William Philip Bish - March 23, 1931 to June 16, 2020
William (Billy) Bish was one of 9 children born to Forestburg area homesteaders William Fred Bish and Emma Bish (nee Smith). He was born on March 23, 1931 with his twin sister Mable Loreen at the Forestburg Cottage Hospital. Billy is predeceased by his parents Fred and Emma, ex-wife Jeanette Hutchinson, and siblings from eldest to youngest, Homer, Mildred, Denver, Walter, Barbara, Mable, and Austia. The last member of the Fred and Emma Bish family still alive, brother Grant Bish now lives in Stettler. Billy leaves to mourn his loss son Stuart (Del) of Penticton, grand-daughters Chelsea (Ben) Ogle of Calgary, Emmalyn Carter (Sean Poon) of Vancouver, and great-grand-daughter Cara Jean Ogle (3.5 years old) and great-grandson James Stuart Ogle, born one day after Billy’s passing.
The Smith family settled in Forestburg and the Bish families on land overlooking the Battle River Valley. An abundant coal seam was discovered and the industrious family started to mine underground, then with rising demand, switched to strip mining. Billy started working at the mine in 1947. It sold in 1949 to the Luscar Company. His early years were formative ones for Billy where he developed an aptitude for building, fabricating, maintaining, and repairing the wide range of equipment, structures, and gear required to run a farm and active coal mine. He eventually drove the large coal-hauling trucks making round trips from the coal seam pits to the power generating station in the river valley. Always a careful worker and safety conscious, Billy received an award for 43 years of no lost time injury at work from the Alberta Worker’s Compensation Board. As he neared retirement, he enjoyed trailer trips and solo club dances around the province with partner Irene Towers (deceased) of Alliance. Billy always had a very well equipped workshop and turned out numerous projects such as miniature coal cars, water wheels and other yard ornaments. He also kept the family home in tip-top shape.
Billy was always interested in the history of the area. His long-time neighbors Peter Gerteis and Edith Jesswein were very active in the Forestburg Historical Society. It was his wish that donations in his honour be made to the Society and Museum.
You can make a donation from this website using ApplePay or your credit card. Click on the “Donations” link, click on an amount or enter your amount, then click “Next”, then click on “Search Charity” and fill in the fields with “Forestburg Historical Society” entered in the “Charity Name” field.
Cheque donations can be mailed to Forestburg Historical Society, Box 46, Forestburg, Alberta T0B 1N0, or by e-transfer to email@example.com. Donations can also be made at the Forestburg Home Hardware store and Moore’s grocery store.
Bill Bish is remembered by all who knew him as friendly, kind, polite, and fun-loving. The quintessential prairie gentleman who had a wave, smile, and witty saying for everyone. Our family is so appreciative of the loving care he received from home-care staff, staff, and care workers at the Big Knife Villa and the heroes at the Galahad Care Centre. He is deeply missed by all.
A graveside memorial will be held at Hastings Coulee Cemetery (Township Rd. 414 and Range Rd. 162), Saturday, August 15th at 2 p.m. A maximum of 100 can attend and social distancing will be observed.
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