It is with deep regret that we announce the recent death of this extraordinary man. Born in London, Ontario he spent his childhood and final years on the Berry Farm in Dunrobin which has been in his family for over 200 years—his ancestors being the original settlers of this area.
After graduating from Kemptville Agricultural School he joined the Army at 19 and served in the Korea War from 1950-1952. As a Bren Gunner in the 2PPCLI (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry), he served in the front lines and participated in the historic Battle of Kapyong— a turning point in the war. After Honorable Discharge, and returning home, he re-enlisted in the Canadian Air Force “because in the Air Force they sleep in beds.” His abilities were obvious and he rose in the ranks from being a Private in Korea to his retirement as Major in the Canadian Armed Forces. He was Commanding Officer at both CFS Alert and CFB Leitrim and overall served his country in peace and war for more than 36 years.
After retirement, he joined Unit 7 Korean Veterans’ Association and served many years as Sgt-at -Arms for the Unit. He was a founding member of the Royal Canadian Legion Kanata Branch and was made a Life Member. Among other positions, he served as Sgt- at- Arms in Kanata and also for several years at the Royal Canadian Legion West Carleton.
He loved riding his motorcycle and was a member of the Canadian Army Veterans’ Paardeberg Unit Motorcycle club. He also had his pilot’s license, scuba diving training and was an avid sailor.
From 1985-1991 he served as Alderman March Ward on City of Kanata Council. As such, he founded the Pinheys’ Point Foundation and the March Historical Society, established Riverfront Park, and participated in the preliminary work which culminated in the establishment of the NHL hockey team/ arena in Kanata.
He was a quiet, humble man but those who knew him realized that when he spoke it was worth listening to. He also had a wicked sense of humour and wrote a column for many years in the Kanata Standard under the pseudonym Billy G. Gruff.
He received many awards over the years including the Ontario BiCentennial Medal, the Ottawa City Builders Award and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his public service.
He was one of a kind and will be remembered but sadly missed by those who knew him.
Due to COVID restrictions, a private family service will be held at a future date.
For those wishing, a memorial donation may be made to Brookside Baptist Church. You can mail a cheque to 1078 Klondike Road, Kanata, ON, K2K 1X7.