December 26, 1937 – September 11, 2023
In loving memory ~
Bill Finnegan was born in Jonquiere, PQ, on December 26th, 1937, during an Irish Wake for his grandfather, William Finnegan. He was raised in a French community but attended a small English school until grade 11 and completed his high school at St. Michael’s College in Toronto. He took two years of Engineering at McGill before completing a B.Sc. degree at Loyola College in 1961 and his Dentistry degree at McGill in ’65 He joined the Phi Kappa Pi fraternity in 1957 and lived there where he made many Life-Long friends.
After graduation, he worked as a Dental Intern at Montreal General, Royal Victoria and Montreal Children’s Hospitals. Bill married Jill Hopkins after her graduation as an R.N. in September 1966. They travelled west where he took the position of Dental Extern for the BC Gov’t and worked in distant locations for one year, including Queen Charlotte Islands, Cortez and Hornby Islands Cumberland, Stewart, McBride and Gold River, areas without a dentist.
They toured the next year in a truck and camper, as well as stays in Jamaica, Peru and Mexico, before moving to Sydney Australia where he shared his time teaching at the U of Sydney and practising part-time in dentistry during 1968-69. He returned to Montreal and awaited acceptance into the Orthodontics program at the University of Detroit for the following year. They lived in Windsor, Ontario where he raised his two children, Richard and Margaret.
Upon graduating, Bill and his family settled in Nanaimo in September 1972. He was the 1st Orthodontist on Vancouver Island north of Victoria. At the request of local dentists, He held clinics in Port Alberni for 24 years, Courtenay for 10 years, and continued in his favourite place, Ucluelet, until he retired in 2007, after 38 years in practice.
Bill and Jill were ski patrollers where they had a cabin at Forbidden Plateau. He continued skiing out-of-bounds with the “Extremely Canadian” Whistler guides in places like Val d’Isere France & Las Lenas, Argentina until 2015. He enjoyed hunting with his Dad, long-term friend Glyn Edwards, son and grandson Chase.
He curled for many years on Dr. Nori Nishio’s Monday night team and spent time fishing locally and up the Port Alberni canal where he caught his big 43 lb fish.
He enjoyed jogging and completed four marathons after the age of 60. He joined the Nanaimo Summer Swim Club at age 40 and competed alongside his children with the 17+ group in the many Island swim meet competitions.
Like his father Frank, he loved telling stories and pulling pranks and had a great sense of humour. He loved to travel with his family and loyal staff. And in his retirement, he spent time in Palm Desert and Ko Olina, Oahu annually. He had a community garden and went there every morning and walked along the beach.
As his health started to fail, he was placed in Long Term Care, Parksville where Bill and Jill celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary September 3rd at Arrowsmith Lodge.
Bill suffered a stroke the next day and died peacefully in Palliative Care under the wonderful, loving hands of their staff, on September 11, 2023.
He is survived by his children, 15 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
There will be a “Finnegan’s Wake” gathering at the Nanaimo Yacht Club on Thanksgiving Sunday, October 8th, 2023, from 1-4 p.m. Everyone welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to BC Heart and Stroke Foundation.Obituary-
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