William John Weigand
Bill passed away peacefully with his beloved wife Jeri by his side, in Whitehorse, Yukon, the place that filled his heart from the day he arrived in 1946. Later he became a Lifetime Member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers.
Bill was born in St. James (Winnipeg), Manitoba, the third child of Edwin and Mary Weigand. He left Winnipeg at a young age after working as a paper carrier for the Winnipeg Free Press and at the Midwest Aircraft Factory. In Assiniboia he worked at 334 EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School), then in Edmonton and Morinville, Alberta where he was an auto mechanic.
Bill arrived in Whitehorse in late fall 1946, at the age of 18, to work at the Army Fire Hall. This began his lifelong love of the Yukon, and all the adventures, the successes, the lasting friendships, and his family, that make up the wonderful life stories that are his legacy. Bill’s wife Sophie came to Yukon in 1948 and their son Darryl and daughter Brenda-Dawne (Buni) were born in Whitehorse. In 1966 Bill met Jeri and they were married in 1968, bringing together all their children that became Bill’s treasured family.
Bill drove all of Yukon’s highways from border to border many times over five decades. He loved the outdoor life in Yukon, camping and fishing on Tagish, Marsh and Fish Lakes, exploring the dusty roads around Dawson City and Atlin, and mining on Bonanza Creek. In his work life over many years Bill was a firefighter, fire officer, fire inspector, a goldsmith who became a co-owner of Murdoch’s Gem Shop in 1965, and later a retail merchant with his wife Jeri with Designers North, and a realtor with ReMax in the 1990’s. Bill was honoured to serve as the Mayor of Whitehorse from 1991 – 1994. In the community over the years he served as Cub Master, (Camp Takhini), President of the Whitehorse Kiwanis Club, the Downtown Business Association, the Yukon Federal Conservative Party, and Chairman of the Yukon Utilities Board, and the first Yukon Liquor Board. In 1998 Bill was honoured with the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award and in 2005 he was presented the “Yukon High Commissioner’s Award for Public Service”.
Bill and his wife Jeri departed from Whitehorse in 1995 for Xining, China, and later Beiha, China where they volunteered as foreign experts in business. They were awarded the “Golden Silk Ball Award”, and the prestigious “Friendship Award” in 1998. Bill had wonderful memories of their time in China where they made everlasting friendships.
Bill and Jeri settled into a retirement life in Yaletown, Vancouver, and later Steveston, Richmond, B.C.
The Yukon always called to Bill, and in 2016 he and Jeri returned to this place of familiarity, where family lived, and friends old and new, and the cycle of the seasons brought the memories full circle for Bill. His favourite season was the fall “when the mountains and forests turned golden”.
Bill is survived by the love of his life Jerrine; children Darryl (Sharon), Buni (Andrew), David, Nikki (Grant), Donald (Debra), Teri; grandchildren Dax (Katy), Kate (Ryan), Tristan (Susanne), Jesse (Shayla), Daniel, Stephen (Erika); great grandchildren Tovah, Ethan, Gabriel, Nolan, Violet. Survived by brother Ken (Dawn) and sister Rose of Edmonton and sister Connie of St. Albert, Alberta. He leaves loving extended family: Lynda and Murray, Catherine and Dave, and Gary, Amelia and Victoria. He will be remembered by many friends and family in Whitehorse, Alberta, B.C., Australia and China. Bill was pre-deceased by his parents, and his older brother Vernon.
Special thanks to Catherine, for her friendship, care, and support and to daughter Nikki for being there for Bill and Jeri over the past years. We also thank the wonderful nurses and care teams of Home Care, Thomson Centre and Wind River Hospice House for their gentle, compassionate care and family support during the last days of Bill’s life journey.
A celebration of life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers a charitable donation can be made to your charity of choice. Condolences can be left at Heritage North Funeral Home webpage.