Born April 12, 1918 in Melita, Manitoba to immigrants from Scotland, Bill was a child of the Great Depression.
Bill came to Williams Lake in 1936 with 5 cents in his pocket. Bill was a true pioneer rancher of the Cariboo. A hard worker, Bill purchased the 2,000 acre, 137 Mile House Ranch from Bordee Felker in 1948. He successfully ranched at the 137 for 24 years, selling it in 1972.
Loving husband to Martha Faessler Downie (deceased), Bill and Martha raised five girls on the ranch. Bill was known for his musical talent on the banjo and saxophone, playing with the “Satellites” and later the “Old Time Fiddlers.”
Bill is an inductee to the British Columbia (BC) Cowboy Hall of Fame. He loved the ranching industry and participated for years in supporting 4-H of which 3 of his daughters participated. Bill also loved the outdoors, fishing, hunting and riding.
Bill will be remembered for the love to his family, his quick wit, always having a joke to share. Bill was a generous and humble man, he gave generously of his time to others and the community.
Bill is survived by his 5 daughters, Shirley Mierlo of Edmonton, her husband Carl, their children (grandchildren), JoAnn Yewchuk, Teri Kantor and Rickie Jespersen and great grandchildren, Ben, Tye, MacLayne, Will, Jax and Jersey. His daughter, Jo Hinsche of the 141 and 137 Mile House Ranches, her husband Clifford, their sons (grandchildren), Garrett and Ben and great grandchildren, Clay and Braidey. His daughter, Lynn Roberts, husband Jim Roberts of Williams Lake, their son,(grandchild) Parke and great grandchild Elle. His daughter, Ruth Yvonne Downie Cahill of Scottsdale, AZ, her husband Joe Junker. His daughter, Diane Matias of Mississauga, Ontario, her sons, (grandsons), Ayrton and Austin. Bill is also survived by his sister, Evelyn Beliak of Bellingham, Washington. Bill will be missed by his family and so many of his lifelong friends of which he had numerous. His legacy will live on through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew’s United Church on Sunday October 11, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Donations may be made to the Hough Memorial Cancer Fund Society of Williams Lake, the Williams Lake SPCA or the Alzheimer’s Society of BC.
LaPrairie’s Funeral Services entrusted with arrangements.