SMITHANIUK, William (Bill)
January 16, 1922 – February 6, 2017
We would like to honour our father, William Smithaniuk, having lived a long and engaged life, who was gently released from the world on Feb. 6th 2017. He has rejoined his wife and beloved partner of 43 years, Lucy (Stogrin), as well as his brother Johnny, and they will likely be sharing their life adventures in the Great Beyond.
Bill was the eldest child born to Lena and Mike Smithaniuk in 1922 in Bellis, north-eastern Alberta, but spent most of his adult years in the Lower Mainland of BC. He was very proud of the service he gave to the Canadian Navy in WWII, plying the North Atlantic as a telegraph operator. He never forgot Morse Code and would recount tales of the High Seas, particularly in the bitter winter months, where the isolation & lack of outside communication was particularly unnerving.
Dad and mom were married in 1947 and he attended UBC for 2 years, in the PE faculty. He continued a close connection with that graduating Alumni group of 1950 for the rest of his life. When his daughters arrived on the scene, Bill made several attempts at business ownership, but these were short-lived.
After returning to UBC for 2 years, he graduated in 1964 in Education, majoring in English and PE. Over the almost 20 years he taught, he gravitated to the Arts, producing several successful musicals with enthusiastic students, as well as instructing ceramics, which also gave him pleasure.
Over their retirement years Dad and Mom ventured up and down the Georgia Strait in their small cruiser with dear friends, and visited their “ancestral homeland” of Ukraine, as well as many warm Latin countries. They were always very appreciative of the variety of cultural experiences abroad. His last major trip abroad was to Jordan, in the Middle East, in 1999, which intrigued him with the unique customs and artisanal crafts.
In spite of having no grandchildren of his own, Dad was delighted to engage for extended periods with his nieces, nephews and their offspring. He was dubbed “Uncle Bill” by dozens of neighbourhood children over his lifespan, who wouldn’t hesitate to knock on his door and ask if he could “come out to play!”
Dad’s love of Nature, particularly flowers and bird species, was unparalleled, and he was very proud of the lobby group he helped to form in the 1970s that advocated for, and was successful in establishing, an extensive natural space in South Surrey—Sunnyside Acres, still beautiful and accessible to all.
Although living independently in his home until his 94th year, Dad became increasingly frail and required the supports provided by residential care for his last 7 months. He remained fit and walked several times weekly until Fall, and still lived enthusiastically, “giving it 100%”, as he declared one week before he passed. He never failed to express his gratitude for the remarkable life that he had been blessed to share with others.
We are so grateful to Jane Boutilier, his devoted Care worker and friend for over 2 years, and Dr. Sarge Sandhu at South Point Natural Therapies for helping to maintain a high-quality life for dad for the last 11 years. We also wish to thank the caring staff of Peace Portal Seniors Village and particularly Glenn Hocking, who wisely engaged Dad in providing “advice” about their renovations. (Dad was, to the end, very fond of imparting his accumulated wisdom on many diverse subjects!)
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled later in the Spring, when the flowers are fragrant and full, as Dad loved them.