March 8, 1955 – January 5, 2021
It is with profound sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of William (Bill) George Clingwall. Most loving brother, uncle, cousin and friend, Bill was born in Abbotsford on March 8th, 1955, and ascended to heaven on January 5th, 2021.
After three years in Abbotsford the Clingwall family moved to Mission where Bill would spend his formative years. Abundant tales of youthful exuberance can be heard amongst the endless ramblings of his siblings and assorted co-conspirators.
Although most people can point to various life-defining incidents, Bill experienced a particularly tragic event. At the age of 15 Bill injured his neck in a horrific water-skiing accident. Despite being initially diagnosed as a possible quadriplegic, Bill’s courage and determination enabled him to defy the medical predictions and not only become mobile again, but to spend the majority of his remainder years walking with the aid of only a simple crutch.
The family was ever so proud of Bill when he walked across the stage to receive his high school diploma. He would receive a standing ovation for his fearless determination and accomplishments.
Striving for excellence – whether it was crafting fishing rods with exacting precision or spotting game while camouflaged amongst the trees, Bill’s unique nature was always on display for all to behold.
A list of appropriate virtues that accurately characterize the depth and breadth of this stellar lad would be far too long for this piece. However, we would like to highlight a few of his more astounding qualities and contributions.
Throughout his life Bill’s role as a family anchor never faltered. He was an information conduit through which the Good, the True and the Beautiful traversed. Over time he became a cornerstone of strength and fortitude for the family/friend web that had become ever more extended these past decades.
Without fail Bill stayed connected with family and friends as he reached out to everyone on their birthdays, at Christmas time, or whenever a moment of consequence arose. He was honest and sincere in his love, and his belief in the bonds of family and friendship. He will always be an inspiration to us all.
His words of support were always welcome and timely. During moments of weakness or crisis, one could anticipate Bill’s enduring love and concern to arrive at the appropriate moment to raise one’s spirits and inspire one’s heart with just the right amount of joy.
His wisdom and humility laced always with wrought iron strength of character – unquestionable integrity – a mentor and impartial arbiter, offering insight and perspective in just such a way as to guide people to a more appropriate outcome/decision.
Bill steadfastly exhibited courage and tenacity in the face of obstacles. His clarity of thought was always refreshing, while his good humor and patience were always a source of inspiration. He was the embodiment of virtues both traditional and contemporary. Bill, thank you for your reliability, your honor, and your resoluteness – an example to be emulated.
All of Bill’s family and friends owe him a genuine debt of gratitude for his unshakeable commitment to the joy and beauty one should always find in one’s extended family/friend network. He was the embodiment of this commitment.
Bill was a humble unpretentious man, who will be dearly missed by his family, his friends, and by everyone fortunate enough to have known him. His life and his legacy will forever live on in each of us touched, however subtly, by his unassuming brilliance.
The family would like to send out a special thanks to John and Maureen Groening. John and Maureen were very dear friends who stood by Bill’s side spending countless hours together. In addition to being friends they provided support to Bill in times of need which included tending to his needs all hours of the day and night. They brought him food, repaired equipment, engineered and constructed special needs stairs and the like. They also purchased special equipment for Bill as that need arose. Again a very special thanks goes out to both of you John and Maureen.
Bill was a highly valued part of the team at J. Groening Electrical Engineering for the last few decades. John Groening describes Bill as follows: “Bill always showed up with a positive outlook and ready to go to work. Although his mobility was limited due to a serious teenage spinal cord injury it was hard to get him to accept any special aids.
I had to convince him that a mobility chair with a power assist lift would be useful. He used the chair to move around the office but never did use the power assist lift seat. He needed to prove to himself that he could stand-up and walk with his two canes even though it looked like a dangerous tightrope act many days.
He had set well defined mobility goals many years ago that permitted a good quality of independent life. He was able to drive, purchase a home and work in a field that he excelled in. During his career and during periods of intense physio rehab after medical setbacks he earned the admiration of neighbors, friends, family, associates and hospital staff. It was an honor to have Bill as an associate and close friend that helped us to recognize higher standards for life and how to deal with extreme adversity.”
The family is planning a celebration of life in Mission in September; details to follow.
In lieu of flowers please donate to a spinal cord research organization.
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