Bill’s grandfather, Fred Abbott, came to Vancouver in 1897 from Newfoundland, and both Bill’s father, William John Abbott, and his mother, Betsy (Hastie) Abbott, were born in Vancouver. Bill began his long teaching career in the fall of 1960 in Campbell River. For the next 36 years, he taught art in School District 72: CARIHI Secondary School, Phoenix Middle School, and Southgate Secondary School.
He retired to West Vancouver where he taught art to seniors on a volunteer basis for several years. Bill was an artist throughout his life. As a teenager, he was a regular at weekly figure drawing sessions at a studio behind a barber shop at Broadway and Cambie. During his retirement years, he drew at the figure drawing sessions at Basic Inquiry. Even in hospital, Bill was still sketching.
Bill met his loving wife of 52 years, Patsy, at UBC and they loved to travel. They travelled to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and all around North America, including a visit to Newfoundland several years ago to see where his grandfather came from. The most recent trips were to Syria, the Black Mountains of Tennessee, and the Copper Canyon of Mexico. Bill always came home with new watercolour sketches. They loved camping around the Skagit Valley. Again, Bill always returned with sketches and watercolours.
Bill leaves behind his loving family: Patsy (née Leth), BA’60; David, BSc’88; Alexandra, BSc’89, (Rob); Rebecca, class of ’15; Kate, Juliet, Rosemary (née Leth) Van Heukelom, BA’66, (Andy, BA’66, LLB’77); and Willy, Morgan, Skyler and Holly. Bill was a wonderful, caring, and artistic husband, father and grandfather. Bill was going on outings up to a week before his death, and was talking art, as always, in his hospital bed.