William George McGuire

Oct 14, 1915 – Dec 10, 2016
MCGUIRE, COL (Ret.) William George. Died December 10, 2016 in Saanich, BC in his 101st year.

George was born October 14, 1915 at Salmon Arm, BC, the third and youngest son of John David and Ella (Carson) McGuire, early settlers in Salmon Arm. He was the last surviving grandson of Sarah Agnes McGuire.

Preceded in death by his wife Mary (Sabourin) 1920 – 2011, and brothers: John Carson, 1910-1969, (Irene, Sally) and Robert Alexander, 1913-1992, (Gertrude). He leaves three daughters, Pat, Jane, Teresa (Tom), son Peter, and granddaughter Sarin.

He joined the Rocky Mountain Rangers militia in 1935, was commissioned in 1937 and served with the unit in 1939 guarding railway bridges in the Cariboo. Transferring as reinforcement to Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, he trained at Calgary and Toronto, and joined the unit in England in August 1940. After appointments with HQ Fourth Cdn Infantry Brigade, he rejoined the unit in Italy in December 1943. Wounded in March 1944, he was invalided back to Canada, and later served at Army HQ. After Cdn Army Staff College in 1949, he served in postings at Ottawa, Washington DC, London ON, Vietnam and Colorado Springs CO, retiring in 1969.

George and Mary returned to BC and found a hilltop paradise in Saanich. There George built onto the original cottage, indulged in ham radio pursuits and battled tree roots that invaded his garden beds. Raised on a farm, he appreciated growing food and was an early seed saver. He took great pride in the hundreds of pounds of tomatoes and lots of lettuce and onions he grew every year.

For many years he enjoyed visiting Salmon Arm in the summertime, usually staying with his cousin, Ronny Turner. Each day as the side arm approached, the two would head out for some late sun and comraderie at the Turner family cabin. Although he never returned to live in his hometown he always commented on how fortunate he was to have spent his childhood growing up on a farm there during the Depression.

Up until a few years ago, George would challenge us younger folk to think by slyly provoking stimulating conversation and debate during dinners with friends and family on the Hill. A lifelong learner, he read voraciously, did crosswords and played scrabble until his memory started failing the last year; he even took up the computer and online investing in his early 90s. He loved food, yet remonstrated that he ate too much while requesting a bowl of ice cream. He kept up the treadmill until his last year and always extolled the virtues of arm windmilling.

His life was enhanced with Tom and Teresa joining him on the Hill 20 years ago, invigorated by a steady parade of their visiting friends.

When his only grandchild came along, he learned how to relate to a youngster and derived great pleasure and pride seeing Sarin grow and evolve. She was glad he lived so long that she had an adult relationship with her grandpere.

Shortly before passing in his own home, George complained that his life was boring; he wasn’t afraid of dying. The last morning, unable to continue counting backwards or reciting the alphabet, he said “I can’t do it anymore”. Teresa and Pat were present when he moved peacefully on. He didn’t want us to miss him, but remember him instead. We do.

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