March 31, 1942 – April 23, 2019
After a short struggle with declining health, we are sad to announce the passing of William (Bill) James Youngs Whitehead on April 23rd, 2019 in Castlegar British Columbia, with his loving family at his side.
Bill was born on March 31, 1942 in Burnley Lancashire, England. He was the eldest son of Annie and James Whitehead and older brother to Margaret, Desmond and Leda. As a young man, Bill enlisted in the British Military serving with Her Majesty’s Royal Engineers. In 1972, he was swept off his feet having met a Canadian girl on holidays in Britain and left England to move to Canada with Elaine. They made their home in Robson where they raised their two boys together. Martin arrived in 1974 and Jarrod followed in 1978 – between the cows calving and the pigs birthing. This was a well orchestrated plan by Bill to ensure he could carry on with the duties of the farm. After searching for many years in 2004, Bill was reunited with his first two children from England. This completed the family for Bill and Elaine. Bill had many friends near and far – his voice was unmistakable and he could often be found in the early morning hours having a coffee with the boys.
Bill had a passion for living life in the fast lane. In his younger years he could be found racing in the TT races on the Isle of Mann or dirt track racing in Northport, WA. He even made a stunt man appearance in the James Bond movie “His Majesty’s Secret Service”. In later years, he resigned to his scooter – still driving it up and down Columbia Ave like he was driving on a race track. He lived his life like he did on the track, always on the verge of out of control. His passions were hunting, fishing and spending time on the water. He loved to spend time with his grandchildren and could often be heard reciting “One dark and stormy night…” or teaching them random survival techniques.
Friends or strangers alike could always count on Bill. He would drop to help anyone. If you had a flat tire, he would have you up and running in no time (even if it meant the tire was missing off the family vehicle). It was also a known fact that Elaine once returned home to find her own vehicle dismantled and the engine securely assembled in his race car. Those that really knew him know that there was the right way, the wrong way and the Willy way. He could fix nearly anything with some fishing wire and duct tape.
Bill is predeceased by his mother, father and brother Desmond Whitehead. Bill is survived by his sisters Margaret Harrison (Peter) and Leda Dunn (Bill), sister-in-law Viv Whitehead, his wife of 46 years Elaine Whitehead, his four children Dawn Lea (Russ), Reece Blick (Wendy), Martin Whitehead (Taya), Jarrod Whitehead (Jessilyn), his ten grandchildren Craig Lea (Laura), Robert Lea, Connor Gibson, Rebekah Blick (Ryan), Sophie Blick (Shane), Soda Bagshaw, Seth Whitehead, Reece Whitehead, Deegan Whitehead, AJ Whitehead and his four great-grandchildren Ava, Jasmine, Lilah and Violet.
Also left to mourn his loss are brother-in-law Paul Fomenoff (Tina), many extended family members and close friends. Bill also leaves behind his little buddy Gus – his loyal and loving Jack Russel Terrier.
Thank you to the ambulance attendants and staff at the Castlegar Emergency department, especially Dr. Larocque and Andrew. Your care and compassion in helping our family get through a difficult time will be remembered.
A Celebration of life will be held at the Robson Community Hall May 18th from 2-4 pm. No flowers by request, donations may be made to Robson Recreation Society as an alternate.
Castlegar Funeral Chapel in care of arrangements.