In Memory of

William

John

Firth

Obituary for William John Firth

William John Firth
August 25, 1943 – December 30, 2023

Died peacefully at Grace Hospital with his wife of 48 years at his side. Survived by wife
Andrea, children James (Kelsey) and Nicholas, nephews Kyle and Andrew McAdam, sister-in-law
Elizabeth McAdam, long-time friends R.G., Lesley, and Peter, as well as Aunt Lena,
numerous cousins and faithful dog Sparks.

Will/Bill was born in Hamilton, Ontario and moved with his parents to Manitoba for the “better air” when he was a child. He lived in Morris with his grandmother before joining his parents in Winnipeg when he was old enough for school. Bill lived in the North End in his early years, not quite fitting in with his peer group as he was both bright of mind and dark of skin, but finding a small group of champions who respected him and his abilities. A forward-thinking teacher got him an adult card at the library when he was in elementary school and his mother’s example set him on the social justice road. At 17, he joined Air Reserve Squadron 402. There he found his military family, a channel for his gift for leadership, and life-long friend R.G. His education at the University of Manitoba and Red River College gave him experience and training in politics and programming (remember the punch cards!), as well as an introduction to the “sunshine of his life”, Andrea. Circumstances helped him find his most meaningful work as the at-home-dad for his two children.

Throughout his life, Bill exemplified the modern Renaissance Man. He cooked, he cleaned, he changed diapers. He painted, he sang, he wrote. He researched and painted military minatures and dioramas. He designed and built several model railroads, two backyard decks, and a loft bed made and painted with a set designer’s eye. He read widely, played several musical instruments at varying levels, absorbed many languages, sang in choirs, and participated in church life. He volunteered in the library at his children’s school for many years, helped family and neighbours with building and electrical problems, and was part of the Host Program for new immigrants. He was proud of his children and supportive of Andrea’s various involvements and projects (guess who built all those garden boxes!).

The most important part of Bill’s life was his family. When he met Andrea, he had found his life-mate, with a bonus set of parents that he cherished. A devoted husband and loving father, he greatly enjoyed the wider family gatherings that included his sister-in-law, nephews, and close family friends.

He survived polio, a severe bout of multiple pneumonias, and lived 5 years with cancer, but was felled by COPD.

Service January 11th at 12:00 noon at Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor in Winnipeg, followed by interment in Brookside Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rossbrook House. This is a place he would have frequented had it been in existence when he was a child. Thanks to Rev. Fred Douglas and Deaconness Miss Pitt for their help and influence when Bill was a child.