December 10, 1931 – June 30, 2019
William (Billy) James Yirrell was born to Rose Maria and Charlie Yirrell December 10th 1931 in a log house built in 1917 (still standing) on Ward Rd. in Coombs, BC. He was the youngest of 6 siblings.
Dad passed away peacefully on June 30th 2019 at the age of 87 surrounded by his family. He is survived by the love of his life, Agnes Yirrell, children Karen Palmer, Robyn Elliott (Brian), grandchildren, Myriah, Brianna, Noah, Libby and Great Grandson Landon.
Dad lived in Coombs his whole life and began school at French Creek Elementary. From there he went on to attend one day of grade 9 in Qualicum Beach. On the first day of school they transported him to Qualicum but they didn’t give the kids a ride home they had to walk back to Coombs. So, he quit school and at the age of 14 went to work for JB Smith peeling poles with a horse named Ben. His logging career had begun and from there he fell trees all over the Island, until he retired at the age of 55.
Dad learned to play by ear; any instrument he laid his hands on from the juice harp to the piano. His love for music lead him to start a band at the age of 17 called “The Velvet Tone” with his best friends Ted Maurice and Terry Slaney. Later on he was hired to play at weddings and parties around the area.
He met a little Prairie girl named Agnes Wyper in 1944 and married her in April 1954 at the Little Church in Coombs. A new chapter began for Billy. He became a father of 2 special girls. Those girls gifted him 4 beautiful grandchild and one great grandchild. Dad/Grandpa always used his love for music as a connection to his grandchildren. He always had a guitar in hand, a grandkid on his lap and a staple old time song to make the kids laugh.
Dad had many passions throughout his life, he loved camping, fishing and hunting. He could be found on his green boat “Skyline”, most early mornings and evenings, fishing out in front of French Creek for a Tyee. He loved hunting the ever elusive Moose. In the earlier years he travelled with Arnie Erickson and Bob Mawhinny to Quesnel and surrounding areas to hunt. Later years he hunted up North with his nephew Rusty Ward, friends Weston Cox and Gus Gustufson to their spot affectionately dubbed “The Wildebeast Camp”.
Dads love for gardening and growing veggies gave rise to rows of beans, peas and potatoes that anyone was lucky enough to be gifted. Despite growing so many veggies he rarely ate them but could tear through a dozen corn on the cob in a blink of an eye.
His love for food was legendary. Dad always loved a Roast Beef dinner made by Aggie with Yorkshire pudding and gravy.
Apart from the log house he was born in, he built or helped to build every home he lived in. That tradition continued with his children’s homes. He fell the trees and milled the logs to build the foundations and walls that will continue to hold his family together.
In dad’s later years, he enjoyed going for coffee every morning to the Old Country Market. There, he would meet with his long time buddies and share the latest gossip, exaggerate their hunting and fishing stories, and bring old memorabilia for show and tell sometimes not so appropriate. He was ever the jokester and loved to laugh.
Dad’s sense of humour and love for entertaining, food and his family will be greatly missed.
Dad is predeceased by his brother George Ward, sisters, Lola Deugau, Barney Lewis, Dorothy Carson and Jean MacDonald……finally together once more.
A heart felt thank you to Dr. Rena Romain and Dr.Chris Edwards.
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