William James Douceland Stark

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of William James Douceland Stark. The battle to save his life ended on Wednesday February 2, 2022 at 8 pm.

Bill was born in Toronto ON, on July 9, 1948. He would fondly say, “I was raised by wolves on Toronto Island”. Bill credited his creativity to the experiences he had growing up in that ‘magical place’.  As a boy, Bill learned to sail, handle a canoe, and compete in white-water kayaking. After moving to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, he loved to camp, discovered the joy of fly fishing and both Bill and his partner Josie were drawn to the calming effects of kayaking on the lakes of Vancouver Island.

Bill’s love and appreciation of all things ‘nature and ecology’ were reflected in everything he put his creative efforts into. Bill was a fountain of information and had a contagious zest for learning. Walking with him through the woods or by the water was always an education. He never went out on any excursion without his binoculars and he would aptly share the details of all he observed. No small thing escaped his notice or dampened his enthusiasm to reproduce it in some artistic fashion. He was talented and successful at anything he put his mind to. Bill loved life, and he was kind and generous. One of his last comments to me while discussing the state of his health was, “I am ready to meet my maker, but I don’t want to leave Josie.”

Bill is survived by his partner, Josie Parsons, his sisters: Carmen, Patricia, Janice (Currie), his brother, Joel; his nieces and nephews, too many to name, but no less loved.

The first time my brother Billy acted as my hero was when we, as kids, were swimming in Lake Ontario the day after an undertow. He and I had found a sand bar and were bobbing along happily, when all at once there was no sand below me and I began to sink. I was going down rapidly when I felt my brother pull me back up by my long hair until my head broke the surface. I was terrified, and he took me back to shore and sat with me until I stopped shaking. Would I be here right now without his quick thinking? Thank you, brother Billy from the bottom of my heart. Your loving sister, Carmen.

Brother Billy was a character who brought incredible colour to our world. As an artist, he saw life through a different set of lenses. One picture he drew showed a park setting where trees sat relaxing on park benches, with boughs for arms lazily spread over the backs of the benches and their trunks formed into crossed legs.

Scattered throughout the park, where one would imagine trees, Billy had drawn several, identical looking business men all dressed in trench coats, wearing fedoras, carrying briefcases and standing rigid and erect. This drawing provided me with a tiny, little peak into his delightful imagination. One of my warm memories of Billy was during the Christmas of 1966. Our father Hugh died suddenly on December 2nd, and our mother Rita was inconsolable. Sadly, financial issues would not be settled until well into the New Year and the holidays were looming. Mom did not work outside the home, at the time, which created quite a hardship. Billy was living away at the time; however, he returned home and created a most memorable Christmas for all of us. I was so proud of him, and I told him so on many occasions. Billy, you will be missed. With Love, Patty.

One of my fondest memories of Billy was during that same time Patty made reference to. I always admired his beautiful hands. At 17, he’d taken a job in a factory, to help out our mom. I don’t recall the length of time he worked there, but I was saddened by the condition of his hands. Every Friday after work, he would sit across the table and allow me to give him an awkward manicure and rub lotion into his hands. He seemed so much older than he actually was. I cherish that memory. Never forgotten Bill, Love Jannie.

Upon hearing that Bill had died, our brother Joel responded by saying, “I hope Billy is running wild. ” The thought of Bill, free and running wild, gives us all some comfort.

Lastly, we would like to extend our appreciation to the first responders, the doctors and nurses of the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to:

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

By phone: 250-479-0211

By Mail: 6873 Swan Lake Rd, Victoria BC V8X 3W1


Partnering with http://CanadaHelps.org makes it easy to make a donation online.  Through their website, donations to Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary can be made by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal and CanadaHelps.org gift certificates.

Thanks to everyone,

Josie Parsons, the Parsons, Stark and Currie families.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Great memories of “ Uncle Billy”… fondly remembered, will be sorely missed.💐

  2. My sincerest condolences to Josie, Janice, Carmen, Patti and Joel and the families. Billy was my closest friend and a person who enriched my life. Take care.

  3. Bill as I knew him was a beloved character full of knowledge and creativity. His passion for ducks, I recall, strangely wonderful! Why ducks? I know in my heart he is looking down on us from the spirit world, free from worry or care but missing Josie. He will be missed.
    My condolences to family and friends.

