William John Chernoff was born to John S. and Polly S. Chernoff on April 2, 1915, at Veregin, Sask. He was the youngest of four children having three older sisters: Lucy, Anne and Mary. Also two older half brothers: John Chernoff from his Dads side, and Lukian Nevakshonoff from his Mothers.
William John started his schooling in 1924 at the age of nine in a little red brick schoolhouse in Verigin, Sask., where he attended until 1930 completing the 6th grade.
Then due to an injury his dad sustained to his hand and was unable to fulfill his responsibilities to the communal work force, William John was called on to take his Dads place, thus having to leave school. For a period of nine years he worked in the communal agriculture enterprise of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, mainly fieldwork with teams of horses.
In April of 1939 the decision was made to move to southern Alberta where his sister Anne and her husband Fred Faminow had leased land and invited William John to bring his parents and farm the adjacent land to theirs. With three cows, four horses, and some implements, they moved by train from Verigin to the Cowley, Lundbreck area of southern Alberta. For a period of four and a half years they prospered with the grain crops he planted and harvested and the mixed farming of raising pigs, cattle and horses. Toward the end of 1943, on the urging of his father wanting to be closer to the Doukhobor community at large in B.C., William and his parents decided to move to B.C. From the sale of the livestock he raised for nearly five years at Alberta, William was able to buy a parcel of land on Johnson Flats at Grand Forks.
Between Christmas and New Years of 1943, at the Province Hotel he met Mabel Negraeff and they were married on his birthday, April 2nd, 1944. Their first son William W. (Billy) was born in December. His dad, John S. passed away on the farm in the fall of 1945.
For the first two years he and Mabel grew seed onions on Johnson Flats until the spring of 1947 when they went into the dry goods and grocery business opening up William’s General Store in downtown Grand Forks until the fall of 1949. He bought a truck and went to work hauling logs for his father-in-law, John Negraeff who was operating a sawmill. In November of 1950 their second son, Lawrence William was born at Grand Forks.
William stayed with the logging and Mabel worked out cooking in restaurants until the fall of 1955 when they bought the Pinewood Cabins at Christina Lake, B.C., and by 1956 William had built a restaurant and cleared a campground. The business became know as the Pinewood Cabins and Café, known for its home cooked meals, pies and borscht.
Being a seasonal business, in the winter months William continued to work out on the different construction jobs that were happening all around at that time as a carpenter and laborer when called for. He and Mabel operated the cafe until 1969 when it was sold and William built a home in town and semi-retired. William continued to work out in
the summer months and travel in the winter. His beloved Mabel passed away in 1995 and he did not re-marry.
William was predeceased by his parents John and Polly Chernoff; sisters: Mary Riebin, Lucy Seminoff and Anne Faminow; two brothers, John Chernoff and Lukian Nevakshonoff; and by his wife of 51 years, Mabel. William is survived by his sons, Billy and Lorne (Iris); grandchildren: John William Chernoff, Catherine Grace Chernoff, Meagan Mabel Chernoff, Kristen Page Hutchcroft and Melanie Joy Chursinoff; and great-grandson, Chase Andrew Hutchcroft.
William was a quiet and gentle hard working man, a devoted husband and a wonderfully warm and caring father.
Special thanks to all who have traveled to be here this morning; thanks to the singers; John Verigin; Jerry Seminoff for guidance and help; Everett Baker and staff for guidance and arrangements; Pastor John Siemens of First Baptist Church; all who have spoken kindness; the men who prepared the grave site; all who brought food; and the ladies who prepared the food.
William was a lifelong member of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ and the Brotherhood Choir, and a committee member of the association of Canada-USSR.
He was an active member and took part in all activities.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, June 30, 2012, at the USCC Community Center with burial in the USCC Sion Doukhobor Cemetery at Grand Forks, B.C. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Everett Baker of Grand Forks Funeral Home.