William W. Gilgan was born in Castor, AB, on July 7, 1917, and passed away in his beloved Burns Lake on August 7, 2012, one month to the day after he celebrated his 95th birthday with family and friends.
A true pioneer, Bill moved with his family to homestead on Tchesinkut Lake, 15 km south of Burns Lake, in 1918. He was the first person to complete high school in Burns Lake, graduating in 1936.
Bill served in the RCAF as a navigator during WWII, and enrolled at UBC at the end of the war, graduating with a degree in forestry. With the completion of his education, Bill relocated his family back to Burns Lake and worked there in various forestry-related positions until the mid-’60s, when he left the industry to pursue another interest, becoming the planning director for the regional district of Bulkley-Nechako. Bill remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1983.
In retirement, Bill remained active, serving several years as a marriage commissioner, and maintaining his lifelong love of fishing, hunting and the outdoors in general, by running his trapline until well into his 80s.
William will be remembered most for his active participation in the community that he had called home since before it was incorporated. He was very active in politics at the local level, serving two periods as mayor of Burns Lake for a total of 23 years. He was challenged, but never defeated at the polls during that tenure. Bill was the last surviving founding member of the Rotary Club of Burns Lake, chartered in 1953. Bill is survived by his wife of 27 years, Kathleen, and six children by two of his three marriages.