W.C. (Bill) Yeomans


W. C. (Bill)

Bill Yeomans was born June 18, 1918, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and died May 9, 2006, at home on Hornby Island, B.C.? Predeceased by his brother Robert and his sister Mary. Bill will be greatly missed by Christa, his devoted partner of 29 years, his family, including his two sons David (Kathy) and Jamie (Nancy), and their children Jasmine, Tyler and Ryan; Gerard and Anastasia; Tim and Keri and their children Mikaela and Hayden; Jill, Oriana, Lee and Dorothy; and his many friends on Hornby Island, in Victoria, and throughout Canada and the United States.

A man of many and varied skills and accomplishments, Bill lived a long, diverse and complex life.? He was born to a Canadian mother and American father, moved to Canada from the U.S. in 1965, becoming a Canadian citizen in the early 70’s.? Bill served in the U.S. airforce, and fought during World War II in the Pacific, achieving the rank of Captain.? After the war, he worked as a forest ranger in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State, and a radio announcer in Wenatchee.? He then completed a B.A. at the University of Washington, an M.Sc. at the University of Oregon, and a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.? Before moving to Canada, he worked as a Teaching Assistant in Landscape Architecture at Berkeley, and a Park and Environmental Planner for the States of California and Washington.

Bill established a thriving landscape architectural firm in Victoria in 1965, W.C. Yeomans & Associates.? Among other projects, the firm conducted a B.C. inventory of outdoor recreation as part of the Canada-wide Land Inventory, and worked for Parks Canada developing several master plans for national parks.? Bill was hired by the Government of B.C. as Manager of the Biological Systems Division, Resource Analysis Branch, Ministry of Environment, 1978-1982.? During this period, he wrote “Visual Resource Assessment, A User Guide,” a book still widely in use around the world.? As well, he assisted in the establishment of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Victoria, and was a guest lecturer at the Universities of Victoria, Montreal, and Guelph.

Bill was intensely interested in the human potential movement, with its emphasis on honesty, curiosity, self-responsibility, communication and relationship.? With his friend Richard Weaver, he co-founded the Cold Mountain Institute on Cortes Island, the pioneering growth center (now Hollyhock) in the late 1960’s.

After Bill retired in 1983, he and Christa moved permanently to Hornby Island, to their home on a beautiful piece of forested property which they christened “Northwind.”? Bill immersed himself in the life of the island, working on land use and development issues, particularly as they related to the island’s precious forest resource.? He initiated the creation of the Hornby Forest Management Society, served on the island’s Resource Evaluation Committee, and the Residents & Ratepayers Association, of which he was President in 1988.? He also developed a working plan for a community park, and donated a large piece of his own land for a park with trails for public use.? Bill always loved nature, and used his considerable political and professional skills in a very effective hands-on approach with a view always to preserving and enhancing the environment.

Bill’s favourite activities and passions included walking in the woods, working the land, talking with friends, reading poetry, philosophy, religion and psychology, playing his guitar and writing – mostly poetry.? A collection of his poems entitled “Temporary Footprints” is in the process of being published.

Bill stood forth as a larger-than-life individual, blessed with incisive intelligence, wisdom, integrity, courage, creativity and humour who was refreshingly modest, and unwilling to take himself too seriously.? As keynote speaker at a conference for seniors, he once spoke about the art of being unimportant.? It amused him to be able to report that he was never invited back again to speak to this particular group.? To his friends, who admired and loved him, Bill was companion, brother and sometimes father figure.

There will be a Celebration of Bill’s life on Sunday, May 21, 2 pm, at the New Horizons Hall on Hornby Island.

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