It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Bill Backer of Chemainus, BC, at the age of 85.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Anne Randi, his brother Helmut (Andrea), three sons Ralph (Judi), Gerald (Beth) and Harold (Liz) and 7 grandchildren Lara, Jenelle, Melanie, Adelaide, Emma, Katherine and Harrison. He was predeceased by his brother Hans-Bernd.
Bill was born in the town of Weener, in northwestern Germany, and attended the Hermann-Lietz Schule on the island of Spiekeroog, where he learned English and the value of hard work. He later received training in scientific seed breeding. He immigrated to Canada in 1950, docking in Quebec City and taking a train across the country to Vancouver. He first worked in the logging industry in Gordon River and the Yukon, followed by a stint in the mining industry with Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co. in the Yukon and then Flin Flon, Manitoba. It was in the Yukon where he met his wife, Anne Randi. He then became a stationary engineer, working for Manitoba Hydro in Selkirk, Manitoba. In 1965, the West Coast lured him back again, this time to work in Chemainus for BC Hydro. In 1968, he moved his family to Ilo, Peru, where he worked 13 years in the power plant for Southern Peru Copper Corporation. His love for the local area drew him back here once again, to settle in Saltair and then Chemainus. He completed his working career as the Manager of Plant Operations at Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver and retired in 1994.
Bill was a loving husband, father and Opa and cared deeply for his family. He had a great love of beauty in all its many forms – music, art and the outdoors. He loved being outside and close to the sea, enjoyed exploring, fishing and beekeeping, and throughout his life, always had a well-maintained yard with many varied plants and a fabulous garden. He was of the salt of the earth, steeped in those enduring values that keep a culture moored on bedrock.
At Bill’s request, there will be no funeral service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary or the Salvation Army. A gathering will be held at a later date to honor his memory.