May 30, 1924 – Feb. 23, 2003
Bill Petkau was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. At the age of 16, he and his family, together with a group of other Mennonite adventurers moved to B.C. and homesteaded in the Cheslatta and Ootsa Lake area. Shortly after moving, he combined his love of horses with his new job of horse logging. This developed into a life long love of logging and sawmilling. In fact, he became a rancher somewhat by accident, and he always said he liked the smell of sawdust much better than the smell of manure.
In 1950 Bill married Katherine Fehr, she would become his life long partner and his greatest love. They had six children, together they carved a cattle ranch out of the untamed wilderness, Island Lake Ranch.
Bill had the ability to make everyone around him feel unique and special. He was a hard working man, but he always made time for people, especially children, who were a constant joy in his life. One of his outstanding characteristics was his generosity to neighbors, friends, community and church. As long as there was a need to fill he had a reason for living.
Bill had a childlike wonder of life’s simple pleasures. He taught his kids to always find the humor in everyday life, to do their very best, and trust in God. This is how he lived and he expected no less from others. He worked hard, played hard, laughed lots, and loved richly. He always fought the good fight and if life is a race, then Bill Petkau has won!
Bill is survived by his loving wife Katherine; children Helen (Dan) McLarry, Jake (Lori) Petkau, Eva (Abe) Fehr, Isaac (Denise) Petkau, Ann (Brian) Yanciw, Judy (Jody) Johnson. And by his sisters, Agnas Bueckert, Mary Peters, Susan Bueckert, Katie Bueckert, Anne (Herman) Fehr, Margaret (John) Neudorf, and sister-in-law Marie Petkau. He leaves behind twelve grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Good-bye Dad, til we meet again in that wonderful place you now call home. We will miss your generousity in thought and deed, your wise council, your loving spirit and oh, that smile! Thank you for being our friend, mentor, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. We have a great example to follow, but we go forth with confidence, as you have taught us the way.