May 27, 1923 – Dec. 15, 2006
Wil passed away peacefully at home in Abbotsford at the age of 83. He is survived by his loving wife of nearly 60 years, Margarete Jean; by his children, Donna, Ralph, David, and Laura; by his children-in-law, Lou, Candy, and Osh; by his siblings, Iris, Rosalyn, Anita, and Roland; and by a large extended family. Wil was born on a farm near Leduc, Alberta, and he attended the Sunny Vale rural school. He joined the navy band in 1942 and spent the war years in Halifax and Shelbourne, NS raising support for Victory Bonds. After discharge he returned to Leduc where he picked up a hitch-hiking young teacher whom he married on August 30, 1947. He completed his B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Alberta in 1951 and immediately joined the BC Soil Survey. With the help of his growing family, he planted a 12 acre orchard near Kelowna. In 1959 Wil joined the Hunting Survey Corporation and moved the family to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for two years where he worked on a land survey as part of the Colombo Plan. Over the next two years, Wil completed a soil and land evaluation in Chile under the auspices of the Organization of American States. Returning to Canada in 1963, he and the family spent one year in Toronto before moving to Fredericton, NB where Wil worked for the Federal Soil Survey. In 1967, he returned to Edmonton to work on the Canada Land Inventory. From 1974 to 1984 he completed ecological surveys of soil, vegetation and wildlife in the National Parks, including Waterton, Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Revelstoke, and Glacier. Wil has more than 55 technical papers published, some of which can be found in the National Library in Ottawa. In 1998, Wil and his wife retired to Abbotsford, BC where he spent 18 glorious retirement years developing his prize-
winning garden from a single bush of Rosa Peace to over 650 different varieties of roses. He was past-president of several organizations such as the Pinegrove Garden Club, the MSA Gold K Kiwanis, Branch 69 of the Old Age Pensioners Organization, as well as the provincial body of OAPO and the BC OAPO Scholarship Society. He was editor for the Vancouver Rose Society magazine, The Rose Bed, from 2003 to 2006. Wil usually had a twinkle in his eye and a story on his lips. He loved collecting coins, taking pictures, growing roses, and learning new technology. He was a committed environmentalist and a lobbyist for better seniors’ health care, having written numerous position papers which he sent to Victoria and Ottawa. A man of faith and science, Wil lived an extraordinary life of principle. A finer gentleman never existed. The family would like to thank the Fraserhealth Home Health Care workers and nurses, especially Joanna Mackenzie and the Department of Veterans Affairs for their compassion and assistance.
A memorial will be held Friday, December 22, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. in Trinity Memorial United Church, 33737 George Ferguson Way, Abbotsford. If so desired, please send donations to the Old Age Pensioners of BC Scholarship Society c/o 107-6338 Vedder Road, Chilliwack, BC, V2R 3R2.