William (Bill) Hunter Kelly
A Life Well-Lived – January 19, 1932 – August 28, 2022
With great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of our dear husband, father, stepfather, grampa and great grampa, at RIH the evening of Aug. 28 – surrounded by and engulfed in the love of his wife Mary and family members.
Bill was born to William and Emily Kelly, who resided in Avola B.C. (due to William senior’s posting as CN section foreman). He was baby brother to Beth (deceased 2001) (Armand Cordonier) and Jean (deceased 1997) (Ken McDonald – deceased 2012). The family moved from there to Little Fort and ﬁnally to Kamloops. Life was good at 619 Pine Street. It was at this time that the lifelong friendship with Doug Drummond and Martin Dohm began, (with the threesome still reliving memories at Bill’s 90th birthday gathering) of boys paddling the river in their home-made kayaks, bicycling and roaming the hills and riding their Harleys in their young rebel era.
Bill’s ﬁrst job after cutting his schooling short in 1948 was as CN Crew Caller, often riding his bicycle many miles to give the ‘call’. He also worked as a masonry assistant. From there he worked as a much sought-after sawyer in numerous sawmills around the interior until ﬁnally obtaining a permanent position at CN as Conductor/Brakeman until his retirement in 1990 with the phasing out of the caboose.
In December 1955, Bill married Elizabeth (Bessie) McGillivray and whisked her away to a little sawmill shack in the Cariboo where he was then employed. After settling back in Kamloops they started their family of four girls – Cathy Marr (Kim) Aaron Marr; Tina Marr — Pat Ives (Mike – deceased) Jessica Ives (Ted Lawrence) and Jane; Libby Ives (Joe); Ali Ives (Kate) — Colleen Lepik (Kerry) Lea Lafontaine (Will) and Benoit; Scott Lepik (Shawna) and Henri, Brooklyn — Maureen Kelly (Tom Perry).
Bill, Bessie and family moved to a 50-acre hobby hay farm along the river at Vinsulla where he worked tirelessly, as well as working full-time for CN. The girls have many wonderful memories of skiing, camping, boating, waterskiing, hiking, riding and 4H. In 1988 Bessie passed away much too early, after a lengthy illness.
In 1992 Bill began (what he referred to as) Chapter 2, when after retirement, he left the hobby farm and married Mary Spencer, also adding to the mix Mary’s three grown sons – Duane Spencer (Annie) — Steve Spencer (Cheryl) Jenna, Bailie, Erika — Kelly Spencer (Jesse) Liam, Ethan — as well as Mary’s large extended family.
Bill and Mary spent great times together camping, riding, cycling, hiking, ocean kayaking and skiing, as well as many large family get-togethers with much singing, dancing and homegrown music. They travelled to many places including Bill’s parents’ birthplace in Ireland. During this time his building projects were many, transforming their home property, as well as building a get-away cabin at Mad River.
Upon suffering a major stroke in 2006, Bill remained resilient and accepting and turned to his passion of reading of BC History and amassed a large library of such. He managed to stay cheerful and often said “I’ve had a great life – all the way through”.
Being ever curious, Bill was a life-long learner. He was conﬁdent and capable with many abilities – though always humble. He is described by his daughters and stepsons as a man of integrity and a wonderful role model to them as well as his grandchildren. He was well loved, and his large presence will be terribly missed.
The family would like to thank Dr. Montgomery, Rebecca and Pearl for their compassionate care, and also Bill and Mary’s supportive neighborhood.
A celebration of life will be held at Sandman Centre (300 Lorne Street) on
Saturday, October 29 at 1 pm. Lunch to follow.