Ed Willson

Obituary of Ed Willson

Ed Willson passed away peacefully at home, in St. Thomas. ON, on May 27, 2020, at the age of 90, with his beloved wife, Kathy (nee Hamilton), nearby. Also survived by daughter Trish Shouldice (Stewart), son Chris (Wendy List), daughter Jan Geffs (Rick); brother Robert (Bob) Willson and sister-in-law Shirley (nee Williams) Willson. Grandfather of Russell Shouldice (Jennifer), Ron Shouldice (Mallory Hunt-Shouldice), Rosalyn Pagendam (Brad), Carmon Geffs (Alyssa Dresser) and Daniel Geffs (Alyssa Beaudoin); loved great-grandfather of Emmett, Breea, and Scarlett Shouldice; Ryker and Waverly Geffs; and Millie and Cecily Pagendam; and uncle to many nieces and nephews. Born in Union, ON on June 28, 1929, to Isaac and Edna (nee Hamacher) Willson, Ed grew up and worked on the family farm in his youth, particularly enjoying hockey played on Union pond. After marrying Kathy at Coldstream Meeting House in 1951, Ed built the house that he and Kathy have lived in since 1952, moving it in 1958 from its original location in Union to its current location, where close ties to his brother and his brother’s family have continued. Until 1968, Ed worked as a carpenter, locksmith, and handyman for Brubacher’s hardware in St. Thomas, where he also helped convert vans to ambulances. This led to employment as an attendant for Golden Acres ambulance service. After extensive certification, training and experience as a paramedic, dispatcher and supervisor, Ed was appointed Director of the Ambulance Department at the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital (STEGH) in 1973, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. A proud Rotarian since 1990, Ed worked on an extensive number of Rotary projects including Operation Eyesight Universal, the Christmas Tour of Homes, Rotary Youth Exchange, the Rotary Music Festival and the Pinafore Park splash pad. Ed and his Rotary buddies built a Food Trailer for fundraising at local events. Ed also served as Sergeant-At-Arms for more than two decades, as President for the 1985-86 year and he had the distinguished honour of receiving five Paul Harris awards. Ed and Kathy thoroughly enjoyed attending two Rotary International Conventions in Nice, France and Calgary, Alberta. Ed was the original environmentalist, as he repurposed windows for greenhouses, salvaged lumber for sheds and turned old furniture into new. His creative abilities were displayed in his extensive and accomplished woodworking, including many items for Rotary Club functions. Ed also took great pride and pleasure in gardening and caring for his yard, and in watching a variety of birds, including hummingbirds, that visited the always stocked bird feeders in the backyard. Ed loved the great outdoors, especially with a fishing rod in hand, and gloried in trips with close friends to the French River. Over their 68 years together, Ed and Kathy have enjoyed dancing, boating, travel to Europe and the west, yearly trips to Florida in their camper van, and many family camping adventures at Long Point, Killbear and Algonquin Parks. They have always relished family music sessions and games nights, in particular highly competitive rounds of Pegs and Jokers. Above all, they have cherished their children, grandchildren, great grand-children, nieces, nephews and cousins as the family has grown and prospered under their care and leadership. Ed was a life long member of the Yarmouth Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and until recently, held a monthly committee meeting in his home. His peaceful nature and deep faith were shaped by his Quaker roots. The family would like to thank the palliative care team who provided great comfort to Ed and his family during his recent illness. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Shawn Jackson Funeral Home 31 Elgin Street, St. Thomas (519-631-0570). Memorial donations may be made to: St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, the Rotary Club of St. Thomas (general fund) or a charity of choice. Following cremation, a memorial service and burial will take place in the future when COVID-19 restrictions have been withdrawn. Personal condolences to the family can be made at www.sjfh.ca
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