In the spirit of one of Bill’s long winded yet wildly amusing stories, let’s get the important facts of out the way first. William Francis Degeer arrived in Lacombe on February 10, 1943. After spending his childhood there he forged a path to Edmonton and then to Slave Lake which was his home for many years. Never one to let grass grow under his feet, Bill once again ventured and decided that Peace River was a good place to hang his Tilley hat for a few years until he decided that St. Albert was the final destination to end his travels. Bill’s wife Mavis, of 48 years, kept him company on his various adventures as well as daughters: Jody and Tracy–semicolon– fun loving sons: Jake and Eric–semicolon– and proud grampa to his grandchildren: Joshua, Kyle and Charlotte. His siblings: Bob, Val, Vern, Joan, Mona and Connie gave him many years of joy and reasons to tease.
Bill loved nothing more than to get a rise out of people and dazzle them with his extended vocabulary and knowledge. His many friends that he considered family would agree that Bill was the original Google. As a pillar of generosity and kindness to everyone, Bill would help anyone out. No request was too big or small and in most cases, a stranger would become a friend. Hunting, fishing, airboats, storytelling or just sitting around and having a drink of schnapps along with a smoke would make him smile. First and foremost, family was his number one love and priority. There was no such thing as distinction between blood or chosen family members as all were equally loved and cherished by Bill.
Billy Blastoff’s life was as varied as one of his stories. His next chapter is amongst the stars that he vastly studied and adored. He will be joining his passed siblings: Del, Ev, Ed and Ken who are most likely waiting to give him a hard time as soon as he arrives. Bill’s faithful dog, Lefty, will also be there looking forward to another duck hunt. There is no such thing as goodbye in his many musings, just an “until we meet again” attitude along with his smile.
May the sun always shine upon your face
May there always be a fish on your hook
May there always be a conversation on hand wherever you are.
We will miss him.
Until then, be good.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Bill’s favourite spot on the lake.
In lieu of flowers, buy some fish hooks!!