Remembering Bill Tarry
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE
PRESIDENT OF DOUG TARRY HOMES
By now I’m sure many of you have heard about the passing of our beloved brother Bill Tarry. I wanted to share some thoughts with you eloquently written by Dan Post as we deal with the loss of our friend, brother, husband, father, mentor, business partner / associate and all around great person.
Bill was an accomplished and honourable man in every aspect of his life. Beyond his innumerable successes and enviable list of experiences, the way in which Bill carried himself through this world was greatly admired by everyone he met.
His love and respect for other people was evident in his every action, and his words simply held more weight than the average person. He cared deeply for his family, his friends and his community, and he spent his whole life dedicated to their happiness and well-being.
Bill was exceedingly strong and an athletic force. e nicest guy you ever met, but not someone you wanted to line up across from on the rugby pitch or the football field during his days playing for the University of Guelph. He was a passionate outdoors enthusiast who shared his love of camping with multiple generations of family and friends. Deep into a backcountry paddling trip in Algonquin Park, Bill was the first one across the portage, with a canoe over his head and a loaded wooden box strapped to his back. And yet, he could be careful with a curling rock, precise with a puer, and graceful on the dance floor.
Bill saw parts of the world most of us can only dream of visiting. His final tally was 37 different countries with his wife, friend and soulmate Linda, with each place adding further to his curiosity and appreciation of other people and their cultures. In the heyday of his youth, Bill famously rode a motorcycle across Western Canada, hitchhiked across Europe and paddled halfway across Canada – a journey that started in Prince Rupert, BC, wound through the prairies, and finally ended near Lake Winnipegosis where only a winter’s freeze could stop his canoe. In the second act of his life, alongside his loving wife Linda, together they flew and drove and cruised around the world, stopping to smell the roses (and the wine) in countless exotic destinations.
Here in St. Thomas, Bill will be remembered most for what he gave back to the community and how he contributed so greatly its growth. rough his work as the long-time VP of Construction with Doug Tarry Limited and once President of the St. Thomas & Elgin Homebuilders’ Association, Bill was a tireless steward of quality craftmanship and an award-winning champion for innovation in the Canadian construction industry. Bill was very proud of his staff and his trades partners, and immensely proud of the many contributions that his family’s business has made to the well-being of the city.
Bill was magnanimous and mighty, caring and conscientious, and the downright funniest, most respectful human being you could ever know. We are all greater for having known him, and the world was truly a beer place with him in it. Wherever he is, he can rest easy knowing that he left no stone unturned, made no enemies, and truly gave it everything he had. We are all greater for having known him and he will be dearly missed.
CROSS-CANADA CANOE TRIP
[as told by Greg Tarry, Bill’s brother]
Bill, Mike (Atkinson) and I started the journey on the North Coast of British Columbia, in Prince Rupert on the Skeena River on June 1, 1972. We took the VIA rail train to Burns Lake on the Endako River, then headed east to the Nechako River.
We almost lost our gear on the Isle de Pierre Rapids, but we only swamped the canoe and then went to shore half-filled with water. After that episode, we went to Prince George for more food supplies. From there we portaged the summit between the Fraser and Parsnip rivers to meet the Finlay River, and then connected to the Peace River, which leads North to the Arctic Ocean via the Mackenzie River and South to the Pacific Ocean via the Fraser.
We canoed the newly-made Williston Lake, which had recently been created by the BC premier W.A.C. “Wacky” Bennett. Below the surface we saw a virgin forest now gone. We portaged around the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and set out again on the Peace until we got into more rapids. is time we rolled the canoe and hung onto the side for half an hour. Bill was the bowman and he’d managed to and a paddle. He rode the canoe upside down like he was breaking a mustang, and he got us to an island shore. As I floated alongside the canoe, the only thought in my head was the voice of a coxswain saying ‘Row. Row. Row’ in rhythm with the paddling cadence of my brother Bill.
That day we set up camp on this island and dried everything out. Later the next day, as we continued on we spotted a shiny tin and headed right for it. A can of peanut buer… 60 miles downstream from where we flipped! We had a late lunch of sardines, bannock and Jiffy.
Bill and Mike had to buy new boots, so they hitchhiked to Fort St. John in bare feet. Bill told me the salesman took one look at them and said, “I think I know what you want.” Bill always made us laugh.
We continued up the Peace River beyond Wood Buffalo National Park (Alberta), and on to Uranium City (Saskatchewan) on the north shore of Lake Athabasca. From there we made our way to the Fond du Lac River on the east end of the lake. We followed the river going upstream then portaged to the town on Wollaston Lake. After that we went southeast to Reindeer Lake, then on the Sturgeon Weir River, the Reindeer River, the Churchill River, and then on to Cumberland House where we carried over the Frog Portage* on the way.
We went to the Saskatchewan River through Flin Flon, Manitoba and then e Pas, Manitoba near Kelsey Lake (Just West of Lake Winnepegosis). Around September 20th, almost 4 months since the start of our journey, we got the train back to London and then home to St. Thomas.
*Frog Portage or Portage du Traite was one of the most important portages on the Voyageur route from Eastern Canada to the Mackenzie River basin. It allowed boatmen to move from the Saskatchewan River basin to the Churchill River basin. (Wikipedia