Bob Rumball, Canadian pastor and deaf rights advocate, Died at 86

Reverend Robert L. “Bob” Rumball was born on October 2, 1929, and died on June 1, 2016.

He was a pastor and advocate for the deaf and those with special needs.

Following studying at University of Toronto, Rumball began his career as a football player, playing at the varsity level before playing professionally for the Canadian Football League in the position of half-back for the Ottawa Rough Riders.

When he had four seasons in Ottawa, he was traded to Toronto where he played one season for the Argonauts.

In this time, he attended Northern Baptist Seminary in Chicago in the off seasons, and preached on Sundays at various churches.

Bob was introduced to Deaf culture while preaching at the Evangelical Church of the Deaf, located at the time in downtown Toronto, and began a lifetime of advocacy.

Rumball learned American Sign Language to communicate with Toronto’s Deaf population, and give their needs a voice.

After realizing they needed a place of their own, Rumball purchased land in 1960 to establish the Ontario Camp of the Deaf in 1960, and opened the Ontario Community Centre for the Deaf (now called the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf) in 1979.

And The Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf houses numerous programs and services, including the Evangelical Church of the Deaf, a preschool, a long-term care home, and the Ontario Association for the Deaf.

Now, the centre is managed by his son, Derek Rumball.

Rumball work has been recognized with many honours, including the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada, and appointment as a Citizenship Court Judge.

He died in Parry Sound Ontario.

Bob Rumball passed away at 86 years old.