Gardening 07

William "Bill" Frederick Kritsch

December 6, 1933 ~ September 30, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old

William "Bill" Kritsch Obituary

With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Bill Kritsch, a gentleman, devoted family man, caring friend, generous mentor, astute thinker, and devout member of his church. He left us on September 30, 2023, at the age of 89, and as all who knew him can attest, the world is a better place for his having lived.

Bill was predeceased by his loving wife, Gerda (nee Oosterhuis) in 2017, and is survived by daughters Ingrid (Tom) and Sylvia (Gordon), and granddaughters Erika (Amir) and Julia (Justin). He was a dear brother to Marolyn (David – deceased) and Tom (Ruth) and is fondly remembered by his numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family.

Bill was born in Ottawa, Ontario to Frieda Elisa Schilling and William August Kritsch. With the passing of his mother in 1936 when he was three years old, and the remarriage of his father in 1938, Bill gained a new mother, Renata (Rita) Maria Johanna Kritsch.  In the next few years, the family welcomed a sister, Marolyn, and brother, Tom.  Bill attended primary and high school in Ottawa and obtained an honour’s bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Western Ontario, graduating in 1957.  The year he graduated, he was hired by Canadian National Railway (CN) at the university job fair which started a lifelong career with the company.

As a career employee of CN since 1957, Bill lived in many Canadian cities including Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Belleville. While living in Belleville in 1964, Bill met Gerda ten Kate, a widow with two daughters (Ingrid and Sylvia) at a CN Christmas party. In short order, she became the love of his life, and they married in 1965 as Bill was being transferred to Montreal. Throughout his 34 years with CN, Bill held many senior executive positions, retiring in 1991.

At retirement, Gerda and Bill moved from Montreal to Qualicum Beach. Over the course of the next 32 years, they developed cherished and lifelong friendships with neighbours and other residents. Bill was active in his community as an elder in St. Columba Presbyterian Church, and for many years helped run the summer children’s drama camp. He was a volunteer at the Senior’s Centre in Qualicum Beach, an advocate for social and environmental responsibility, and an avid curler.

However, Bill’s real passion was gardening and if you couldn’t find him at any given moment, it was likely that he was tending to his flowers, fruit trees, berries, and vegetables in his backyard, or mowing immaculate lawns where dandelions dared not raise their heads. An incredibly healthy man, he split and stacked firewood for his woodstove well into his 80s. He loved to walk and being a tall man could be seen blocks away wearing one of his signature hats. Never holding a driver’s license, walking helped keep him in great shape. Gerda was his chauffeur, while Bill was the navigator!

Bill had a curious spirit and he and Gerda travelled extensively, enjoying over thirty cruises. Bill’s most memorable trip was one he did on his own to Antarctica.

After Gerda’s passing, Bill sold their home and moved into the newly constructed independent living seniors’ home, Berwick Qualicum Beach. He loved his years there, meeting new and old friends, and participating in and helping to organize many activities and committees including the Environmental Committee and Pub Quiz Night on Wednesday evenings. As an astute thinker, Bill enjoyed stimulating conversation but was always willing to listen to alternative opinions.  Through the years, many family members and friends came to him for advice, knowing he would provide good counsel. 

Bill will be dearly missed by his family and friends.  As a close friend said, “Bill was a quiet man who loved his family deeply and lived a life dedicated to making a small footprint on our planet.”  A life well lived.

A cremation and memorial service took place on October 7th, and a private interment is planned in spring, 2024 in Belleville, Ontario. Donations in memory of Bill may be made to the Palliative Care Unit, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, 1200 Dufferin Cres., Nanaimo, BC. V9S 2B7.

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Nanaimo Regional General Hospital - Palliative Care Unit
1200 Dufferin Crescent, Nanaimo BC V9S 2B7
Tel: 1-250-755-7691


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