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Obituary: William Thomas George Purvis

'He had a love for the outdoors and a passion for our beloved Canada that set an example for his family. He was admired by many for his integrity, and his zeal. Bill was unique, talented and independent.'

William Thomas George PURVIS

1928 - 2023

It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of William Thomas George Purvis at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver on Monday, May 15, 2023.

Bill will be greatly missed by his daughter and son in law, Mary and Alex Baker, his beloved grandchildren, Daniel Baker (Raegan Fitch), Jesse Baker (Dr Lisa Baker) and Amy Williams ( Douglas Williams) and his dear, great-grandchildren Rowan, Cameron, Simon, Duncan, Lucy and Maude. He will also be missed by the wonderful Care Givers at LMP with whom he had developed a loving bond.

Bill was born in 1928 in Winnipeg, Man., to parents Bill Sr and Daisy Purvis. At the age of 16 he graduated from high school and trained to become highly skilled telegrapher on the railroad, stationed in places like Sioux Lookout and Jones, Ontario. His young years spent working for the CPR were filled with stories of the Canadian wilderness for which he developed a vivid passion.

In 1947 he met the light of his life, Eileen Cavanaugh, who was visiting from London, England. They fell in love, married and honeymooned on the West Coast, staying at the Sylvia Hotel in English Bay, Vancouver. The Sylvia Hotel remained a very special place for them for the next seven decades as they spent many celebrations in that iconic building. They were so impressed by the West Coast that they decided to find a way to settle in Vancouver. As soon as their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born, they moved to the Coast and Bill took a Railway posting in the North of BC. Not long after that, he took a job with Empire Shipping and then Air France in Vancouver, to be close to home with his growing family.

In 1956 they bought a house in West Vancouver which they loved and in 1959 they decided to move to England to be nearer to Eileen’s parents. In the UK, Bill finally achieved entry into the creative field of advertising where he began working in the newspaper.

Iin 1963 they returned to Vancouver where he worked with the Lions Gate Times for a bit and then at the Vancouver Sun and Pacific Press enjoying a long fulfilling career until he retired at the age of 64. They lived in their beloved home in Dundarave from 1964 until Dad moved into full care in 2021. From childhood, Bill was a talented artist and over the years he created a legacy of many paintings. When he retired from Pacific Press, he was accepted into the Fine Arts Department at UBC and he completed two years of hard study. He loved both the challenge and the experience of working with young students and they returned the affection.

Bill also was an avid rose grower and hybridizer, having developed many new roses over the decades. He was a long time member of the Vancouver Rose Society and the Canadian Rose Society and won many prizes at the various shows. The first major prize was in Toronto where he won Best Red in show and Best Rose In show in 1966! An amazing feat, after having packaged and sent the cut rose, Ena Harkness, down to Toronto for the Canadian National Exhibition.

Bill was a member of the Canadian Foresters, the Legion and the United Church. He had a love for the outdoors and a passion for our beloved Canada that set an example for his family. He was admired by many for his integrity, and his zeal. Bill was unique, talented and independent.

The family wish to thank Little Mountain Place for the compassion and care they showed to our Dad every day of the two years he was there. We also wish to express our sincere appreciation for the close attention shown to him by his Physician, Dr. Judith Hammond, whose support was immeasurable.

Bill’s cremated remains were interred in Capilano View Cemetery on June 1st, 2023.

A Celebration of the Lives of Eileen and Bill Purvis will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, June 24, at West Vancouver United Church, 2067 Esquimalt in West Vancouver.

In lieu of flowers, donation to the Heart and Stroke Society or the Diabetes Society would be appreciated.

Condolences may be sent to Hollyburn Funeral Home,