Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Wadena Community Legion Hall
William (Bill) Marlin Wallin came into this world on May 15th, 1925. He lived and worked hard and despite battling cancer and heart failure, he defied the odds, saw in the New Year and took his leave shortly after midnight on January 1st, 2015. We had all hoped for a better 2015 for him - and he made it so. His mind remained sharp to the end and the nurses agreed that while his pain was intense, he was both courageous and just "a little cheeky."
Bill grew up on a farm outside Granum, Alberta, and from age 13 worked any job possible before and after school. He joined the Air Force to become a tail gunner and always regretted that hostilities ended before he could see action overseas. Once out of the forces, he trained as an X-ray and lab technician - because that is what he could afford. In his heart, he always wanted to be a doctor and when he came to Wadena, he found a friend and mentor in Doc Rollins who considered Dad a partner in the business of saving lives. Many remember Bill as a man who helped them through a tough time - his quiet command letting them face illness or loss without fear.
He had met Leone Macfarlane in Tuxford where his mother and stepfather owned a service station. As the son of a woman who single-handedly raised six kids and worked two jobs, he always respected independent women. So he married one and he raised his two daughters to be self-reliant and independent thinkers too. He practised what he preached. He would cook a meal or scrub a floor as easily as he would fix the roof or build a bench. It was a wonderful thing to teach his daughters. He was a good husband, a dedicated father, a loyal friend and we knew he always had our backs. So, we feared his disapproval more than any discipline.
He was of the generation who knew hard - hard work and hard times. He worked from the age of thirteen on and even in his final days he believed that a man needs to feel the pain as he faces death to know he was alive.
He was also of a generation that knew hope and believed in possibility. As a young couple, Bill and Leone, lived in Regina and Shaunavon - where Bonnie was born. In 1952 they moved to Wadena, bought a little house on Third Street and Pamela Dawn was born the next year. They lived their values, were very active in the community and they instilled a belief in the importance of service.
Dad served on town council, was President of the Fishing Lake Hockey League, a member of several wildlife organizations, a founding member of the gun club and served as Wadena's "crow control." He was a Mason, a member of the Eastern Star but, it was the Legion to which he was truly committed, serving as President of Branch 62 many times and then Legion Zone Commander. Remembrance Day was the most important day of the year for him. It was about respect and as the old soldiers gathered to reminisce and share a drink, what was left unspoken was as important as the stories retold time and again.
While he always loved his work, he was passionate about the outdoors. He built our cabin at the lake by himself, sleeping under the stars. We were surprised but shouldn't have been when he quit his job and went into business with his son-in-law Steve installing eavestroughing.
He always enjoyed curling and golfing but he loved baseball. He chose where to live and work based on whether they had a ball team. He was a great pitcher and when he could no longer throw the ball he turned to umping so he could still be in the game. He was a diehard Yankees fan until the Blue Jays came to Canada. He was never keen to travel but the trip to Yankee Stadium and first base line seats for the Jays in the pennant race were highlights for sure.
He hunted and fished with passion, but always respectful of Mother Nature. He was a conservationist at heart - he almost single-handedly built the tower at the wetlands. And we always ate what he shot and when duck was on the menu we learned to chew carefully to avoid those nasty little shot pellets! He cherished the comradery of it all and loved telling and embellishing the stories of hunting and fishing trips with his brother-in-law Don Macfarlane or with Lloyd Rusnell, Frank Moore, Albert Kretlow, Buck Fisher, Bill Lemko and so many others including Darryl Schueller and Randy Moore.
Bill lived a good and full life. He touched hearts. He was curious and well-read and open minded. And he and Leone believed that character trumps genius. You can be the smartest person in the room but if you were not kind and decent and fair and generous when it mattered, then all the brains were for naught. It is a great legacy.
Predeceased by parents Edith and Oscar and siblings Kenneth, Frances, Veda and Tom, he is survived by his wife of 67 years, Leone; daughters, Bonnie and Pamela; brother Robert (Flo); granddaughters, Erin (Shawn) and Meaghan (Robby), and great-grandchildren, Austin, Courtney and Haley; and friend Steve George. We are a small family and now we all have a very large hole in our heart.