Bob was born in England to Andrea and WC (DFC) Robert H. Niven. His father, a Canadian pilot serving with the RAF, was killed in action three months before Bob was born. In 1946, Bob and his mother travelled to Calgary to meet his grandparents and ended up settling in Calgary.
Bob attended Central High School, then the University of Alberta where he received a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 1964. After a short time working at a consulting firm in Vancouver, Bob went back to university to get his M.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1967.
An entrepreneur at heart, Bob’s working career spanned 45 years in the oil and gas industry. Starting as a Gas Engineer with Shell Canada, he went on to found and head up several companies: Rohloff Niven Consulting Engineers, Sagebrush Resources and Esprit Resources to name a few. His work experience spanned the globe, including seven years in Russia.
Bob was a member of the Calgary Booster Club and played a key role in the success of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. For twelve years he devoted endless volunteer hours to the Olympics, firstly as President of the Bid Committee, then six years as Vice Chairman of OCO ’88, planning and staging the Games. During the Olympic Games he served as Mayor of the Calgary Athlete’s Village. As the chairman of CODA (now Winsport), he was instrumental in the creation of a foundation for sport for future athletes, using the facilities and programs developed from the Calgary Games. Canada Olympic Park named its high-performance training facility in his honour, the “Bob Niven Training Centre”. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Active in both community and business affairs, Bob served as a director for many sports organizations. He was an Honorary Life Director of the Calgary Booster Club and Winsport Canada, a director of the Saddledome Foundation and Canadian Olympic Association, and was recognized three times for outstanding service to the Province of Alberta.
Bob had an adventurous spirit and a positive, can-do attitude. He was an avid sailor, pilot and motorcycle rider whose motto was “The Sea, The Sky and The Open Road”.