October 20, 1917 – July 2, 2014
Bill passed away peacefully early in the morning on July 2nd after being comforted by his family throughout the day on July 1st. His legacy of a “caring, loving family” speaks for itself as many of us were able to be with him on his last day.
Bill is predeceased by his wife Harriet, his three brothers Deane, Jock, and Archie, and his parents Archibald and Elizabeth Finlayson.
He leaves behind his eldest son Deane & wife Kelly and youngest son Peter & wife Susan and their families. Bill was proud of his 6 treasured grandchildren and his 9 great-grandchildren; Brooke Finlayson and Dave Thornber with Avery, Adrien, and Austin; Brigh and Todd Ballard with Samantha; Joel and Murry Finlayson (and Murry’s mom Emily Fair), Matthew and Hye-jin Finlayson, Brett and Al Gregory with Jack and Ella, and Holly & Rich Forster with Owen & Tessa. Bill also leaves behind his sister-in-laws Neita, Joan, Maddi, and many nieces and nephews and their families, who faithfully visited him whenever they came to the Comox Valley.
We loved to hear stories of Bill’s life from his early childhood days in Nanaimo and Vancouver, his World War II adventures of flying tail gunner in a Hudson Bomber, and his short venture into logging on Vancouver Island.
One of his war adventures led him to marrying his wife of 63 years, Harriet Jorgensen! While on leave in Toronto, Bill and his friend went on a double date with Harriet and her cousin Helga, Bill was paired with Helga, but kept his “sights” on Harriet instead. His good “sights” eventually landed him his wife and then a job as a rifle instructor in the RCAF at Pat Bay in Victoria.
While growing up on Stewart Ave. in Nanaimo, one block from the beach, Bill and his brothers spent many hours swimming across the harbour over to Newcastle Island. He was such an accomplished swimmer that he ended up on the RCAF polo team; and was promoted to a swimming instructor in the Caribbean, teaching the boys from the prairies how to swim & survive getting out of the water, while under attack.
After the war, Bill and Harriet settled into married life, started their family and then moved to the Comox Valley in 1944. They were eligible under the Veterans Land Act to buy land and jointly purchased 60 acres in Dove Creek with Stan & Dora Rowe. Harriet’s farming background stead them well as she & Dora sustained the farm with a 500 chicken & egg business, while Bill and Stan experimented with growing tulips, hay & potatoes!
The farming escapade ended in 1953 when Bill was approached to open the Shell gas station at the bottom of Mission Hill. He immersed himself in this for the next few years, then sold real estate briefly, before settling into a 22 year career of selling furniture and appliances with his youngest brother Archie at Finlayson Furniture store. Concurrently in 1957 he and Harriet opened the very successful Finlayson Stationary & Hobby Shop.
In addition to working hard, Bill gave back to the community. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce, sat on the Board of Revision Assessment Authority, sat on the Glacier View Lodge Society Board of Directors, ran for public office and volunteered tirelessly during provincial and federal elections. Bill loved golfing and was instrumental in the building of the back 9 holes at Sunnydale golf course. His hard work and dedication was rewarded with a life-time membership at Sunnydale.
We all loved and respected Grampa Bill, and are proud that he influenced and mentored so many people over his 96 years. He loved his country and community and believed we should all “make our own contributions to society, our employers, and own successes – one of more give than take”.
The family wish to acknowledge all the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital, especially The Views, who helped look after Bill for the last 1.5 years of his life, Dr. Konway, and all the friends who visited him over the years.
Bill’s service & reception will be held at St. George’s United Church, 505 6th Street Courtenay, BC on Thursday, July 17th at 2:00 P.M.
In lieu of flowers the family request any donations be made to St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation ph. 250 -890-3046, 2137 Comox Ave. Comox, BC V9M 1P2 or email@example.com.