Honourable Dr. William Charles Winegard
His family sadly announces the death of Dr. W.C. Winegard in Guelph on January 31, 2019.
Bill was predeceased by his loving wife of 58 years Elizabeth (Jaques) 1925-2005, his daughter Kathryn (1953-1999), and his granddaughter Laine (1979-1981).
He was survived by his sons Bill (Sandra Leppan) in Toronto and Charles (Marian) in Sarnia; by his granddaughters Casey (Tom Bartlett) and Kelly (Todd Whitlock) in Sarnia and Brynn (Adam Mansour) in Toronto; by his grandsons Tim (Becky) in Grand Junction, Colorado, Luke (Cassandra) in Sarnia, and Liam (Ebru) in Toronto; and by his nine great-grandchildren.
Also survived by his brother John in Caledonia, his brothers-in-law John and Robert, his cousin Don in Florida, and by many nephews and nieces who remember him fondly. He will be lovingly remembered by Margaret VanderWoude and her children and grandchildren.
Bill was born on September 17, 1924 in Hamilton to William A. and Hilda (Yaxley) Winegard, but grew up in Caledonia Ontario, then as now a small town on the banks of the Grand River. Many are his tales of growing up in a small town in a more innocent era… hitching rides on freight trains, skating on the river, diving off the dam, singing in the choir, delivering groceries by bicycle, standing up to bullies in the schoolyard, going with his dad to deliver cars to farmers and tow away wrecks on the then-two-lane Highway 6. He played high-school hockey in an era when a line was still six players plus a goalie. Being a mechanic's son bred his lifelong love of cars: he read the "Wheels" section first. All his life he honoured the memory of his best friend Shield who was shot down over the North Sea in 1942.
In 1942 at age 17, Bill joined the RCNVR, becoming a coder on the Stratford and St. Boniface before becoming Canada’s youngest Sub-Lieutenant at the age of 20 as the Navigation Officer on the Saskatoon. The Salvation Army found a blanket and a piece of floor for a bewildered 17-year-old who had de-trained in Halifax in the middle of the night to report for duty. Three years on the corvette triangle run in the North Atlantic gave him a lifelong love of Halifax and St. John’s, and lessons of self-discipline and leadership.
Following the war, Bill enrolled in engineering at the University of Toronto, where he achieved a BSc in 1949 and his PhD in Metallurgy in 1952. He never forgot Canada's generosity toward its WW II veterans, that allowed him to fulfill his parents' dreams and become his family's first university grad.
In 1947, Bill was married by the Reverend Ernest Jaques to his beautiful daughter Elizabeth. They had met in high school and again on the train home from Toronto. Elizabeth died in 2005 after 10 dreadful years of MS, but her spirit died when Kathryn did.
As a U of T professor of Metallurgy, Dr. Winegard was a gifted and enthusiastic teacher and researcher; his 1962 book on the crystallization of metals (for which Elizabeth learned to type) was translated into many languages. Dozens of graduate and post-doctoral students from around the world were his research colleagues and friends. He accepted diversity readily. In an age before PowerPoint or AutoCAD, he delightedly modelled molecules using ping-pong balls and straws.
Bill and Elizabeth raised three children in Applewood Acres in what is now Mississauga. A plate of fried mushrooms watching the Friday night boxing and later a shared Friday night chocolate bar watching Perry Mason were big family treats. Saturday nights it was Hockey Night in Canada. A Queen's Scout in his own day, Bill became a Scout leader when his boys joined Scouts.
After refusing more lucrative appointments in the USA, Bill became the second President of the University of Guelph from 1967 to 1975. His leadership steered the U of G through a time of tremendous growth and radical change in universities everywhere. Bill and Elizabeth moved their family to the U of G campus, the last family to live there, and his daily route on foot to the office is now commemorated as "Winegard Walk." Thousands of U of G students and faculty still remember being invited to the President's house so Bill and Elizabeth, Charles and Kathryn could personally welcome them to campus. Even as President, he insisted on teaching a first-year Physics class.
