~ by Wanda Laughlin -
William (Bill) McLachlan of Courtenay B.C. passed away peacefully with his family at his side on December 29, 2012.
Survived by his loving wife Mildred, daughter Wanda (Ricky) Laughlin; Stepdaughters Linda (David) Mann and¬† Bonnie Nelson; Grandchildren Nicole, Treena, April, Earl, Michael, Kevin, Tia, Tosha, Tarah, Sarah, Derek and nineteen great-grandchildren. Sisters Audrey (John) Holderness, Betty (Gerry) Bach and many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Bill was predeceased by his daughter Gail Anderson in 1999, parents Andrew and Catherine, sister Nancy Howe and brother Andrew.
Bill’s journey through life began on July 3, 1929 in Vancouver, BC.¬†He spent most of his childhood years calling Burnaby home. He was the middle child of Catherine and Andrew McLachlan. Bill had two older sisters, Nancy and Audrey, and two younger siblings, Andrew and Betty.
Bill left home at a very young age and went out to conquer the world. As a youngster he tried his hand at many jobs. One that he fondly remembered was being the milk delivery boy where he¬†delivered the milk with a horse and buggy. Knowing Bills driving habits, it was probably a good thing he used a horse and not a car at that age. He finally found his calling after working at many logging camps. A very special time in his life was when he moved to Harrison Lake to work and learned to run machinery. This is when he decided logging and the woods were his passion.
In the late 1940‚Äôs Bill met Rae, they married in 1950 and two years later they started a family. Wanda was born 1952 and Gail in 1953. The family spent a couple of years living in the lower mainland and in 1954 they decided it was time to move the family to where the work really was – the mainland area around Knight Inlet. Bill worked for many of the logging companies in this area. They purchased a float house so they could tow their home wherever the logging shows were. Their final float house move was to Walden’s Camp in 1958, where they lived and worked until June of 1961.
It was at this time Bill and Rae decided to find something closer to schools, as the girls had been boarded out for two years and this situation was no longer acceptable. Malcolm Island was calling. So they hooked onto the house, towed it to Mitchell Bay and this became their home¬† for the next six years. Bill spent some of the best years of his life there and the friendships he made stayed in his heart forever. It was during this time that Bill was seriously hurt in a logging accident while logging at Lizard Point. After a year of recovery in Vancouver, he decided it was time to give something else a try. Commercial fishing! Bill purchased his first boat named Kathleen and a couple of years later he purchased the Alta Loma. While fishing, he still worked part time in the logging industry.
A new adventure began in the fall of 1967 when the family moved into Sointula after Bill purchased an inn and restaurant. The Ship’s Inn now became Bills passion. He discovered¬†a love of cooking, becoming a winter cook while still working as a summer fisherman.
Life once again took Bill on a new journey. Bill met Mildred and their life together started in 1969, a love that remained strong and endured for the rest of his life. Bill continued fishing, but his love of the woods was stronger. In 1971, Bill and Mildred decided to move to Englewood, where Bill worked for Hanuse Logging until his retirement.
It was during this time that the sports fishing, camping and road trips with Mildred became the norm. He loved it when they took off on some kind of new adventure. They started travelling to Reno, Vegas, Hawaii and summer trips to the BC interior. Life was good.
As retirement was getting closer, Bill and Mildred decided to finally build their dream home in Royston. So once ‘Bill’s Mortgage’ and ‘Mildred‚Äôs Mansion’ was completed in Royston, they moved right in. During this time, Bill still commuted to work in Englewood.
Finally, retirement. Now, what to do with idle hands? Bill discovered his love of gardening, where he was determined his Blaze Roses and fruit trees could outdo anything Mildred grew. But you can only garden so much, so now what?¬† Bill decided to start making wooden toys for his grandchildren. Little did he realize how much he loved working with wood. This grew into a year-round craft for him and his woodwork became sought after by many, many people. He was always so proud to be able to take all his creations to Sointula every year for Winterfest and leave there saying “Sold Out Again!”
It was also during this period of Bill’s life that he discovered¬†a¬†love for oil painting. For many years he was able to combine all of his passions for all of us to enjoy and treasure. His woodworking, his great Chinese cooking skills and the best breakfasts ever. The gardening was not so important as he had the garden area taken over with a huge swimming pool. He also found a new art – intarsia woodworking. This was more than woodworking. Bill’s Intarsia creations were true masterpieces.
Due to bad health, Bill had to stop woodworking. So to stay active, he now took on bowling, golf and¬†swimming.
In 2004, Bill and Mildred decided the big house was getting to be too much for them, so it was time for the final chapter of their moving journey. They bought a patio home in Courtenay close to everything. Not long after the move, Bill decided driving was no longer an option, so he acquired his new best friend – his scooter. He loved the freedom this allowed him. Being able to get around the community and go off on his little treks. He especially loved going to Bill Moore Park whenever the Sointula baseball team was playing. Naturally, he was one of their biggest fans.
Bill’s health declined with the challenge of dementia but¬†he was still able to visit Sointula for a few months last summer and enjoy some quality time with Mildred and the family in Sointula, the place¬†he always considered home.
Bill showed his¬†love of children, family and friends throughout his entire¬†life. His love has left us all with very precious memories.¬†Bill McLachlan was a very special husband, dad, stepdad, brother, grandpa, great-grandpa and friend. He will be missed by everyone with great love and admiration – forever.