William Richard Slater


William Richard Slater


William (Bill) Slater passed away peacefully on the evening of August 2, 2021 at the North Island Hospital, Comox Valley in the company of his three loving daughters and with a drop of Irish Whiskey on his tongue. He had a wonderful 96 years.

Bill was born May 13, 1925 in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay). When he was four, his family travelled by train to B.C. and settled in West Vancouver, where he made many lifelong friends and developed his enduring love for the beach.

A slingshot accident at age seven rendered him blind in one eye. This later made him unable to serve in WWII, so Bill contributed to the war effort by becoming a shipwright at Burrard Yarrows. After the war, he embraced the spirit of adventure and headed north to the Yukon where he worked on the wooden paddle-wheelers for British Yukon Navigation. He returned to Vancouver where he eventually became one of Canada’s earliest computer systems analysts, a vocation that he took to “like a duck to water.”


Bill met Queenie Gunderson at Crown Zellerbach where they both worked; they married in 1957 and moved to North Vancouver to raise their three daughters.

Bill rekindled his love for the beach when he bought a parcel of land on Denman Island in 1972. Bill retired in 1982 and a few years later he moved to Denman full-time into the house he had built himself. He became a much-loved mainstay of the community, known across the island for his warm generosity and dedicated work ethic.  Bill enjoyed island life, fishing, growing vegetables and sweet peas, and hosting annual summer parties and pancake breakfasts. At age 90 he was still beachcombing and bucking and splitting firewood. More recently, Bill enjoyed weekly lunches with the “Cane Club,” crib games with Chris Page and watching shows on the Knowledge Network.

Bill remained independent until a stroke in his 94th year necessitated some support. His family is grateful to the many friends and neighbours who looked out for him and the devoted home care workers who assisted him in his last years. We would also like to thank the Community Paramedic program, and Sean in particular.

Bill is predeceased by his parents William and Margaret, his siblings Norman Leeming and Edna Smith, and his wife Queenie. He is survived and dearly missed by his daughters, Stephanie (George McRae), Melinda (Roy Reichgeld) and Scenery, (Brian Casilio), grandsons Dylan and Ryder McRae, and many loving extended family members.


A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Aug. 28 at 2:30 at the Denman Island Community Hall (service outdoors to comply with COVID gathering restrictions). In lieu of flowers, a donation in Bill’s memory may be made to Knowledge Network or your favourite charity. Memories and photos may be shared at www.piercysmtwashingtonfuneral.com.