Bill was born in Cornwall, Ontario, on February 1, 1937. He is survived by his wife and best friend, of 62 years, Eileen; his children Debbie (Gord), Cheri (Bob) ,and Jeff (Heidi); 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. We cannot forget to mention our “plus one brothers,” Tim Taylor and Gagi Prahlad. Bill is also survived by his sisters Lois (Ken) Barron, and Judy McDonald.
Bill (Dad) grew up on the family farm in Mille Roches, Ontario, this land had been in the family for over a 150 years. (This community and land, along with other communities, was flooded by the St. Lawrence seaway in 1958.) The house Bill was born in still stands today. When dad was a young teen, his family moved to Geraldine, Montana. This is where he got to realize his dream of ranching and being a cowboy! So many stories he loved to share of those Montana adventures. He graduated from High School there and was hoping to stay. However, due to family circumstances, they moved back to Cornwall. His father, Geoff McNairn purchased a Dairy Queen franchise and opened the first D.Q. in between Toronto and Montreal, along the old #2 Hwy. (The 401 hadn’t been built yet.) This was the 8th Dairy Queen in Canada. Dad and his sisters, and his parents, ran the store.
During this time he met the sister of his friend Roy and fell in love, he married Eileen in 1957. She worked along side of him in the ice cream dream! Then, later, their first daughter, Debbie, was born. His father had purchased a second franchise which they also ran together.
Around 1963, dad left the business and went to Toronto Bible College to pursue his calling of becoming a Pastor. His love for Jesus was a passion he wanted to share with others! During his Bible College years, his 2nd daughter, Cheri, was born. While at T.B.C. dad volunteered at the Yonge Street Mission in Toronto’s inner city. This would help shape his future work...His first pastorate was as a summer pastor in 3 little towns in Saskatchewan, Reidlyn, Viceroy and Verwood. That was an adventure he enjoyed.
From there he pastored a church in Emo and Barwick, Ontario. After this, he was called to Montreal. He became the youngest inner city mission director in North America, at the Welcome Hall Mission in Montreal, in 1968. Dad’s desire was to reach “the LEAST, the LAST, and the LOST”, this defined his life and was a heritage he passed on to his family. With mom’s support, our home was open to any one in need... Jeff, was born during this time in Montreal.In 1984 dad accepted the invitation to be the director of the Union Gospel Mission in Winnipeg. Dad started many outreach programs, Youth and Family Centre, child sponsorship for inner city children to a local Christian school, and spearheaded a woman’s ministry and shelter housing program.
When he did take a break, you could find dad and mom up at their cabin on the Churchill River. They had redone this place from “a mess” to “a warm hug” a lovely retreat. Dad (and mom) loved to fish, and they taught their kids and grand kids the love of this pass time as well!When dad retired 16 years ago, he and mom moved back to Cornwall to be near their respective families and friends. They really enjoyed their little home on the St. Lawrence River, not far from their roots! During this time, they began spending some winter months in Florida. They loved their community there. However, 5 years ago this Christmas, dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was given only 6 months to live, so they hurriedly came home to Ontario where he began chemo. Then almost 4 years ago, they moved to Lake Country, BC so they could be closer to all of us while he underwent extensive chemo treatments.
The Lord granted dad almost 5 years, we are SO thankful for these extra time. On October 2nd, after a month in Okanagan Hospice House, dad went to Heaven to meet his Saviour face to face, reunited with many family and friends. We will miss him SO much, but are comforted that we will see him again one day.
2 Corinthians 5:8 says, "Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
Philippians 1:21 says, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
We would like to thank Dr. Koo, his oncologist for his care of our father, and Dr. Kelly Gouthier, such a compassionate woman and help in this hard time. Also, the many staff at the hospice in Kelowna, they were more than amazing, showing kindness and concern not only to dad, but also us as a family. They worked hard to make these last days of daily grieving easier to manage.
A family/friends graveside will be Friday October 11th at 10:30 a.m. at the Keremeos Cemetery, open house later from 4-6 at Jeff’s home in Lake Country. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Union Gospel Mission, 320 Princess St, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3C7.