After the U of G, he led several commissions of inquiry, joined the Homewood Board, and the board of international institutions, including IDRC and the Hong Kong Baptist University. He and Elizabeth saw the world together. As a passionate Canadian and a lifelong Progressive Conservative (he always stressed the "Progressive'), he agreed to run in the 1984 election, and was elected just days before his 60th birthday.
In the Commons, he chaired the Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs, and proved a hard-working supporter of Guelph and of a Parliament that still refrained from bitter partisanship and cynicism. He was heartbroken at the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord. After re-election in 1988, he – a scientist – became Canada's first Minister for Science.
Following Elizabeth's MS diagnosis, Bill retired in Guelph, combining caregiving with his devotion to the City. He and Bob Ireland raised millions for the expansion of the Guelph General Hospital. He raised more millions for the Guelph Hospice, the Sunrise Equestrian Centre for Handicapped Children, and the statue of John McCrae. He was a consistent supporter of the School Breakfast program of the Guelph-Wellington Children's Foundation, and proudly participated in the Rotary Club and the Legion. Nothing made Bill prouder than when – through the efforts of the Jociuses and other Guelph friends – he was awarded the Order of Canada in 1998.
As an octogenarian, he read Billy Goats Gruff and Jack and the Beanstalk to many hundreds of kids in daycare, kindergarten and grade one. He encouraged others to read in other Guelph schools; as he said, all you needed was a love of children, some patience, and a good helping of "ham." He loved watching Casey's and Kelly's kids play hockey when their tournaments brought them near Guelph. The interest of Liam and Tim, the family's historian, in his war service unleashed a seemingly endless supply of navy tales. For years, Luke and his growing family, as well as the Toronto family, altered the route of the Guelph MS Walk and Terry Fox Run so it ended up with sub sandwiches in Bill's condo. Dr. Bill Winegard was the proudest "date" in the hall when he watched Dr. Brynn Winegard receive a teaching award from the University of Guelph.
The crowning recognition of Bill's dedication to Guelph and to education was the Upper Grand School Board's decision to name the new William C. Winegard Public School. Not only did he regularly read to four classes a week, but Curt and the staff involved Bill in school events throughout the year.
Bill's accomplishments and his enjoyment of life after Elizabeth died were possible largely due to Margaret VanderWoude and her family. Margaret was more than just an employee, she was driver, companion, helpmate, and when necessary, caregiver. Because of her, he was able to continue his fundraising and civic activities; visit his brother John, the Ronalds, Stevens, Janet Wardlaw, Hugh Guthrie, his fellow navy vets, and other friends; and enjoy the warmth and good food at Cusina's. Bill took an avid interest in Nick's, Chris's, Meghan's and Katelyn's education and careers. He reported many laughs and enormous pleasure watching his buddies Emerson, Avery, Nolan and Bentley grow up, and keenly anticipated their trips each summer to the East Coast.
The family give heartfelt thanks to Dr. Jennifer Caspers for her unfailingly kind and wise care for both Mum and Dad over many years.
Bill Winegard was a leader with vision and energy, a loyal friend and father, and a passionate Canadian. His life exemplified his motto, "if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well." He preached and lived a sense of responsibility. He believed deeply but unsentimentally that we are our brother's keeper. He always had a kind word. He was a citizen.
Donations to honour Dr. William C. Winegard could be made to:
-William C. Winegard Public School through the Upper Grand Learning Foundation, to establish a bursary for the graduating recipient of the Winegard Citizenship Award.
- Children's Foundation of Guelph and Wellington school breakfast program
- Salvation Army homelessness and shelter program
- or to the charity of your choice
|A tree will be planted in memory of William C. (Bill) Winegard in the Wall-Custance Memorial Forest, University of Guelph Arboretum. Dedication service, Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm.|