Passed away peacefully at Hospice Simcoe in Barrie, Ontario with family at his side on October 6, 2023.


Bill was born in Toronto to John and Kathleen Wingfelder (nèe Dillon) of Stratford, Ontario. That same year, his Aunt Lillian arranged the family purchase of Bide-A-Wee, the cottage property in Honey Harbour built in 1904 by Colonel Thomas A. Duff. It was the beginning of Bill’s twofold life of city and cottage. Bill attended Holy Rosary Catholic School, St. Michael's College School and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson Polytechnic College) earning a degree in Electrical Engineering. Bill’s family home was 737 Avenue Rd. on the North side of Upper Canada College. He enjoyed a happy childhood growing up with an array of friends from the neighbourhood and school with whom he shared many adventures and lifelong connections. On a memorable occasion he and a friend rode their bikes all the way from Toronto to Honey Harbour (160km) via the old route of Highway 11, camping out overnight along the way.


Key among Bill’s talents and interests were tinkering with engines, building things and socializing. No surprise that when entering the workforce, Bill found himself in sales: for a brief time selling cars with one of his good friends and then working with General Electric, selling radar systems. G.E. was a career he loved. Bill was transferred to offices in New York state and New Jersey and in 1969 settled at Electronics Parkway in Syracuse where he remained until retirement. Highlights of his career include working with the Solid-State Radar team from which many long-lasting friendships were formed, and legendary stories originated. This work included traveling to Korea, Taiwan, Ecuador, Israel, and Europe to service clients such as the USAF, NATO and international air forces.


Marrying Anne Marie Wallace (of Toronto and Minett, Ontario) in 1958 was the beginning of a large family and fuller life than Bill may ever have imagined. He was a kind, patient and supportive father to his children: Lisa (Cliff Harding), Kathi Wingfelder, Wendy Wingfelder (Peter Koetsier), John Wingfelder (Jackie), David Wingfelder (Denise), and Laura Wingfelder, and a beloved Grandpa Bing to his nine grandchildren: Mary (Patrick), Grace (Jess), Sarah, Charles, William (Nicole), Kristin, Mark, Harrison, and Maia.


In Syracuse they made a wonderful life for their family. Actively participating in school and church communities, Bill put his talents to good use, building tables for classrooms, installing bleachers in the gym, and reading at Sunday mass. Blessed with a large annual snowfall, Bill and the children spent every Saturday downhill skiing and careening down a re-enforced sledding route in the backyard.

And in summer, every weekend, he made the 600km drive to Honey Harbour. When family life began, Bill and Anne Marie constructed their own building undaunted by the site or scale of the job (sitting on a 40ft elevation of Canadian Sheild), or even the sinking of the barge that held the lumber. Doing the building himself, Bill enlisted a few good friends and the family cottage was complete.


Honey Harbour brought fun filled summer days that included water skiing, boat trips, tennis, and other events at the Old School House, and wonderfully endless maintenance jobs on the property and the boats. Bill regularly attended Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church where family celebrated four baptisms and two weddings. Deep friendships were developed with generations of families from Honey Harbour.


After their marriage of 21 years ended, Bill and Anne Marie remained close friends and for the rest of their lives harmoniously shared in the life of their family. In 1985 Bill jumped at the opportunity to restore and relocate the Wallace family 1914 Ditchburn livery boat, “Viola,” from Lake Rosseau, Port Carling to Honey Harbour. Undertaking restoration and maintenance, a new era of cruising was born. Bill helmed many memorable cruises for picnics, sunset cocktails, catching the cool air on a hot night under the stars, and even a few weddings.


Bill always had time to help someone in need. Occasionally a stranger on the roadside; and regularly each member of his large extended family. Tinkering with cars, helping move house, babysitting, and a spur of the moment side trip such as pulling over at Niagara Falls in the winter to see the magic of the trees coated with frozen mist or a stop at the Go-kart track. Bill remained unfazed (or perhaps enlivened) by challenges: whether a broken water pump, a late-night car repair, a mouse in the house or a 6-foot fox snake in the ceiling light.


Marrying Carol Osborne Zivot in 1995 brought yet more family, friends, and adventure to Bill’s life. He enjoyed close relationships with Carol’s children: David Zivot (Cathy Lore, Lark Barker) and Micheal (Leslie MacIntosh), and grandchildren Joshua, Chloe, Eli, Emma, Chaque and Sandino. To be closer to Canada, they set up a home in Buffalo, N.Y. hosting family and friends and sharing their love of this city. With Carol at his side, Bill was thrilled to explore his love of history and his Irish and Bavarian Ancestry. They reveled in their travels to Mexico, Ireland, Europe, Turkey and Greece.


With retirement, Bill and Carol moved into Bide-A-Wee cottage for as much of the year as the lake ice would allow. Throughout their marriage, the cottage was alive with wonderful occasions from the everyday to the special. Together Bill and Carol created an atmosphere where family and friends felt treasured, supported, and loved. Bill spent every glorious summer of his long life at his beloved family cottage. His favourite spot was sitting on the lawn looking out towards the channel.


Bill will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him. Though he may be gone from this life, his spirit and love will live on in his children, stepchildren and 15 grandchildren.


A Funeral Mass is being held at on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 10:00 a.m., at Our Lady of Mercy Church, 2590 Honey Harbour Rd., Honey Harbour. A Celebration of Life will follow from 2-5pm at Bide-A-Wee cottage, Honey Harbour.


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Peaceful Transition Simcoe


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