Bill was born in Hoorn, Netherlands, February 28th, 1943. He was the second eldest in a family of seven. Growing up in post WWII Holland was not easy, but the family was able to cope. He acquired a second-hand bicycle as a teen, and took off exploring, travelling to Germany, France and Denmark. His passion for cycling lasted all his life. He attended carpentry school, served in the Dutch army and worked as a long shoreman before immigrating to Canada in 1965.
He settled in Calgary, Alta, working as a carpenter. He built modular homes there, and then went on to become a finishing carpenter in Ft. McMurray as well as a miner in Churchill, Manitoba. He eventually settled in Kitimat where he worked at ALCAN as a shift foreman. Around this time, Bill met and married Davelea, his first wife, and they had their daughter, Kaaras. Bill re-married in 1987 to Mary, whom everyone adores and recognizes for her generous baked goods. They lived in Terrace for many years, eventually retiring in Hazelton B.C.
Bill was an avid photographer, who’s camera went everywhere with him and his photos fill numerous albums enjoyed by friends and family. Camping was a favourite activity of his, as well as cycling, canoeing, hiking and walking. He and his dogs were routinely seen every day out and about. His cycling passion took him to many destinations, including Prince Rupert, Prince George, Jasper and Calgary.
Bills carpentry skills are evident within his families’ homes. He constructed everything from cabinets, chests, tables, dollhouses, rocking horses, sleighs and many other projects desired by his grandchildren. Some projects reside in Holland. Think of Bill when you pass by the Birdhouses in Old Town along the Skeena River and around Ross Lake.
He cherished his grandchildren deeply, travelling to Richmond to visit Kaaras and the five grandchildren, Scotland to visit his grandson, and spending time with his two granddaughters in Hazelton. He was so proud of them all.
Bill was positive and strong in the face of his health issues, lifting those around him up with his wit, spirit, and sense of humour. As Bill would sing “There’s a tear in my beer and I wish you were here, you are on my lonely mind”. His presence and smile will be dearly missed by his loved ones.
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