Bill was born in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan, and spent his early years in nearby Bournemouth, which was named by his dad after Bournemouth, England, where he and Bill’s mom met. The Great Depression forced Bill’s family to leave their store and post office there and move to Victoria when Bill was 7. The nearby Lansdowne Airfield helped ignite Bill’s lifelong passion for flying. He flew solo in gliders at age 16, then a scholarship from the Air Cadets allowed him to learn to fly motorized planes. After graduating from Vic High, a 35-year career with the Surveys and Mapping Branch of the provincial government ensued where Bill worked initially as a camera operator in planes, then as a draughtsman, and later with computerized mapping.
Bill held a commercial pilot licence, but damage from an eye infection prevented him from becoming an airline pilot, so he continued his government job. Throughout, his passion for flying remained. He was an early member of the Victoria Flying Club and continued flying until the age of 83.
He retired at 55 to pursue his dream of designing a flying car. Thirty-two years of AutoCAD designs, hand-launched gliders, and radio-controlled model testing kept his mind and body active, but cancer ended his life before he was able to complete this work. His family hopes to find a successor to keep his dreams and designs alive.
Bill was a wonderful husband and dad, and has left us with so many happy memories, especially those from the many travels in our little Shasta trailer. Predeceased by his wife of 59 years Madge (2015) and by older brothers Howard (WWII) and Ray (last year), Bill is survived by his son Alan (Linh) and daughter Linda (Wynn) and granddaughters Lindsay, Megan, Tiffany, and Carol (Lars), great granddaughters in Denmark, and extended family in Australia, England, and the U.S.
Bill’s family would like to thank the many doctors, nurses, careworkers, and volunteers who helped to care for Bill the last couple of months at home and in Victoria Hospice.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.
The Lillos FamilyJuly 16, 2017
William OsseltonJuly 15, 2017