t is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bill Gottwald on January 08, 2014 at the age of 85. This unassuming ‘give you the shirt of his back’ kind of man was a rare human being that managed to squeeze 10 lifetimes in to one.
Born Vilem Gottwald on June 09, 1928 in Czechoslovakia, Bill was a highly intelligent young man, already in college to become an engineer by the time he was a teenager. By age 20, Bill was working at an orphanage in West Germany, helping the nuns with the many orphans from the war. One of the responsibilities he enjoyed the most was teaching math. He then worked at an American base for some time running their bar and restaurant before making his way to the coast.
Bill boarded a boat that was sailing to Canada and to new adventures. He settled in Ontario and went through many incarnations. Bill raced cars, raced motorcycles, and became a highly skilled tool and die maker, a mechanic, as well as owning several resorts and restaurants over the years.
Seeking a new adventure, Bill went to Alaska and the Yukon, working for some time as a bush pilot. He went exploring, fishing, and panning down the west coast of BC, including Vancouver Island. Bill returned to Ontario and ran a very successful marina for many years, but the West Coast was now in his blood and kept calling. Yearly vacations were just not enough.
He returned to BC with his wife Lizzi and adopted son David, living on the Sunshine Coast for a time. They moved to Sicamous and turned a rundown old motel in to a very successful motel and restaurant. As was the norm, people would come from miles around for one of Bill’s meals. Bill and Lizzi fell in love with Quatsino and chose to retire there. They lived in wild and wonderful Quatsino for many years enjoying fishing, growing their own food, and picking mushrooms, while Bill perfected his blackberry wine.
Health reasons forced them to reluctantly move. They lived for some years in Sayward, in Woss, and finally in Oyster River.
Bill leaves behind Lizzi, his wife of 33 years, his adopted son David Gottwald, his stepdaughter Nina Andersen, his niece Dana in Czechoslovakia, and his many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
There is to be no service at Bill’s request. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Campbell River Hospital Foundation or the BC Cancer Society.
Arrangements entrusted to Island Funeral Services/Elk Falls Crematorium, Campbell River, 250-387-3366
The Final Flight
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free, I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call, I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day, To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way, I’ve found that peace at the end of the day.
If my parting has left a void, Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss, Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow, I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life’s been full, I savoured much; Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief, Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me, God wanted me now, He set me free.