  4. A very lovely eulogy for Bill. I will miss our email chats and his FB etc. postings. I had not seen Bill since our early Island days and I do remember his family who were all nice folks. RIP Bill.

  5. Audrey Murphy nee Brown

    O my God! Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions! Verily I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
    O my Lord! purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount. – Abdu’l-Baha
    A long time friend of the Stark Family I send my condolences and this Baha’i prayer for the departed, to all of those who are experiencing the loss of Bill.
    Thank you for the beautiful words of remembrance.

  6. Billy, dear Billy, a close and dear friend. We each put up with our individual indiosyncrasies over the years. He the good man helped me out of a awkward situation way back when. We played, explored, drank and did many crazy things over the years. You could not ask for a more loyal friend.

  7. Happy trails, bro! Condolences to those he loved.

  8. Kim (Wangelin) Nickel

    So sorry to hear of Billy’s passing. Reading the heartwarming stories of him reminded me of my Uncle Milton. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to get to know Billy, it sounds like he was a wonderful person. My sincere condolences to my cousins ❤️

  9. Maureen Dinsmore Bell

    I am an Islander, who left when I was 9. As a Dinsmore, I remember the Parsons name. Sending condolences and prayers from the Ted and Theresa Dinsmore family. Once an Islander, always an Islander.

  10. So sad to hear of my cousin Billy passing! I remember great times visiting him and the family on the island in Canada. Being from the city, I was so excited to visit the island, it was so beautiful there and I loved it!! Condolences to all the family, memories will keep him close to your heart! He is free and with OUR loved ones! Dianne 🦆

  11. Oh Josie I am so sad for you. Sounds like you two lived a great adventure in life and my wish for you is to continue to find peace in all the things you shared in that wonderful time of your lives. Hoping remembering will bring you comfort. Love. Aunt Lois

  12. Patti Elizabeth Perdue-Jones

    A beautifully poignant remembrance of your darling Billy…Sending comforting and understanding Hugs and Fond Sentiments to All the Family…He shall always snuggle sweetly in your blessed hearts….💖💞

  13. Marlaina (Hamburgh) Blanche

    It was so sad to lose Billy after just getting reacquainted with him on our Toronto Island Memories (TIM) Facebook group. He was a regular contributor of heartfelt, beautifully crafted stories related to his childhood on the Island. It was obvious that he remained a loyal Islander throughout his life even though he lived on an island thousands of miles away. We will miss his lovely stories of our shared childhood on our “magical Island”. Our heartfelt condolences to Billy’s family from his Island Friends. ❤️

  14. Dear Josie,
    As an ex-Islander now living in England, I have many fond memories of Billy. You may remember that I attended the reunion in something like 2014. That is the occasion that I met you for the first time. The three of us spent time together which I enjoyed very much. My sincere condolences to you and Carman and the rest of the family. Billy will live on in our hearts forever.

  15. Such lovely family memories of your brother, Billy….so heartfelt and beautifully written! I wish I could have met him! (…as well as Chris’s mom, Dorothy.)
    Chris remembers fondly, Billy working on and sharing stories about his catamaran! Chris was young, but remembers him well.
    We send prayers of comfort and the warmth of your family’s love. -Chris & Nancy

  16. Oh I am sad and send my heart to Bill’s family and friends. We moved to the Toronto Islands in 1974 and met Starky soon after. A great story teller and artist and wild man. Met him later on Facebook and shared our love of Canadian Painters. I’ll keep him in my heart and laugh.

  17. Took a few days to post. Had to think a lot, and this will not do justice. I will always remember, and can see Bill’s face as he would begin to tell a story or remembrance and start cracking up before he could finish, which in turn would make you crack up. He always made me laugh. Remember when he brought Josie ‘home’ and we met her, and I thought….is he nuts…she is so young….turns out he was right and she was it.
    To the many memories, and to his amazing talent, I salute. He did some fantastic work that I have seen of recent.
    To his deep love of his family, I love.
    To the friendship he provided, and to that slow smile which preceded that laugh I will always hear and see in my mind.
    To his rendition of ‘..why don’t you all just ffffffffffade away…talking bout my generation
    Thought I/we would see you again Bill……see you later
    Love and regards, Lisa E/Mortimore

  18. Josie Parsons

    Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part. Bill was a Christian and is with Christ. Thank you for your kind words and prayers.

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