William “Bill” Simpson

April 2, 1943 – April 28, 2016

” A Kind Soul ” who met every eye with respect”

An Irish lad with the Traveling Gene. Bill grew up number 5 of  6 children in a working class family. His father a bricklayer and mother, an avid reader and poet. Kicking stones as a child, resulted in being “scouted” by an English Football Club as a teenager. He followed Manchester United (disappointing as that was) until his last few weeks on this earth.

Music gave him much joy, from his fathers concertina growing up to his granddaughter guitar playing and singing in recent years. His circle of friends were in awe of Bills uncanny knowledge of obscure bands and artists. Especially Van Morrison.

Formal education at the Coleraine Academical Institution, the Coleraine Technical College, the University of Ulster and the University of Victoria nourished Bills intellect and prepared him to be a caring educator. ” The Warehouse School” became not only a teaching career, but  very important to Bill. He many times commented on the Honor he felt to be in a position to help his students believe in what they could do and become.

Bill met Jan, a ” California Girl” in Amsterdam in the summer of 1969. They were married in Coleraine in early 1970.

The Love Story began then; and ended with his death. Jan by his side throughout the 46 years together.

Bringing his wife and two young daughters to Victoria in 1975, opened another chapter of friendships , music and a sons birth. Bills nuclear family was where his heart lived.

A traveler he was. Leaving Ireland at age 19, exploring England and much of Western Europe. This is what helped to fill Bills treasure chest of Stories. The children have fond memories of family vacations that included camping on the Island and traveling to Oregon to visit friends at Cold Spring Homestead. Many fun trips driving to Southern California to visit Jans parents, Bill and Gerry Little, her Sisters Barbara, Pat and Gerry and brother Bruce as well as the many cousins culminating in a memorable trip to Disneyland. After raising his family the travel bug was biting again. Bill and Jan traveled 18 of the last 20 years,exploring new places and revisiting Bills old haunts , also reconnecting with his family in Europe. The bonds with his siblings Sheila, Derrick, Ina, Jim and Iain remain strong.

Bill will be missed by all the lives he so kindly touched.

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Condolence Messages

  1. I miss my friend and look forward to tipping a wee dram in his honor next Saturday.

  2. John Gawthrop :

    I can’t attend the Gathering next week but let me at least say here that I fondly remember Bill from Warehouse School. I was recruiting Warehouse students for the Work Orientation Workshops program at Shoreline School from 1989-1994, and Bill was one of the pillars of Warehouse Staff–its own unique family. One of the students helped by Bill is now my son-in-law. It took a special person to teach there–and to keep teaching there. The positive impact of Bill’s guidance and example on these students was impossible to measure. But it was real.

  3. Bill was my teacher when I went to Warehouse…he was so kind and understanding …one of those teachers that makes you not give up. Thank you Bill for helping me and many other teenagers through those years. Rest in Peace

  4. Jan, I was saddened to read in the T-C of Bill’s passing, but I enjoyed reading this lovely tribute to him, a man who lived his life well. Your Love Story came true and stood the test of time, and I do hope that will bring you comfort. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  5. I was a colleague of Bill on the Warehouse School staff. And, what a powerhouse of talented staff it was. Bill had a marvelous personal gift — the ability to like people for what they are. I knew about the importance of “unconditional positive regard,” but I had never seen a person so genuinely capable of conveying to students the message that he liked them. In the eyes of an alienated young person, here was an important adult man who was a leader on a staff of 14 people, who actually liked me, and who actually enjoyed having my company. How could it get any better than that for rescuing a previously marginalized young person. Because of Bill and the other similarly minded staff members, Warehouse School was an unrecognized important event in Victoria’s history.

  6. Rennie and Ruth Warburton and family :

    We met Bill when he first arrived in Victoria. He was a warm human being and a genuine practitioner of unconditional positive regard. Softly-spoken with his lilting Irish brogue and modest about his achievements, we will always remember him. Condolences to Jan and the family.

  7. Mike and Sandy Sharlow :

    So sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. I enjoyed and appreciated the professional contact I had with Bill during our years in School District 61. Bill always had a cheerful greeting, was totally devoted to his students and eager to help with the challenges they presented.
    We had many crossings over the years, as parents at Monterey Elementary, (our girls were friends) and in our retired years continually meeting and chatting at Thriftys.
    Our sincere condolences to you Jan and all the family. Bill will be missed by all!

  8. Jo-Anne Kern :

    I’m so sorry, Jan, to hear of Bill’s passing. I pass on my condolences to you and the family. I got to know Bill during the years you ran your wonderful day-care and my youngest were fortunate enough to be part of it for years. The tribute above is wonderful. I will share it with Jason and Meghan, who fondly remember Bill. All of us are out of town for today’s gathering, but my heart will be with you. I’d love to get together sometime if you can fit it in. I will include my email so you can provide yours to me down the road when you have time. I remember Bill as such a grounded person, always so easy to chat with and never one to pass judgment. Take care of each other during this time. My thoughts go out to you, Caley, Jody and Owen and their families during this time. Memories are good, and the missing is challenging.

  9. My thoughts are with jan and family tonight as many will be gathering to celebrate bill. Bill was such a beautiful combination of poet, traveller, friend, and teacher. I feel so privaleged to have spent time with him and I will miss his wisdom and kindness greatly.

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