The passing of another local pioneer is especially sad, as they are the cornerstones of our community and have played a large part in community development.
Bill Harrison was a pioneer in the aviation business in the north. Burns Lake, Watson Lake, Smithers, Telegraph Creek, Dease Lake and all points beyond. Bill successfully developed fixed wing airplane businesses as well as rotor wing helicopter businesses into very impressive companies over the years. His ability as a top notch Bush Pilot were renown. Tens of thousands of hours of flying time, a few close calls, but at the end of the day, he was on the ground safely as were all of his passengers. A committed family man Bill had his entire family involved in the business of flying and in their spare time, the family spent a lot of quality time at remote fly in lakes and camps. Harrison’s come from a long line of pilots and were affiliated with the best Bush Pilots in the North. Bills son Steve, his grandson Doug and nephew Scott are all impressive commercial pilots as is his son in law Scot Camron who recently retired from a life of flying the big ones all over the world. Bills Grandfather’s second cousin was Amelia Erhart and Rosemary’s great Uncle Krole, financed her famous flight. What a history. Bill also was a very community minded person prior to age and pain creeping up on him. He was an integral motivator in building the Francois Lake Colleymount) skating rink (the first covered rink in the area), and was instrumental in running power into the area. He and Rosemary also loved the ocean and spent loads of time taking friends and family fishing on the Rosie B up and down the B.C. coast. In Bill’s younger years he spent many winters trapping with Jimmy Morgan in the canadian outback and working in and eventually owning sawmills, but his passion was flying. Not only was he extremely good at what he did, his selfless nature was evident when he passed on some of his learned flying skills to help young pilots hone their talent. On another exciting adventure, he and friends journeyed on a riverboat, (also named the Rosie B), down the Yukon river enjoying the, scenery, wilderness and the company. Bills inventiveness was apparent, as the designer of a hydraulic dock side boat bottom cleaning machine, utilizing the skills of Bill Glanville. He and Joe Lambert were also responsible for development of the direct vent toilet fan, still used in many local homes. Bill was totally repulsed with the mess left by Alcan Aluminum in his old stomping grounds, (the Ootsa lake reservoir). Bill Harrison, Bill Glanville and Bob Mills got together with a huge personal investment, and built the underwater logging equipment needed to clean up the lake. After proving it’s success, it was purchased by the Government. Bills success was due to monumental financial risks he was willing to take, a serious work ethic and great business skills. A piece of our history, not soon forgotten.
Bill was pre-deceased by his lovely wife Rosemary on December 14/2011, his brother Montie Harrison and his sister Marie July 2010.
His descendants include his son Steve, his daughter Sandra Cameron (husband Scot), his grand children Kirsten Harrison, Carla Berkelaar, Doug Cameron (wife Shannon) Lisa Berthiaue (husband Brent), and his great grandchildren Austin Cameron, Keneddy Cameron, Adam Berthiaume and Ashtyn Berthiaume.