Robert Popple was born in 1941 and raised in Penetanguishene, Ontario. He attended Midland-Penetanguishene District High School, Class of '59. He obtained a B.Sc. from Queen’s University in 1963 in Engineering Physics and went on to a 32-year career with the former Ontario Hydro in their nuclear-electric generation programme. On retirement in 1996, he formed his own consulting firm - RTP Associates Inc. - that specializes in nuclear power plant performance assessment.
In May, 2015, Mr. Popple met Lawrence Fox and transformed Fox's remembrances of his MI-6 exploits, written down not long after they occurred, into a riveting narrative on his five missions behind the Iron Curtian as an espionage courier in the 1950s and 1960s. His first mission was into Budapest amid fierce action in November, 1956, only hours after the Russians had moved 1000 tanks into the city; gunfire continued as he and his mission partner made their way out of the country, the Russians in hot pursuit, he carrying a briefcase. Four action-packed missions followed into Czechoslovakia, Poland (twice) and Russia.
Mr. Popple studied piano in Huronia in the 1950s. He first encountered John Arpin at the Midland Kiwanis Music Festival at that time and they became life-long friends. Arpin, of course, went on to master virtually all musical idioms on the keyboard, attaining a stupendous musical reach and recording over 70 albums, second only to Oscar Peterson's over 200 for a Canadian musician. Mr. Popple still plays some piano, although not to the standard of the late, great Mr. Arpin. Few do or have.
Mr. Popple has had a longtime interest in writing and in 2003, published his first book, Northern Belle: The Life story of Haliburton’s Ethel Curry - through RTP Publications. He is also an avid collector of early Canadian art and follows its major auction proceedings closely.
Mr. Popple and his wife Heather live on Vancouver Island. They have three grown children, Catherine, Beth and Steven and five grandchildren, Cameron, Leo, Adelaide, Bridget and Courtney.