On February 22, I lost my beloved husband, Bill, after his brave struggle with cancer. He was a much loved brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend. Bill was born on August 14, 1936, in Dauphin, Manitoba, the second youngest of eight, to William and Christina. They came from Ukraine in 1925; this heritage was always important to him. His first memories were of farm life. In 1941, the family moved to Hamilton, Ontario. In 1945, they came to Victoria where the older siblings stayed after the family returned to Hamilton in 1950. In 1954, Bill joined the army (RCEME) where he trained and worked as a gun mechanic, often on tanks, which interested him for the rest of his life. He was a proud Canadian and enjoyed the army, especially two years in Germany, and the opportunity to train in sports – he was very good at track and field.
In 1960, Bill left the military, returned to Victoria, and completed high school while working a night job. He always loved learning, so he carried on to the University of Victoria, where we met. After our marriage in 1968, we moved to Kingston, where Bill completed an MSc at Queen’s University on a scholarship. In 1971, we returned to visit the family farm on Prevost Island and stayed for seven years. This was a happy time for us, living in a small log cabin by the sea. Bill worked very hard on the farm and tackled any job – he was thorough in everything he did, always achieving the best he could. He was like a son to our father, Hubert. Then followed six years in Port Alberni where Bill became the production manager of a large salmon farm; this was a pioneering time in aquaculture to which he was pleased to contribute. In 1984, we again returned to Prevost; Bill loved the farm, the land, and the animals, with which he was patient and caring. He made beautiful fences of expertly split cedar posts, kept machinery running, and could solve many problems through innovation. He cared lovingly for our late mother, Jean. Bill had many interests: history, languages, science, world events, music, and bird watching; he always looked forward to learning new things. He was kind, generous, fair and just, a vital and welcoming person who was always ready to help others and to share his knowledge. Bill was an exceptional man and we were blessed with many happy years. He will forever live in our hearts.
Predeceased by brothers Nicholas, Steven, and Lloyd, sister Lena Dorosh, three nieces and a nephew, and sister-in-law Maureen de Burgh, Bill is survived by his dear wife Sheila, brother Michael, sisters Ann (Jim) Fortune, Jean (John) Abernathy, sisters-in-law Barbara and Susan de Burgh, nieces and nephews and their families, and many friends.
I would like to thank our family and the many friends who have helped me get through the past two months. Thank you also to David, Mark, Paul, Ben, Harold, Diana, Brad, Garth, Mike, Lew, Lori and Katie for all they have done on Prevost.
A memorial service will be held at All Saints By the Sea, Ganges, Salt Spring Island at 2 pm March 21 followed by a reception. If desired, donations in Bill’s memory may be made to: The William Wowchuk Memorial Scholarship, Department of Biology, University of Victoria (http://web.uvic.ca/givingtouvic/givenow/online_login.php or phone 250-472-4210 UVic Development Office). This graduate scholarship honours Bill’s lifetime interest in cell biology.