William Arnold Merchant

February 16, 1947 – October 18, 2018
Bill passed away peacefully October 18, 2018 at 8:50pm at the Creston Valley Hospital.

Bill was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and spent his childhood as his father worked in many of the heavy construction sites in western Canada – Trail, Holberg, Courtney, Cassiar, and Grand Rapids. One year Bill’s Dad took time off heavy construction and bought a hotel in Hammond. Bill, his sister Margaret, mother Mabel, and grandmother Sybil all helped Arnold keep the hotel running smoothly. But it wasn’t long before construction sites lured Arnold away and had the family back moving again. As a kid, Bill spent many hours fishing the lakes, rivers and streams wherever he happened to be. He loved to fish, and had an innate understanding of how fish behave. Lots of times he would catch fish, leaving the rest of us wondering how he did it.

He got his commercial pilot’s license and flew for construction companies in Alberta and B.C. He carried his fishing rod with him, and loved to fly but being on call 24/7 didn’t fit with his new family. So Bill went to work in construction around Calgary. He was home every night and didn’t regret leaving the airways. Later, he followed his neighbour Bud Chambers, north to Didsbury and took a job as Construction Superintendent in the county of Moutainview. Bud’s wife Connie introduced her sister, Belva to Bill. Wasting no time, Bill asked Belva if she wanted to go camping and fishing. Belva said yes and started a thirty year romance. Belva admits she hadn’t done much of either before. They were married on February 26, 1993.

Bill got a job as Superintendent of the County of Lakeland in Lac La Biche and bought a house on the lake. It was the center of fishing country. With a 14 foot boat he could haul behind his quad, he fished many little lakes around the area. He kept his “big” boat at the marina in Cold Lake and caught some nice lake trout there. He worked in Lac La Biche until he retired to Creston.

Bill and Belva developed many friends in Creston at the bakery, at Tim’s, and at Nina’s Campground and Marina. They tell me he was quite talkative and loved to dance. This seems to be quite a change, as I remember Bill as quiet, rarely speaking unless there was something important to be said and never dancing even when Common Ruin was rocking it out. But I know how much he enjoyed the music at Surf’s Up and talking with everyone over coffee.

Bill was predeceased by his father Arnold and his mother Mabel.

He is survived by his wife Belva of Creston, B.C.; his sister Margaret (Hal) Anderson of Calgary, Alberta; his son Tyler (Leanne) of Mazatlan, Mexico; his daughter Sheri of Lethbridge, Alberta and granddaughter Eryka; Belva’s daughters Sherilyn (Cochrane), her daughter Chelsea (Adam), two great-grandchildren, son Skylar; also, Belva’s daughter Alison (Darryl) of Australia; their two daughters Tayla and Maddison; his stepsister Joan (Larry) of Huntsville, Texas.

Thanks to the staff of the palliative care unit for their thoughtful and compassionate support.

Like Ted Peck used to say, “Tight Lines and Straight Shooting, Bill!”

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