June 1st, 1926 –
May 17th, 2009
Wilbur, also known as Bill, or Willie passed away peacefully Sunday, May 17th, 2009 from cancer at St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof. He was 82 years old.
Wilbur was born in Havre, Montana and went to grade school in Gardner, Montana. He spent 2 years in the US Navy from 1943 to 1945 on an aircraft carrier that trained the troops. He worked in a platinum mine off the Bering Seas in Alaska and then he met Hilda in 1953 by way of matchmaking from his sister, Betty, and Hilda had been widowed with 3 small children. Wilbur and Hilda married on May 29th, 1954 and they bought a ranch between Scapoose and Vernonia, Oregan where Wilbur took on various jobs as a faller for Crown Zellerback, worked at a millpond rafting logs and became a brand inspector. Wilbur met Bert Wheeler and they took a trip to Vanderhoof in 1962 to see what this “land of opportunity” had to offer. Well they liked what they saw so Wheeler’s moved here in 1963 and Wilbur and Hilda moved here in July 1964. They bought their ranch of 1120 acres on Klassen Rd. in the Mapes area in the fall of 1964 and they have been developing it ever since. Wilbur enjoyed farming. He became the brand inspector for many years in this area. He joined toastmasters, the heavy horse club and was even the instigator of starting Sinkut Mountain Cattlemens. He was an avid reader and enjoyed the topics of politics, health and has a large collection of the Louis Lamour western books. Wilbur even wrote articles for the Omineca Express over the years on various topics. His column was called the “Ranch & Farm Scene.” He was a musician as well and used to play his fiddle with Oscar Walstrom and family and Clyde Perkins at the dances and community events at the Mapes community hall over the years. Wilbur became a Canadian citizen in 1970.
His funeral was held May 22nd, 2009 at the Nechako Community Church led by Pastor Len Harms. His pallbearers were Larry Knudsen, Bill Ephrom, Tom Roberson, Mike and Tim Wheeler and Jared Lea and then he was laid to rest at the Mapes Cemetery. He was escorted by the Grace Memorial Funeral Home’s hearse to Martin and Sheila Solmonson’s residence on Mapes Rd. and then taken by horse drawn team and wagon, owned by Cliff and Bonnie Fawcett and Joe Roblyer, to the cemetery.
Wilbur is survived by his wife of almost 55 years, Hilda and her 3 children, Jim Hurtado and Carol Klassen of Vanderhoof and Judy Ekberg of Tualatin, Oregon and their families and his sister, Betty Pond, of St. Helen’s, Oregon and numerous nieces and nephews. Wilbur was a “colourful” character in personality and stature and will be missed by all.