In Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital, in the company of family members, Wilf Book passed away June 30, 1998 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 80 years of age.
Wilf began his teaching career in 1938 in MacGregor, Man. and subsequently taught in MacGregor, Carberry, Bowsman, and Swan River before moving to Fort Frances, Ont.
As a teacher, he was loved and respected by thousands of the students whose lives he indelibly influenced, and whose appreciation he cherished. His passion for English was infectious and remained constant over the years.
As a guidance counsellor, he helped students solve problems, chart careers, and rise to the challenges to the teen years. He also was an enthusiastic and successful coach of almost every sport on the high school curriculum at one time or another.
In 1956, he assumed the position of principal at Lively District High School, then moved back to Fort Frances in 1967 as principal of Fort Frances High School.
He was an active member of the Lions Club for 30 years, and served as president of the Ontario Headmasters’ Council, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, and of the Superannuated Teachers Federation of the Rainy River District, chairman of Northern Community Development Services, and advisor to the Rainy River First Nations.
He was awarded a Commemorative Medal for Community Service to mark the 125th anniversary of Confederation.
He retired from teaching in 1977, and became a stringer for the Thunder Bay Times-News, and a world traveller with his wife, Jessie.
Wilf was a canoeist, sailor, and avid outdoorsman, a philosopher, a dedicated teacher, a talented writer, a committed and outspoken social activist, and constant champion of the underdog. He loved verbal sparring, animated discussions about any issue, and spirited chess games. His wit was legendary, and his sense of humour sustained to the end.
Throughout his life, he set high standards for himself and for those whose lives he touched, and he was fiercely proud of their achievements.
He will be sorely missed and lovingly remembered by Jessie, his wife of 55 years; his children, Janice, Archie (Lorna), Bill (Margaret), Bonnie (Allan) Oliver, and Heather (James) Thomas; 11 grandchildren; and his brother, Harold.
If desired, donations may be made to the Canadian or Manitoba Cancer Society, or to the Manitoba Lung Association.