Cyril, Joseph Astill
Engineer ~ Inventor ~ Entrepreneur
Cyril died in his sleep in the early hours of July 20, 2012. He was 92 years old. Born in Coventry England in 1920, Cyril was witness to the devastation during the blitz of WW2. Because of his engineering skills he was held back from fighting to work on aircraft design at the Standard Motor Company that had been modified to develop and produce aircraft for the war effort. He was a member of the Coventry Home Guard and with colleagues watched helplessly as Coventry Cathedral burned in the worst of the blitz. His experiences from that night are recorded in his memoirs.
Cyril met Joan, his wife of 65 years in January of 1938. Joan also worked at the Standard Motor Co testing aircraft engines. They were married in June, 1942 and subsequently had three children before immigrating to Toronto, Canada in 1957. Cyril worked again on aircraft design and was part of the team developing the Avro Arrow. The family moved on to Pembroke and then to Deep River Ontario where he was employed by Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL). During his time with AECL, he was involved in nuclear reactor technology and developed many patented tools. He also worked at home on unrelated project including development of a snow plough that would not leave snow in individual driveways.
Cyril retired from Atomic Energy in 1982 and he and Joan moved to Victoria, British Columbia where Cyril continued to consult and to develop new technology related to energy conservation. He also indulged a passion for gardening and became involved in the Fuchsia and Geranium Society subsequently developing a major collection of those varieties. The family moved to Salt Spring in 1990 where Cyril built the family home on Fulford Ganges Road on part of the old Gyves Farm and continued to grow and sell his geraniums and fuchsias and to manage a large chicken flock producing eggs for local restaurants and the public.
During their time in Victoria, Joan and Cyril walked the west coast trail and had many adventures on the west coast. Since Joan’s death in 2008, Cyril recorded the events of their life together in a series of small books which serve both as a family record and as evidence of a lives well lived.
Cyril is survived by three children, David Astill, Susan Astill (John Marko) of Salt Spring Island; and Josephine Harris of Hamilton, Ontario. Also, a small flock of grandchildren and great grandchildren including Andrew McNish and his wife Debra and great grandchildren, Liam and Emily, of Salt Spring Island; Deborah McNish also of Salt Spring Island; Kim Stanger and husband Brad of Whistler, B.C. and great grandchildren Kadin and River; Heather Harris and Jeff Reid of Hamilton, Ont. and great grandchildren Madeleine, Jude, Bishop and Saxon; and, Alexei and Andrea Marko of Vancouver and great grandchildren Luca and Naomi.
The family would like to thank the many caregivers at Greenwood for their kindness and their support. Many thanks also to Beacon Home Support Workers who made it possible for Cyril to stay in his own home for so long; and for the care provided by the staff of Lady Minto Hospital.
At a later date there will be a private, graveside service for family to bury Cyril and Joan together. In lieu of flowers, donations would gratefully be received in their memory by The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation (135 Crofton Rd, Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 1T1).