William Archibald Irwin
March 24, 1920 – February 9, 2013
IRWIN, William (Bill) Archibald
William (Bill) A. Irwin passed away peacefully on February 9, 2013 at Vernon Hospice House. Bill was born in Princeton, B.C. on March 24, 1920. He grew up skiing at the Amber Ski Club, managed by his parents Albert “Pop” and Ethel “Mom” Irwin. When WW II broke out, Bill served as ski instructor to The Lovett Scouts in Jasper. After the war, he moved back to Princeton to work as a carpenter. He married Mary Whieldon in 1945. Bill and his brother Bert were both named to the Canadian Ski Team for the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, competing in all the ski events – cross country, jumping, slalom, and G.S. After the Olympics, Bill was invited to Winnipeg as a ski pro, then on to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay), Ontario. In 1956, Bill and Mary opened Loch Lomond Ski Area. In 2000, Bill was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in Ottawa. In 1979, Bill and Mary retired to Vernon, B.C. They continued to ski and enjoyed hiking, gardening and pursued their new addiction – golfing. Bill also became a Rotary Club member. Mary passed away from cancer in December 1981. Bill married Deanna Mills in 2004. Bill was predeceased by his brother Albert “Bert”. Bill is survived by his wife Deanna, sister Ethel (Doug) Bonell, his daughter Dorothy [Dwayne], his sons: Daniel, Douglas [Denise] and David [Lynne], and his grandchildren and great-grand children. The family would like to thank Nurse Next Door and Hospice House for the wonderful care they gave Bill. Funeral services will be held at Pleasant Valley Funeral Home on Saturday February 16 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the North Okanagan Hospice Society.
- Memorial Service Saturday, February 16, 2013
William Archibald Irwin
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March 30, 2013
We've lost a great friend and father, but think of the riches he's left us! Wonderful memories for all, and still great skiing at his Loch!
While skiing in Chile a little while back, I reflected on Bill and Loch Lomond ... it wasn't long before I had put to paper this little rhyme concerning my own powder snow transformation; early January 1969
While up on Bill's hill,
I found my thrill.
Skiing the Pow,
Douglas told me how ...
It happened on Southside,
A weekday so Sunny,
Joe left us some "freshies",
Perfect Pow for a bunny ..
With a few tips from Doug
I started my run,
and soon found my rhythm
In the rays of the Sun ...
Now it's five decades later;
and i'm still riding the Pow ..
Thanks to Mary and Bill,
and the day son Doug showed me how .....
Michael "Mikko" Ward (nee Vuori)
Nelson BC and Chile
Cathy Chynoweth ( nee Keenan)
February 28, 2013
Our condolences to the Irwin family on the passing of 'Bill'. Your family and Loch Lomond had a huge impact on the Thunder Bay community. Our father remembers the day Loch Lomond opened and my siblings and I grew up on the hill. It was our winter wonderland. Every Sat and Sun was spent out there, and later most Friday nights as well. We all graduated from the rope tow, to the South Side and North side, and then on to the Nancy Greene program. We can still smell the burgers,and fries and gravy served by Ethel,Mary and Dorothy. And who could forget Old Joe ! As kids growing up on that hill, we will always remember the impact that Loch Lomond had on us, many friendships were established out there and it made so many of us avid skiers who enjoy the sport to this day.
The Keenan Family, Stella and Bob Sr.
Carol, Bill, Cathy And Bob
February 24, 2013
I wish to express our families most sincere condolences to the Irwin Family. Our family grew up in a home built by Mr Irwin, then 453 Franklin Bvld, Port Arthur, On. We had a wonderful family life there after buying it from Mr. Jack Tool who purchased it from Mr Irwin. We spoke often of the connection as we enjoyed our wonderful view towards Fort William that included Loch Lomond in the distance.
Bill Bingham, Guelph, ON
The Crooks Family
February 20, 2013
Reading of Bill's passing brings to mind many great memories of the wonderful years of growing up skiing at Loch Lomond. The work his family put into operating the business was remarkable. His athletic achievements inspiring.
Our condolences to the Irwin family.
February 19, 2013
My deepest condolences to the entire Irwin family. Working with Bill and Mary at Loch Lomond in the early 70s as a teenager taught me a lot about vision and sacrifice. Bill had a vision to get generation after generation on skis and to not only learn how to ski but ski like a pro. Now as an adult I understand and appreciate the sacrifices he made with his family who lived in the basement of Loch Lomond for years. This to him was one way of keeping in touch with the ski area business but also meant he and Mary were at work 24/7. Bill was a hard worker who overcame adversity. He also had a great sense of humour. He used to come up to me and poke me in the stomach and tell me that they only way to be a good skier was to have a strong core and the rest would follow.
Recently, close to 20 former Loch Lomond skiers got together in Whistler for a reunion orchestrated by Russell Clark and Patrick Maloney. For some of us, we had not seen each other since we left high school in the mid 1970's having dispersed across the country in search of live and livelihood. As expected, the stories were flying including many memories of skiing at Loch Lomond and the Irwin family. We heard many special memories about Bill and how he had touched so many of us in our youth. I for one, will not forget Bill and his kindness.
February 19, 2013
memories of Bill, from the '60;s Gary Hutton helped some with the hills at Loch Lomond..after 44 years we have moved home and Gary has been back skiing on those hills. remembering your family..our son and family enjoyed it too at Christmas..
with love to all...Gary and Pat(Harbron) Hutton 623-3915
February 18, 2013
Very sorry to hear of your loss. I worked for Bill and Mary at Loch Lomond as a liftie many years ago. They were very good people to work for. I continue to ski at Loch to this day and we often share memories of Bill and Mary and the 'good old days'.
Debbie Rathje (Thunder Bay, ON)
February 16, 2013
Very sorry to hear of Bill's passing. He made such an impression on me as a young boy skiing at Loch in the early sixties; he had a way of making everything FUN! I remember the days when I was about 7 and he used to try to trade a plate of fries and gravy for my peanut butter sandwich;)
February 16, 2013
I am very sorry the news of Bil's passing. My lately husband Jim and our whole family knew him and appreciated his help and friendship with his wife Mary. It was a great time of our skiing life. Best Wishes to all his family. He was a very important part of skiing around the Lakehead.
From Dorothy Cook, Thunder Bay, Ontario
February 15, 2013
We were sad to learn that Bill has passed away. We last saw him when he came to Thunder Bay to celebrate his 90th birthday. We first met Bill & Mary when we came to Fort William from England. One of the attractions was the abundance of ski hills then. We settled on Loch Lomond, and there was nothing more welcoming than "signing in" with Mary & Ethel - no lift tickets for members in the mid-sixties, just a coloured sticker. Bill was indeed a special character, always a ready smile and that unforgettable twinkle in his eyes. He and his family had a passion for ski racing, and Bill was a big supporter when the fledgling "Nancy Greene" league was started up in 1968-69. Our deepest sympathies to all the family, and a very special thank you to wife Deanna who took such loving care of Bill these past few years, from Brian, Irene, David and Suzanne Pawson.
February 15, 2013
My condolances to all the family, he will be missed.
I often think of Bill teaching myself and Russell Clark how to make snow back in the 70's at Loch Lomond Ski Area, he was a great mentor and was fun to work for. He knew more about training for ski racing than anyone I knew and was always generous with his knowledge and expetise.
Rest in Peace Bill.