William passed away peacefully on January 5, 2021, in Victoria, BC. He is predeceased by his eldest daughter Judy and survived by his wife of 70 years Soo Hing and his children Kenny (Judy), Janie, and Kathy.
William was born in Hoiping China on December 23, 1929. He married Soo Hing in Hong Kong on August 28, 1951, and they had two children before making the tough decision for him to immigrate to Canada.
A generous uncle funded his journey to Canada in search of a better life for his family. Arriving in a new country with only a few dollars in his pocket, he worked tirelessly. Through sheer determination and an unparalleled work ethic, William paid off his debt to his uncle in record time, sent money “home” to support his young family, and saved every penny to bring them over to join him in the promised land referred to as “gold mountain”.
He went where there was work – from the Prairies to the big city of Vancouver and many small towns in between – before choosing to settle in the Kootenays.
It took many years before he was finally reunited with his wife, son, and daughter. With the birth of his two Canadian daughters, he continued to hold on dearly to the traditions of his homeland but made room for the traditions of his adopted country as well.
William raised his family in Nelson, BC, where his entrepreneurial spirit led him to partner with friends to purchase Ken’s Cafe on Baker Street. He relocated with his family in 1982 and called Victoria home for the next 38 years.
William was a loving husband and his wife’s happiness and well-being was always top of mind. He was a modern father who took his daughters fishing and to hockey games at the local arena. When called upon, he would help with sewing or arts projects.
William excelled at sports, was an excellent butcher, cook, and baker. He was ahead of his time – partially due to necessity. He not only recycled, repurposed, and reused but also followed the nose-to-tail eating philosophy decades before it became a trend.
Through trial and error, William considered himself to be quite the handyman. He enjoyed repairing his home, doing yard work, building shelving, and proudly jigging tools or electronics when necessary, if not always to code.
Ever practical and optimistic, William weathered tough times and adversity with dignity. He instilled in his children the value of a dollar and the concept of saving for a rainy day. He could be stern but was always fair and lived according to a set of ethics that valued honesty and integrity above all.
William’s greatest joys in life came from spending time with his family, eating good food, watching sports, travelling, or simply completing a word search puzzle over a cup of tea. He will be remembered as a kind, gentle, adventurous soul who was slightly mischievous and had a great sense of humour. William will be greatly missed by many extended family members and friends who lovingly referred to him as “Uncle Bill.”
A private celebration of life will be held at the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens on January 15, 2021. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the BC Heart & Stroke Foundation. Condolences may be offered to the family below.
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