Bill was born in Neudorf, Sask on July 24, 1925 to Bob and Cora Hamilton. In 1939 the family moved to Aylsham, Sask with his Brother Jack & his sister Doreen to operate their honeybees. In his younger years Grandpa was involved with many things in the district. He played hockey, loved to curl and operated the projector at the local movie theatre. Rumor has it he was a better projector operator than hockey player. When the good teams came to town, the owner of the theatre, who was a better hockey player, always managed to have Bill work at the theatre while he played hockey!
He completed his high school in Aylsham and then attended electrical training at Balfour Tech in Regina for 2 years. After that, he worked part-time with Neil Hart and helped his father in Beekeeping. In 1948 he and his dad started travelling to California every spring to haul package bees back to Canada. Bill lived in Aylsham until 1953 at which time he moved to Nipawin to manage a honeybee operation, which he later bought. During his early time in Nipawin he met a young lady who worked at the hospital by the name of Kathy, whom he married in early 1954. To this marriage came 4 boys, Robert in 1955, Jack in 1958, Scott in 1962, and Cameron in 1965.
Bill was active in the Nipawin Fish and Game League and was a very avid hunter and fisherman, organizing many excursions into the north. In 1955 he shot the largest moose in Saskatchewan and was recorded in the Saskatchewan Henry Kelsey Record Book. He built a collapsible cabin, called the Moose Hotel, which they used to sleep in. He was also involved in a camp at Cut Beaver near the Sappanic Channel just past the Squaw Rapids Dam and helped build a camp on the Mossy River across from Dr. Fitton’s Log Cabin. He enjoyed having to pull the animals to camp with his bombardier. As the boys were growing up, they dreamed of the day they would join Grandpa and his friends on their yearly trip to the Mossy River. The big truck was loaded with 2 bombardiers and other trucks were loaded with snowmobiles and sleighs. The whole extravaganza would then leave to spend a week hunting in the north country sleeping in tents or cabins.
Bill joined the Masonic Lodge in Nipawin in 1954 and moved through the various positions, becoming Master of the Lodge in 1962. He eventually moved on to the Shriners. He also joined the Kinsmen Club in 1959 and enjoyed the fellowship and service work in the community.
In 1977 we moved the bee operation to Codette where it continues today. Bill was very active in the construction of the various buildings on the property. He took great pride in planning and assembling the machinery used in the bee operation. Grandpa’s passion was working with his hands in his shop. He spent many hours working on improving his honeybee operation and created many inventions. He also loved collecting and restoring his antique tractors. When harvest came, he enjoyed sharing his passion with other people with a thrashing bee.
Bill was involved with the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association, always attending meetings, proudly displaying his latest creation, for example, the Hamilton Menthol Board. He always said you came away from the meetings with new ideas. He especially liked arranging the barbecue at the SBA Summer Picnic, which he did for many years. He was honored as the "World’s Greatest Barbecuer" with a plaque in 1987. He always enjoyed talking bees with the gang. In 2007 he & Kath received a Life Membership to the Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association; which he was very proud of.
He participated in the early years of the Canadian Honey Council, as a Producer/Packer and was also involved in the Saskatchewan Honey Board, serving as it’s president.
Bill served as the Reeve of the R.M of Nipawin for 12 years. He prided himself on always doing the right thing for the Municipality.
He was a hands-on employer, even after his stroke. He’d hop on his scooter and be out in the yard supervising the crew, rain or shine. You always knew where you stood with Bill, he never was one to beat around the bush. He’d tell it as he saw it.
Husband for 54 years, he taught his sons to be men and then to be fathers. As a grandfather he taught his grandchildren the value of education. He taught us things like how to drive a truck, how to braid a rope, or how to organize a crew. He loved to get ice cream and would get quite upset if the ice cream shop was closed. He described ice cream as being worth a million dollars.
On one of his ice cream trips with his eldest granddaughter Kathleen, he told her how proud he was of his boys, with what they had done with their lives.