Williams – Freeman
July 16, 1923 – November 9, 2012
Capt. Harry Peere Williams-Freeman of Salt Spring Island, B.C. died peacefully at age 89 after a lengthy and devastating illness. Harry was born in Duncan, B.C. and moved to England in 1934 with his family. As a teenager he attended Blundell’s School and afterwards served in the British Army from 1941 to 1946 in the UK, India, Burma and West Africa. He then worked in Nigeria as a timber agent for the United Africa Co. He returned to B.C. in 1948 and was employed by the Inventory branch of the B.C. Forest Service doing fieldwork. In 1954 Harry enrolled in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada as a lieutenant. He served in Canada and with the U.N. in Pakistan in 1965. He returned to Canada to live in Halifax, where he retired in 1970. From there he moved to B.C. and worked nine years as the administrator for the Canadian Outward Bound Mountain School in Vancouver and Keremeos. He was instrumental and persistent in getting the government interested in acquiring his B.C. Heritage Site residence which is now known as the Keremeos Grist Mill. Harry strongly felt this property belonged to the public rather than private ownership. In 1981, in his 37 ft. sloop he named ALEC PEERE, he sailed from Vancouver to the Caribbean where he spent several years. Later on he enjoyed many years of extensive travelling and chartering his sailboat in the coastal B.C. waters.
He was a true character who marched to his own drum and his own eccentricities; a family man with a tender heart, a keen intellect and a dry sense of humour who was passionate about the outdoors, wilderness and historical conservation, classical and jazz music, reading, sailing, current affairs, history, physical fitness, travel and good conversation.
Harry is survived by his wife Valerie of Sidney, B.C., their 3 children Jennifer (Garry), Gordon (Brenda) and Rosemary (Stephen) and seven grandchildren. He is predeceased by their eldest son Alec and Harry’s sister Joycelin Dunlop of Okanagan Mission, B.C. A sincere thank you to the dedicated caregivers and health providers over the past many years and to Harry’s good friend Sally as well as other friends who have helped make his life better. He will be sadly missed.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations in Harry’s memory may be made to the Western Canada Wilderness Committee.