Husband, father, newspaperman, ice cream connoisseur. Born on March 28, 1922, in Ford City, Ont.; died on March 7, 2014 in Sidney, B.C., of pneumonia, aged 91.
Bill Viveash was born in 1922, in Ford City, Ont. (now part of Windsor), to parents who had emigrated from England. He described his father, Tom, as “a mover” who had to change jobs and addresses frequently due to the difficult economic times. By the time Bill was 21, he had lived in 10 homes in Windsor and nearby Harrow. His mother, Ethel, died when Bill was 10 and he was raised by his step-mother, Mary, along with his siblings, Larry and Margaret.
By his own admission, Bill was a “shade above average” student but a keen sportsman. At 15, he was a junior track-and-field champion at his high school in Harrow. When not playing sports, he worked part-time at his father’s Harrow Creamery. For a time, he was the ice-cream maker, earning $1 a day. He developed a lifelong passion for ice cream, especially maple walnut.
Bill finished high school in 1941, in the midst of the Second World War. He tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force but was rejected because he was colour blind. With that door closed, he enrolled in Assumption College in Windsor. To help pay tuition, he sold advertisements for the college newspaper and yearbook, and worked the night shift on the Chrysler assembly line, building military trucks for the North African campaign.
Bill completed his B.A. degree shortly after D-Day in June, 1944. Still keen to get overseas, he enlisted in the army and was in England by August. After training, he served in an air observation squadron in Belgium and Holland until the end of the war. He then was stationed with the Allied occupation force in Germany until May, 1946. While on leave in London he met Betty Jupp, a beautiful young student who would become his wife and my mother.
Back on home soil, Bill built on his college ad sales experience and landed a job as a copy clerk with The Windsor Star. With a princely salary of $27.50 a week, his thoughts turned to starting a family. He persuaded Betty to come to Canada and they married in May, 1947. I came along about a year later and my sisters Christine and Elizabeth a few years after that. In the course of his 36-year career, Bill climbed the ladder at the Star, ultimately becoming advertising director and then public relations director.
Bill and Betty separated in 1973 and later divorced. In 1976, he married Shirley Butt, a charming widow whom he had met through mutual friends. They spent nearly 38 very happy years together, first in Windsor and, after his retirement in 1982, in Sidney, B.C., where they were closer to their children in British Columbia and Alberta.
They liked life on Vancouver Island, keeping busy with tennis and sailing their boat Vivacious. For several years, they spent their winters in Arizona. They also travelled abroad to places such as Malaysia, South Africa and Israel. Community service was also an important part of Bill’s life. In Windsor, he was a Rotarian for 26 years and served on the boards of the Victorian Order of Nurses, the YM-YWCA and the Windsor Symphony. In Sidney, he and Shirley were active members of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church.
In 2010, Bill fell and broke his hip. This limited his and Shirley’s ability to visit friends and relatives, including their seven blended-family children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thankfully, his bout with pneumonia was relatively short. He died in hospital just a week or so after being diagnosed. We all miss him deeply.
David Viveash is Bill’s eldest son.