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Bill Gillard

Bill Gillard

Thursday, January 21st, 1926 - Monday, August 17th, 2020
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Bill Gillard – Husband, Father, Musician, Teacher.

Bill was born William Gillard into a family of musicians in Honiton, Devonshire, England in 1926.
He will be missed by his wife of over forty years, Pat (nee Douglas), who loved and adored him, and
took care of him at home until the end, his children, Andrew, Stephen (Marilyn), Susan Metzger
(Jim) and Paddy, his, Grandchildren, Juli, Eric (Alison), Sarah (Jeff), Jamie, Megan (Adam), Ben and
Sam, and his Great Grandchildren, Abby, Leah, Heidi, Natalie, Lauren, Mollie, Luke, Jack and Hannah,
mother-in-law, Theresa and brothers-in-law, Richard, Charles and Kenneth.
Predeceased by his parents, Benjamin and Louisa (Williams), his sister, Elizabeth, his brothers, Jack,
Ben and Len and his first wife, Tessa.

Musically, Bill was a prodigy. He started playing in swing bands in England when he was just 13. At
17, he joined the Fleet Air Arm after putting his age as 18 on the application. They sent him to
Canada to learn to fly and he fell in love – with the country. He flew off aircraft carriers, serving mostly
in the Middle East, setting foot on every continent. After the war ended, he was determined to bring
his family to Canada for what he believed would be a better life. That would come after over ten
more years of music in the UK. He played with several bands, including The Metronomes and the
house band in Torquay where he backed up such greats as Cleo Laine & John Dankworth, Ronnie
Scott and Tubby Hayes, while writing arrangements for his own groups and Palais Dance

There came a day when he needed to make a decision whether to pursue his career as a professional
musician, or accept the offer to become a professional soccer player in Devonshire. Bill immigrated
to Canada in 1956 with his trumpet and flugelhorn. The family followed later. He immediately
immersed himself into the jazz scene in the Waterloo Region. Sundays in Waterloo Park with the big
jazz band, coaching the University of Waterloo Stage band, leading Bobby Curtola's Band in Las
Vegas, The Ice Capades, in pit bands for musicals, the many years with his own group, The Bill
Gillard Duo/Trio/Quartet, and playing with nearly every jazz musician in the twin cities and beyond.
He taught music to private students as well as at a high school in Stratford.
For many years he worked at Waterloo Music and then moved on to the Post Office. In the 1970s, he
met Pat, the love of his life - friend, lover and companion. They were a wonderful couple, always in

Golf was another of his great passions. Bogies, eagles, several holes in one and a really good
handicap. He was never on the golf course without a two-litre bottle of pop and a bag of wine gums,
mini chocolate bars and other goodies – but he balanced the snacks by always walking the course.
He was often hunted down by other golfers for the quality of his snacks.
Bill was intelligent and creative. He had a wonderful sense of humour, and was easy to laugh. He
was engaged in politics, sports and all aspects of life. He had a distinguished career as an
accomplished brass and keyboard player, teacher and arranger. He played his first gig when he was
just 10 years old, and his last, when he was 89! Bill will be missed by so many, but he lived life out

Bill's family will receive relatives and friends from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, August 20, 2020 at
the Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick St. Kitchener (519) 749-8467. Please note
that if you plan to attend, masks are mandatory and you must RSVP your attendance
through the funeral home website. A family service will be held, with interment at
Memory Gardens Cemetery. As expressions of sympathy, donations to The Salvation Army
(Kitchener) would be appreciated by the family (cards available at the funeral home).

Visit www.henrywalser.com to view Bill's complete obituary and to RSVP your attendance.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, August 20th, 2020 | 5:00pm - 8:00pm
    Thursday, August 20th, 2020 5:00pm - 8:00pm
    Henry Walser Funeral Home Ltd.
    507 Frederick St.
    Kitchener, ON N2B 2A5
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email



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Private Condolence
Karen Tomlin sent flowers to the family of Bill Gillard.
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Jim Bunsch

Posted at 05:03pm
I remember Bill very well from my musician days in the KW area. It seemed that whenever I was on a gig, so was he, & it added some comfort to a young saxophone player. Bill was a gentleman, great musician, always had a smile on his face, & a kind & humble man. I wish him happy trails & that we meet again one day.
Jim Bunsch (Twsp of Carling, on Georgian Bay)

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 05:35am
Sent with love and remembrance, from all Uncle Bills family in the UK. (Martin family and Clarke family)
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Peaceful White Lilies Basket was purchased and planted a memorial tree for the family of Bill Gillard. Send Flowers


Karen Tomlin

Posted at 08:36pm
With loving memories of Bill. The Tomlin Family
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Karen Tomlin purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Bill Gillard. Send Flowers


Sharon Thomas

Posted at 02:11pm
I have so many wonderful memories of Bill and Pat. I met Bill 53 years ago and a few years later met Pat. We became great friends and as the years went on we celebrated birthday’s and anniversaries, but the time that stands out the most is New Year’s Eve at Pat and Bill’s place. It was the best night of the year having Chinese Food, playing cards and as usual laughing until we could hardly breath. Bill was a funny man and could always make you laugh no matter when you spoke to him either at home or on the phone. Bill and Pat were our best friends and when my husband John passed away they were there to support my family. We will miss you Bill so much. Thanks for the memories.
Love Sharon Thomas

Bev Lucas

Posted at 11:42am
Our sincere condolences on Bill’s passing. Anne Pritchard & Family

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