Feb. 17, 1921-Nov. 5, 2012
“Well done, good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of the Lord”
Husband to Mary for 66 years, father to eight who loved him so, grandfather to 28 who sat on his knee, great-grandfather to 29 who grasped his hands, great-great grandfather to 1 who rested in his arms, “Dad” to many who needed his love, teacher to countless hearts, friends as impossible to count as the sands of the sea…
Those left behind now mourn the loss of one that today sings happily in heaven’s choir and worships at his Saviour’s knee.
Born to Abram & Margaret Zacharias in Rosthern Saskatchewan at home on the farm, the youngest of 10 siblings, Bill enjoyed growing up surrounded by family and hard work. War became part of his world as a teenager; being of Mennonite descent Bill found himself serving his country in alternative service on Vancouver Island in the forestry division.
During this time on the Island, he discovered his need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and decided to devote his life to teaching others about God’s Word. Here he also became “pen-pals” with his bunk-mate’s cousin whom he had never met despite living just six miles from her all his life.
In 1946 he married this same pen-pal Mary Elias. In her he found a partner who would share his passion for ministry, for family and for life. During their years in Saskatchewan Bill pastored at various churches and taught in Bible School. In 1964 they made the decision to move west to Chilliwack, B.C. With a family allowance cheque they made a deposit on a home on Young Rd, and later moved to a farm on Lickman Rd. In addition to working this land, Bill did various jobs around town including night shifts at Eaton’s, Safeway and York Farms. They also enjoyed a “Donut House” business venture which found the whole family in aprons frying donuts and serving coffee. His passion for teaching the Word of God was still first and foremost; after assisting in the preaching and teaching at a small church in town, the family joined Chilliwack Alliance in 1970. He taught the adult Sunday School class there for over 40 years! After moving from the farm in 1974 they found a brand new home with Sardis Park as their backyard. Later they would move to Herrling Island and then to a home on Wells Rd. where he happily tended his flowers and loved to mow his lawn.
His retirement years brought a hobby back to life. Bill always had a passion for woodworking and was thrilled to have the time and space to explore this in his 70’s & 80’s. His days were spent wielding the scroll saw and many weekends were spent with Mary at local malls and craft fairs, selling his beautiful country pine creations and sharing his smile with all who passed by.
Upon his “2nd retirement” from woodworking, his love of creating things continued as he crafted thousands of small wooden cars to be sent in “shoebox” gifts overseas with Samaritan’s Purse.
The passing of this man, this giant in the life of all who knew him, leaves a hole so great that one would think it’s impossible to go on. Except for the fact that he taught us all better than this… he taught us to rejoice in his passing, because “to be absent in the body is to be present with Christ”. And why, oh why, would we ever be sad about that?
Left then to “rejoice” is his wife Mary, his eight children David, Paul, Judy, Daniel, Dennis, Leonard, Rodney & Lois, his daughters and sons-in law (and in heart), a fruitful collection of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson, numerous nieces and nephews and an abundance of those who considered him “Dad”,“Teacher”, “Friend”.
In heaven he joined one son, Jonathan, his parents, all his siblings, some nephews and nieces and many friends.
On November 16, 2012, all who knew and loved him are invited to Chilliwack Alliance Church to celebrate his life. Viewing in the chapel from 10:00-11:00am; Graveside Service 11:30 (Vedder View Gardens); Celebration of Life at 1:30pm.
If you would like to donate to a cause close to Bill’s heart, please consider supporting the “Shoebox” ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.
Bye-bye Sweet-heart, bye-bye Daddy; you went first, as was your hope, so you could show us all around… we look forward to meeting you there.