OBITUARY

William James Hague

December 24, 1928May 6, 2022
The family of Bill Hague wishes to inform you of his passing on May 6, 2022 at age 93 due to Pulmonary Fibrosis. William James Hague - Bill, was born in Toronto in 1928 and born again in a Sunday school class on December 19, 1943, 5 days before his 15 birthday, after having attended a series of Gospel Meetings at High Field Road Gospel Hall in Toronto. From that turning point to the end of his life Bill was always keen to see souls saved for eternity; his converts included his father, sisters and co-workers. Bill was athletic, playing hockey into his 60s, and followed the NHL up until his passing. As a youngster, for 75 cents he would attend Saturday home games of his beloved Maple Leafs. He also enjoyed writing poetry and limericks, usually humorous recollections of events in his life. His spiritual outreaches as a young man were various and creative. At one point he constructed a large float that was towed behind his car. The float was a large two-sided billboard that contained Bible verses for the public to read and was towed down Yonge Street in Toronto. It was used often and effectively at outdoor gospel meetings, as people would stop by out of curiosity. Bill would park it in key traffic areas during rush hour, and stored it on a friend’s lawn at a busy Toronto intersection. After Bill left Toronto, it was even seen on TV in front of the Billy Graham crusade of 1956. Bill was a butcher by trade. As a young teenager, Bill worked at his Uncle’s meat processing factory until his sister found him a job as a butcher trainee in a local meat market, which would start him on his career path. Three independent stores and some time at Loblaw’s gave him the skills to find work on either side of the country. He also excelled in door-to-door dairy and bakery sales (using horse and buggy), a gift he used for his Lord and Saviour. Breaking the sales records of various companies along the way, it was this same gift that gave Bill the confidence to engage in door-to-door solicitation for tent meetings, and locating children to come to Sunday school as he did in Deep Cove in North Vancouver, and in Brandon Manitoba. It was his involvement in gospel outreach that started him west. One summer in 1952, the 22-year-old went to help gospel preacher George McKinley in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. George needed help knocking door to door and giving out invitations to Gospel meetings. Getting there was a challenge; there were no highways to speak of. The only route was into the USA, through the strait of Mackinac in a car ferry and eventually heading back north into Canada. The roads were muddy and unkempt, but he and a newly saved Bible student visiting from England, who became a life-long friend, set out for what was to be a 2-week trip. When they arrived Bill went door to door, store to store nonstop with invitations. While in the prairies Bill heard rave reviews about the mountains in the west, particularly Banff and it piqued his interest. He was halfway there already, and his friend encouraged him to go further. ‘You may never get another chance’ he predicted. So placing his friend on a bus for a long journey back to Toronto, Bill turned his new 1950 Dodge toward the west. He found himself in awe of the mountains in Banff and applied for a butcher job. But the busy tourist season had just passed, and the owner of the market suggested he go to Vancouver for work. Bill liked the idea, so planned to drive there, sell his car and fly home. Bill knew no one in Vancouver, but fellowship in a Gospel Hall means you have family everywhere. On the second Sunday in town, he was attending the 16th Avenue Gospel Hall and agreed to open the gospel service for an elder, Mr. Leslie Jones. Mr. Jones and his wife Mary were quite cordial and invited Bill back to their home for tea - many times as it turned out. It was a bonus that Bill had a car in which to drive the Jones home from church, and that bonus had a further reward. Bill had easily found a new meat cutting job and planned to stay in Vancouver for 3 months before heading back to Toronto. But, Mr. and Mrs. Jones had a daughter named Gwyneth, and that changed everything. Bill thought Gwyneth was older than her 16 years, but after courting her for 2 years, wisely married her. But Leslie and Mary also had a son, David. Bill and David soon became good friends and joint workers in a new gospel outreach in Deep Cove. Much of Bill and Gwyneth’s dating was done building that outreach with Dave and Evelyn; door-to-door work, Sunday schools, preaching and teaching, and removing stumps from a newly acquired piece of property on which the Deep Cove Gospel Hall was built. Bill and Gwyneth then purchased a property for themselves in Deep Cove and built a home which was used for many sing-a-longs and outreaches. Some in the audience today may have benefited from that work in Deep Cove. Toronto had been left far behind. His time in Deep Cove was his highlight years, a time that saw the birth of his four children; Randall, Leslie, Margaret, and Marie. In 1967 Bill was head-hunted away to Brandon Manitoba to work with the Manitoba Wheat Pool – Meat Division. Brandon was his opportunity to introduce his 2 sons to hockey, playing in sub-zero temperatures in outdoor arenas. It was a sport the boys played for many years - not only in leagues but often with their father and coach – a great bonding time. Under Bill’s management, the company grew so well that a much larger competitor purchased the Meat Division and the family returned to Vancouver. Bill started to attend South Main Street Gospel Hall, the building where he had been married, and now he would help as an elder. Again, his interest in outreach included focusing on the young, and in the early 1970s with Duncan Hay started a sports club in the local school where the boys could play floor hockey and hear a gospel message. He had started a similar outreach in Deep Cove in the 1960s, a work that carried on for many years. From Vancouver and Richmond, he eventually moved to Abbotsford and then to Langley. His experience in the meat industry started as a butcher and carried him into management of a meat processing plant and sales to large wholesale customers, and eventually to running a small meat market on Fraser Street. Bill spent a lot of personal time bunkered down studying his Bible, preparing his sermons and writing articles. He carried on a small Bible study in his apartment until he was 89 years of age. Gwyneth was his great support and passed away in 2015 and Bill very much missed her presence. He was doing well physically until 2017 when a motor vehicle accident gave him a serious back injury that would greatly curtail his activities. But he passed on with a good mind – he could still recite many Bible verses, the winning teams of most Stanley Cups, and the key hockey players of the 1940s and 1950s. But these things are now passed for him, and Bill will be rejoicing in the presence of his Saviour. Bill and Gwyneth were blessed with 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and currently 14 great-grandchildren Bill was buried at Langley Lawn Cemetery (SW corner of 44 Avenue and 208 Street in Langley) on May 18, 2022 at 1:00 pm.

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