the many friends, young and old, who stopped in for visits.
According to Rollie’s wishes, a private family graveside service will be held.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice.
It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.
Alcock Funeral Home & Cremation Services (Highway 17 West Keewatin) in care of arrangements, 547-6000.