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William McKillop 'Bill' Stuart

March 13, 2024


November 23, 1934 - March 13, 2024

In Loving Memory ~

An enthusiastic supporter of classical musicians, opera singers and sailing partners, Bill passed away peacefully at Nanaimo Regional Hospital after several months of failing health. He sailed away on his final voyage.

Bill was the surviving twin, born and cherished by parents William & Euphemia (Effie) Stuart in Greenock, Scotland, a small town outside of Glasgow, along the River Clyde.

At age 16 Bill began employment with the Commercial Bank of Scotland and worked at several of the Bank's branches, including a two-month spell in Barra in the Western Isles. Bill had a great time in Barra and developed a lasting friendship with the American Chief of Clan MacNeill and the local Catholic Priest... who relied on Bill's recommendations for movies to bring in and show at the local parish hall.

Mandatory National Service briefly (1953-1955) interrupted Bill's banking career. Like his father and grandfather before him, he served with the Gordon Highlanders. His service included a year in Malaya helping to combat the Communists who were trying to destroy Malaya's economy and gain control of the country. Bill would always say this was "nothing like the battle the Americans had fighting the Communists in Vietnam!"

In 1958 he resigned from the Scottish bank, and after holidaying for a couple of months, including his first trip to Paris, he immigrated to Canada to work for the Royal Bank. He counted himself very lucky to be posted to the West Coast and served in several branches throughout the lower mainland.

In 1964, Bill accepted a credit officer position with the Federal Business Development Bank (today called BDC) and in 1965 the FBDB transferred Bill to Victoria, and he has lived on the Island ever since.

Bill met his first wife and mother of his three children, Elizabeth Hansen (predeceased in 2018) in 1960. After completing his CGA in 1978, Bill went into private practice and taught first and second-year accounting at North Island College.

In 1982, Bill accepted a full-time teaching position at Vancouver Island University (prev Malaspina College) in Nanaimo. He retired in 2001 but found his first retirement project teaching Accounting at Capilano University's sister campus in Beirut, Lebanon where he arrived 3 weeks before 9/11.

Bill's year in the Middle East was enlightening and that is where he developed an appreciation for alternate cultures and perspectives.

Along the way, he nurtured his passions for camping, hiking, and sailing his 26' Catalina. A welcome member of the Ladysmith Yacht Club, Bill would be relied upon to Address the Haggis at the annual Robbie Burns Night.

One of the founding members of the Campbell River Concert Association, Bill's love of classical music and engaging stage plays immersed him in the Nanaimo, Chemainus, Victoria and Vancouver cultural scene and were the catalyst for lifelong friendships with many artists & performers.

During the 90s' Bill and 2nd wife, Sharon Wishart (an accomplished pianist and voice coach) hosted numerous concerts from their home on the hillside above the VIU campus.

Bill had a great sense of humour; he loved to teach and was tireless in sharing his wealth of knowledge about WWI and WWII history, composers, poets, movies, plays, and artists. He was always interested in world events and enjoyed a lively discussion, especially about the unbelievable current state of politics and the reliability or unreliability of different news sources.

Loyal to friends and family, Bill was predeceased by his parents, twin brother and first wife, Liz; he is survived and will be missed by his children: Katharine (Gary) Stockford, Gillian Stuart (Ron) Pankratz and Charles Stuart; his grandchildren: Brian (Diana), Stephanie (Will) and Thomas Ovens, and Nicollette and Emily (Cam) Stuart; and many yacht club, Probus and artist friends.

He leaves a wealth of wonderful stories and a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

In lieu of flowers, please take some precious time to support your local artists and musicians, in Bill's memory.

There will be a Celebration of Life at 1 pm on Saturday, November 23rd (which would have been Bill's 90th Birthday) at Christ Community Church, 2221 Bowen Road (they have a superb grand piano and the best acoustics...). Guests are invited to share "tall tales" of this remarkable individual!

"Don't worry, Dad... as promised, we'll play Bach at your funeral," Kat, Gillsey & Charlie xoxo

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Saturday, November 23, 2024
1:00 PM
Christ Community Church, 2221 Bowen Road

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