1935 – 2012
William (Billy) Thomas Abbott was born on 16 January 1935 in Vancouver, during a snow storm, at Grace Hospital. Bill’s grandfather, Fred Abbott, came to Vancouver in 1897 from Newfoundland. Both his father, William John Abbott, and his mother, Betsy (Hastie) Abbott, were born in Vancouver. Bill attended Sir William Van Horne Elementary School, John Oliver Secondary School, the Vancouver School of Art, and UBC. He began his long teaching career in the fall of 1960 in Campbell River. For the next thirty-six years, he taught art in School District 72: CARIHI Secondary School, Phoenix Middle School, and Southgate Secondary School. He retired to West Vancouver where, for a number of years, he volunteered teaching art to seniors.
He was an artist throughout his life. During his teenage years, he was a regular at weekly figure drawing sessions at a studio behind a barber shop at Broadway & Cambie. During his retirement years, he drew at the figure drawing sessions at Basic Inquiry at Main & Terminal. Even in hospital, Bill was still sketching. He leaves behind his loving wife, Patsy, of 52 years. They met in 1st year PE at UBC, at a time when the course was still obligatory of all students. Bill and Patsy loved to travel. They visited many places in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and all around North America. Several years ago, they visited Newfoundland to see where his grandfather came from.
The most recent trips were Syria, the Black Mountains of Tennessee, and the Copper Canyon of Mexico. Bill always came home with new watercolour sketches. Bill and Patsy loved to camp around the Skagit Valley of Washington State during the summer.
Again, he always came back with sketches and watercolours. Bill leaves behind his loving family: Patsy, David, Alexandra Emlyn (Rob), Rebecca, Kate, Juliet, Rosemary Van Heukelom (Andy), Willy, Morgan, Skyler, Holly. Farley – the dog, and Molly – the cat. Bill was a wonderful, caring, and artistic husband, father and grandfather. Bill died on 16 December 2012 of pancreatic cancer. A special thanks to Dr. Peter Schwarz for his care and compassion. Also, thanks to the nurses in the Palliative Care Ward at Lionsgate Hospital. Bill was going on outings up to a week before his death.
And, he was talking art, as always, in his hospital bed. In lieu of flowers, please generously donate to your local food bank this holiday season.