William Russell McAuley

April 29, 1942 – January 16, 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Bill McAuley on January 16, 2021 in Mission, BC. Bill, the only child of William and Sarah McAuley, was born on April 29, 1942 in Paisley, Scotland.
When Bill was six, the family moved to Port McNeill where life in a logging camp was very different from post war Paisley. Bill’s short pants and Scottish accent did not go unnoticed. Despite the initial teasing, Bill grew to love his new home. During these formative years, he developed a deep appreciation for nature and the rugged beauty of the west coast.
Eventually the family moved to Burnaby where Bill completed his schooling and then, at UBC, his teacher’s training. After one year of teaching, he sailed on the Oriana for what would be three years of adventure. First came New Zealand and Australia, followed by Sri Lanka and India, then through the Khyber Pass to the Middle East and Europe.
During his travels, Bill had a number of character building jobs: brickie’s helper in Te Kuiti, cray fisherman in the Abrolhos Islands, grain car loader in Geraldton, encyclopedia salesman in Sydney and Perth, grape picker in Italy and warehouse worker at Ein Koop Liquor Wholesalers in London.
Upon Bill’s return to Canada, he resumed teaching in Maple Ridge. It was here that he met his future wife, Elspeth. Within their first year of marriage, they were off to the Peace River Country where they embraced the northern lifestyle and welcoming hospitality. Life was a merry go round of teaching, Bill’s first principalships, skiing, curling, socializing and somehow fitting in time for Bill and Elspeth to complete their degree requirements.
As soon as the degrees were completed, Europe was calling once again. This time it was a 10,000 mile trip with side jaunts to Morocco and Yugoslavia. Driving was rather harrowing at times, as the trip was completed in a right hand drive camper van.
Next, life became more serious. It was time to add to the family and in 1972 Michael was born. Bill began work on his master’s degree in administration. The family relocated to Mission where they built their dream home on Silvermere Lake. In 1976, Jennifer was born.
Bill spent 23 years working as a principal in a number of Mission schools that accommodated K to 12 students. He believed in maintaining a safe, respectable and all inclusive environment for his students and staff. He was active professionally and within the community as well.
Good relationships were built with both the Indo Canadian and First Nations groups. The latter group honoured him with beautiful traditional art work, a button blanket and vest upon his retirement
Retirement opened up new doors for Bill, giving him the opportunity to give back to the community he loved. He became active in the Mission Heritage Association, helping develop and seeing projects, such as the walking path around Heritage Park and the bridge across D’Herbomez Creek, to completion. Bill was presented with the District of Missions’ Arts and Culture Award in 2008.
Bill was a man of many talents and interests – literature, history, public speaking, drama, fitness, scuba diving etc. He was also a kind man, always smiling, always willing to lend a hand. He loved a lively conversation; he was a natural orator and debater.
But Bill’s happiest and proudest moments were always reserved for his family, his wife, his children and the three “grands”.
Please remember Bill with “a wee deoch an’ doris”. He would like that.
Bill is survived by his loving family: Elspeth, his wife of 54 years, his son Michael (Kimberley), his daughter Jennifer {Cory) and his grandchildren, Abigail, Sophie and Isaac. Also friends and family far and near.
Special thanks to Gil and Dennis who shared many of Bill’s adventures and who were so kind during his decline.
Be happy for this moment.
This moment is your life.
Omar Khayam

Woodlawn Mission Funeral Home – 604-826-9548Obituary


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