William Samuel RITCHIEFebruary 25, 1927 ~ February 9, 2014 (age 86)
Our beloved father, Bill Ritchie, left us to meet his Saviour today. Dad was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the third of six children. He is predeceased by his parents, four sisters, younger brother, his first wife and mother of his four children, Francis Maud Kathleen, and oldest son, Gordon. He leaves behind his wife and best friend of 24 years, Nina, his daughter, Laurna, sons, Stewart (Sandra), Scott (Tracey) and his grandchildren, Ryan, Brock, Matthew (Hayley), Dean, Samantha, Amelia, Tyler, Liam, Cameron, Brittany, Justin and Alexandra and three great-grand-daughters: Sophie, Sadie and Reece. As well as Nina's daughters: Bonnie and her children and Lori (Doug).
Dad lived through World War II in a city overwhelmed by enemy bombing, as Glasgow was a shipbuilding city. The horrors he witnessed motivated him to lie about his age and join the British Royal Navy.
Dad has never been afraid of hard work and was determined to make a better life for himself and his family. His entrepreneurial nature began when he would dismantle wooden boxes and saw the pieces into small pieces. He sold this kindling door-to-door, giving his mother most of his earnings to help with family expenses.
Farming has always been one of Dad's biggest passions. He started farming in Scotland and, having had many wonderful memories as a child visiting his aunt in Ireland, he shipped his loved horses and farm implements to County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He met our mother when he went to the government office to apply for his visa. Together they bought a fifty-acre farm. It was hard work and they soon had a child (Laurna) to provide for.
Dad always yearned to go to a country where hard work and determination was part of an entrepreneurial culture. With a flip of a coin it was determined that they would immigrate to Canada.
In 1952 Dad, Mom and Laurna left aboard the ship the "Empress of Canada" and settled in Winnipeg where their first son, Gordon, was born. Their life was filled with love and determination. Dad held numerous jobs over the years all in agriculture except for a short time as a real estate agent. His career took him back and forth between Manitoba and British Columbia.
Their two younger sons, Stewart and Scott, were born in Vancouver while Dad was General Sales Manager of Buckerfields. Dad's many work experiences taught him that people will work hard if they are valued and appreciated. To this end, Dad and Dave Smith formed "Ritchie-Smith Feeds Ltd." and, between them, they gave their all to treating each other, as well as staff and customers alike with respect and dignity. It was in 1968 that for the third time our family would live in Abbotsford and we have ever since.
Dad strongly believed in community service and was a proud member of the Abbotsford Rotary Club where he served as the club president. As the company grew and became successful it was in a position to support many organizations here in the Fraser Valley and elsewhere in the world. A legacy that our family is very proud of.
After selling Ritchie-Smith Feeds Dad entered politics with the same determination and philosophy: that people who are treated with respect excel. He went on to become our MLA for two terms. He was Minister of Municipal Affairs for his last term. In 1986 Dad retired from public life and truly 'retired' in every sense of the word. He met and married, Nina, and between them they explored North America and Mexico in their motor home as well as cruised the waters off Vancouver Island in their motor yacht.
Eventually they settled in Qualicum Beach where they resided until Dad's passing.
A celebration of Dad's life will take place at 1:00 pm on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Mountain Park Community Church, 36228 Lower Sumas Mountain Road in Abbotsford.