Bill McNamara Facebook image.

Bill McNamara remembered as a ‘true community champion’

Retired Surrey firefighter and 2010 recipient of the Surrey Good Citizen Award died April 16

Surrey is saying goodbye to a noble soul.

Bill McNamara, a retired assistant chief of the Surrey fire department and 2010 recipient of the Surrey Good Citizen Award, died on April 16 from complications from a heart injury, Surrey Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 1271 shared this week.

“Bill’s reach goes far beyond the fire service as he was an incredible community advocate on so many levels,” its Facebook post reads.

McNamara, 77, was a man of towering achievements in this city and beyond. He was hired as a Surrey firefighter in 1971 and retired in 1999.

“He’d won many awards for senior competitions for running, etcetera,” Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis told the Now-Leader. “He was an inspiration in terms of fitness, and his commitment, and involvement in the various aspects of the community. Like it was just endless, right.”

No hyperbole there.

Judy Villeneuve, who was acting Surrey mayor at the time, presented the Surrey Good Citizen Award to McNamara at the city’s volunteer recognition banquet May 5. She noted he was active in the Surrey Lions Club, the Centre for Child Development, a founding member of the Friends of Surrey Museum and Archives Society, co-chaired the Surrey Seniors Games in 2001 and worked on the B.C. World Police and Fire Games bid committee, Surrey’s Tourism Advisory Committee and the City Centre Spirit Party Committee.

In the 2009 World Police and Fire Games, he won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

“Bill is known as an honourable, helpful, enthusiastic team player who is always looking for ways to give back to the community,” Villeneuve said at the presentation.

He also served as president of the Surrey Firefighters Association, preceding his son and fellow Surrey firefighter Mike McNamara in that role.

McNamara received an honourary degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2016 dedicated to those who have spent their lives either saving people or inspiring them.

Marlyn Graziano, vice-president of KPU external affairs, was one of 110 to post a tribute to McNamara on the SFFA’s Facebook page.

“Bill was a kind and gentle soul whose generosity and service leadership were exemplary,” she wrote. “He was a wonderful friend and we will miss him terribly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Irene Schell said he was a “true community champion,” and Cheryl Pither White said his passing marks “a sad day for Surrey. Bill was one of a kind and his bright spirit will be missed.”

McNamara was inducted into the World Police and Fire Games Hall of Fame in 2015 for his 30 years of competition in the track and field events. He attended the first WPFG’s in San Jose, California in 1985 and and won medals every time the games were held, making for a total medal count of 51.

He also served as president of the 2012 B.C. Summer Games organizing committee, when Surrey hosted more than 2,500 athletes and 800 coaches and officials.

McNamara competed in the B.C. Senior Games in Richmond in 2009, winning three medals in the men’s 65-69 age class including gold for the 400-metre run. He was also involved in the North Surrey Lions Club.

“It’s so tragic, isn’t it,” Surrey Battalion Chief Reo Jerome said of McNamara’s passing. “He was such a good guy, man. Bill was really nice. Just volunteered his time, always had a smile on his face, he was a good guy.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

White Rock couple to donate blood 325th time, collectively

Anne Friendly will make her 175th donation, while her husband Kevin Klop will donate his 150th time

South Surrey mothers to launch CBD-infused water product

Three friends say benefits may include anxiety relief, pain management

4-year-old child injured in Surrey after falling out window

Child fell out of third-storey window, expected to fully recover

City of White Rock hosts official pier reopening

Event included ribbon-cutting, speeches, live music

Surrey school district to allow students to miss class for global climate strike

Students must be excused from school by parents; will be able to make up missed work without penalty

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Over 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’

Unionized workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront have also walked out

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Vancouver Giants complete weekend sweep of Cougars

Back-to-back road trip victories for Langley-based team

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read

l -->