William Edwin Byers
March 26, 1938 – September 8, 2015
Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend departed life with champagne on his lips. His next to last evening was spent with good friends sipping wine and enjoying the comfort of their presence. Although he bore the many indignities of a malignant brain tumour with grace, he never lost the essence of himself. He was ‘Bill’ to his final day.
He was a tall man and friends sometimes referred to him as a gentle giant. He never quite fit into a normal size airplane seat or a hospital bed, but he could easily accommodate several grandkids on his lap. He was very funny, with a sly humour and he was always kind. He believed there was a right, fair and honest way to do things and he could not be moved from that right way.
Bill was born in London, Ontario. He met his wife Pat just as he completed his law degree as a member of the first graduating class of University of Western Law School in 1963. He began his career as a newly married young lawyer in Stratford Ontario. He established his own law firm with his partner, Stirling Kenny and he served as solicitor for the city of Stratford and for Perth County. His children, Laura, Meaghan, Amy and Andrew were all born in Stratford.
In 1984, he moved his family and his mother Elsie to Whitehorse Yukon, to become the Deputy Minister of Justice for the Yukon Government. During his eighteen years as deputy minister in several portfolios; a long tenure in an often short term job; he also served as the constitutional advisor to the government through the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accord consultations. He liked to say that at the end of the process he was fired by Canada!
He raised four wonderful children with his wife Pat and his greatest sorrow was the loss of his daughter Amy to cancer. His children and grandchildren were always his greatest source of joy and he suffered the discomfort of cramped airplane seats to travel often and far to spend time with them. He adored his babies as he called them, from the moment they entered the world.
Bill is survived by Patricia, his wife of fifty years, his daughters Laura ( Bryan) Day (Singapore), and grandchildren Jaimie, Connor and Graydon, Meaghan Byers (Michael) (Dhaka, Bangladesh) and grandchildren Imogen, Stella and Elijah, and Andrew (Marilee) Byers (Whitehorse Yukon) and grandchildren Cole, Brenna and Ally; his nieces Shelly (Atlanta Georgia) and Sarah and grandnephew Ciaras (Laurieston Scotland). Bill was predeceased by his parents, Elsie and William Byers, his sister Karen and his daughter Amy.
Heartfelt thanks to the amazing Dr Hugh Fletcher who was always there when we needed him, and the wonderful team of home care nurses. If desired, a donation may be made in Bill’s memory to the Canadian Cancer Society or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. A celebration of Bill’s life will be
held at the Qualicum Beach Inn, October 25, at 3:00 pm.