Jan 26, 1939 – May 29, 2018
The Legend of “Blueberry Bill”
“Blueberry Bill” was born William Charles Whaley in Toledo, Ohio, on January 26, 1939. At age 6 he moved to Grand Valley, Ontario to be raised by his grandmother, staying with her until completing his grade 8 graduation. When he was 16 he decided it was time to find work and enlisted a year later with the Canadian Royal Navy where he spent 3 years travelling the world. In 1959, Bill made his way to Kitchener, Ontario where he met a young lady named Janet Miller, who became the love of his life, and they were married in 1963. One year later the two became three and daughter Kimmy was born to them.
For many years, Bill experienced the trials and tribulations of being a salesman, but it finally paid off when, in 1966, he was hired by McCain Foods to become their sales rep for the Toronto market. Within a year and a half, he was promoted to sales manager for the Atlantic Provinces with the same company. He had found his niche and the journey began. Soon after, another promotion led him and his family to BC where Bill became sales manager for Alberta & British Columbia, but it didn’t end there.
After 6 years with McCain, he decided to pursue even bigger goals, purchasing a frozen food company in Mission, BC called Westvale Foods, a fruit & vegetable co-op. After selling Westvale Foods in 1981, Bill joined the BC Blueberry Co-Op as general manager, where he remained until 1993. It was here he acquired the playful moniker, “Blueberry Bill.”
Branching out on his own at age 54, Bill fearlessly undertook to start his own business. In only 30 days he drew up a business plan for a new company called Berryhill Foods, which would process and market cultivated blueberries and raspberries. Coupling his good nature with an unhindered expertise in marketing and sales, Berryhill Foods came to life May 1, 1994 and became his pride and joy. He called himself “the old berry man” and there was no stopping him!
Bill was joined by his good friend Tom Phillips, who became a key partner, operations manager and shareholder in the company, along with five other shareholders. Together they created a world class operation and memories to last a lifetime.
Bill always acknowledged those around him and attributed his success to their faithful participation; they believed in his vision and supported it. He had a way of making those around him proud to be associated with Berryhill Foods and always taught by example.
Evidence of his accomplishments was displayed throughout the walls of his workplace and in his home, but his accomplishments were not limited to his professional achievements. Those who knew Bill understood that the passion he displayed in his work was superseded only by his remarkable devotion to his beloved wife Jan, daughter Kimmy, their 4 grandchildren Michelle, Kristie, Danny and Cindy, and 6 great-grandchildren. What started with just two grew to thirteen and together with his soulmate Jan, they created a lasting legacy in which they took great delight. There was a constant showering of hugs and kisses for the little ones for whom they provided a never-ending sense of security, advice and love, not to mention a deeply engrained enjoyment of blueberries! Life was good.
Bill & Jan were inseparable, filling their years together with extensive travel and weaving together a tapestry of rich memories. In 2011 Bill retired to continue enjoying life with family & friends, grandkids, great-grandkids and his dear Jan, who loved him endlessly.
“That man is a success – who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who leaves the world better than he found it;
who have never lacked appreciation of earthly beauty or failed to express it;
who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.” ~ Anon ~
Tributes and condolences may be left at: www.hendersonsabbotsfordfunerals.com.
Henderson’s Funeral Home 604-854-5534
Henderson’s Funeral Home