March 20, 2020
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Bill Simms, on March 20th, 2020 at the age of 94 years.
Bill was born in Vernon, BC in the late summer of 1925 to Jim and Dorothy (Burnyeat) Simms. He was the youngest and the last surviving of four siblings (Frances, Keith and Eric) who were all born and raised in Vernon. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years Diane and their four children; David, Carolyn, Jim and Kenny (Alanna) along with four grandchildren – Stacey (James), Derek (Miyuki), Kora and Cadel and five great-grandchildren Adam, Warren, Henry, Arthur and Yuna as well as other nieces and nephews.
Dad grew up during the Depression and was honored to become an artillery signaler for the Canadian Armed Forces, where he served overseas in Holland for 1.5 years during the Second World War. Upon his return in 1946, he began work again at Dolph Brown Ltd. (this was a packing house) before joining the Ministry of Forests as one of their ‘Bug Chasers’. This work allowed Dad to travel throughout the interior of BC and enjoy the outdoors. He worked for the Ministry for 10 years before making a career change to teaching in the mid 50’s.
After taking on his first teaching job in Nanaimo, he met and soon married our Mom, Diane Jacques in 1958. Dad spent the next 24 years teaching some Math and English but mostly Industrial Arts. He retired from teaching in 1980 at W.L.Seaton Jr. High.
His proudest occupational accomplishment was the building of Spallumcheen Golf Course. In 1969 he bought options on 102 acres of land from the O’Keefe family, solicited investors and along with a few others designed his dream. Construction soon started and by the spring of 1973 the course was being played on the full 18 holes. In the fall of 1983, the board of directors had decided an update was needed and renovation started; as a result, by 1987, Spallumcheen Golf Course had become the first 27 hole facility in the interior. Dad was always hands on and he personally planted most of the trees at the facility and officially retired when the course was sold in 2007.
Dad was an avid golfer and continued to play well into his late 80’s. He loved watching his Canucks and the Blue Jays play and cheering on any team that was playing against the Yankee’s.
Dad will be forever and fondly remembered by the family and his friends as a proud parent/grandparent, sportsman (hockey and golf), brilliant bridge player, gifted storyteller and comic strip aficionado.
The family would like to extend its appreciation to the kind care he received from the incredible staff at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital during his recent stays, the North Okanagan Hospice Society for his final days and to all the fantastic staff at Canterbury Court who he has thought dearly of over the last couple of years.
A celebration of life will be held at Spallumcheen Golf Course at a yet to be determined date. In the meantime, friends and former students wanting to share a memory or story with the family can send an email to email@example.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Vernon Jubilee Hospital or a charity of your choosing.
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