Pendrick, William (Bill) John
September 29, 1923 – April 18, 2020
(This is shared on behalf of Bill’s daughters, Lynda and Daryll)
Dad was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, son, brother and uncle, neighbor and friend, and he will be missed by all of those whose lives he touched. He was always there to help you, whatever the need. Bill Pendrick suddenly passed away on Saturday, April 18th.
Dad was funny, witty, kind, honest, friendly, thoughtful, outgoing, caring, generous, and a wonderful storyteller with a great sense of humor. He was a gentleman. And he was passionate about learning all things new.
We all know how Dad knew how to stretch a dollar, and this he learned from the Depression days. He spent many of his school days, instead of attending classes, going door-to-door selling blueberries to the neighbours that he had picked in the woods alongside his Mom. His Mom also would bake cookies and cakes for the neighbors, and it was Bill’s job, as a very young boy, to sell the pastries to the neighbors. And sometimes he couldn’t attend school because he did not have a pair of shoes to wear.
Another Depression era story Dad shared with us was how as a young boy of 8 or 9, he would walk from Park Street to the Roundhouse pushing his wheelbarrow in order to retrieve coal tailings. Dad would bring the coal tailings back home, maybe three miles each way, and the Pendrick family would tailings to heat their home.
So that is why Bill Pendrick learned at a young age how to stretch a dollar. (Too bad he didn’t instill this in his two daughters!). Dad was generous to a fault with his family.
Dad always had a passion for music and he received a trumpet when he was 10 years old from his uncle, Mike Didyk. His uncle taught him the C-scale and each finger note, and that was the extent of lessons Dad ever received. His father knew that he wanted a better trumpet and so he and his Dad took the passenger train to Winnipeg where Grandpa Pendrick purchased Bill a new trumpet for $100—a fortune at that time. So Dad delivered papers for the Winnipeg Tribune and paid his Dad back for the new trumpet. Then Grandpa Pendrick returned the $100 to Dad and advised him to purchase music instruction books to help him along with his trumpeting career.
When Dad was 16, he became leader of the Swing Band at Lakewood High School (the band had no name).
In 1938, when he was 15, he was invited to play with the Herbie Linder Dance Band, which later became the Bill Pendrick Band. He performed for many dances at the old Rowing Club, social events held in the Kenricia Hotel Ballroom, and other festivities.
The trumpet became a huge part of Dad’s life, throughout World War II, and right up until last year when he was still playing first trumpet in the Sunset Swing band. He was excited about the band reuniting this spring after their annual winter hiatus. His one regret was that the Dixieland Band he had formed in earlier years had disbanded due to the loss of their piano player. As Dad always said, “What is a Dixieland Band without a piano player?”
One of Dad’s fondest and proudest moments was playing the trumpet in the band at the CNR station when the King and Queen of England stopped briefly in Redditt during their cross-Canada tour in 1939. Dad was only 16.
When Dad was in Grade 12 and only 17 years old, during the middle of classes, he was called out to the principal’s office to receive a phone call from his father. His father had called to let him know that they were hiring on the CPR railroad. Without even returning to his class, Dad raced to the yard office and hired on and that is where he worked until retiring his locomotive engineer’s cap at the age of 62. Dad loved the railroad and in later years after he retired became a real railroad buff, and he became very involved in the CPR Railroad Museum. Dad loved the Railroad Museum and it was his strong hope that it would continue long into the future because of the joy and the knowledge it offers to so many visitors, particularly to the young children who visit.
In between that time, lots happened. In 1942, Dad signed up for the Royal Canadian Air Force and was assigned to the Royal Air Force Band, where he played at stations throughout Canada. “When they found out I was a trumpeter, I was immediately placed in the Western Air Command Band playing for all the Air Force dances and for on-stage venues,” he told Ruthie Bowiec in an interview in 2017.
And that is how Bill met the love of his life, May Pryde Brown, when he was stationed in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was on stage playing and there were two young beautiful women standing at the front of the bandstand throughout the performance. May was with her older sister, Rena. It was Dad’s turn to high-lite three sets and he held up a big sign saying, “This is for you,” to May. He played “Don’t Blame Me,” “Sweet and Lovely,” and “My Dreams are Getting Better all the Time.” He walked May home that night, and three months later they were wed.
May was the love of Dad’s life and right up to his passing, when folks would ask him the secret to his longevity, he would reply, “The love of a good woman and a daily glass of home-made wine.” Sadly, he lost the love of his life when Mom passed away on May 24, 2016. They had been married for 70 years.
Bill enjoyed a wide array of interests, talents, and hobbies. He was a prolific artist (oils); a talented wood carver; a decent golfer; an exquisite musician—he wrote music as well as played the trumpet); a successful gardener; an enthusiastic fisherman (and thanks to his close friend Burt, he still enjoyed the lake at the age of 96 pulling in pickerel); an accomplished curler, which he was still playing in 2019 as skip of his team when they won the bonspiel, and in fact played his last game on March 11, 2020; a home wine-maker (both red and white), and which he insisted was as “as good as anything bought and “you can’t tell the difference;” a jeweler (polished stones); a great cook (his cabbage rolls and meat loaf were to die for); and a Mr. Fix-it. Dad could fix anything. He was a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician—you name it, he could fix it. You never saw Dad without either his camera or video recorder and he was always happy to offer his time and videotape any Kenora event, offering copies of the performance to the participants. Dad was also a writer, contributing a chapter entitled “Music Bands: Past and Present” in Common Ground: Stories of Lake of the Woods: Celebrating Five Years of Storytelling, 2006-2010.
Bill was also very active in the Kenora community. Bill served as secretary/treasurer of the Lakewood Credit Union for many years, treasurer and volunteer at the CPR Museum, and he was a staunch supporter of he Lakewood Hospital for over 30 years selling tickets to raise money for the hospital (and it always galled him that he had to pay for parking there!).
One of Dad’s greatest joys was to prepare for the annual Armistice Day service at the Legion for which he would choose the music program, and where he would raise his baton to lead the room through his favorite military marches and nostalgic World War II songs. He loved this and looked forward to it every year. He would spend months preparing, sitting cross-legged on the living room floor, surrounded by music sheets, working on the program.
Dad entered the 21st century enthusiastically and tackled the challenges of the computer age with relative ease. He bought his first computer in 2007 at the age of 84 and mastered it in a couple of months, enjoying this new world he could enter so easily, especially appreciating all the music that was suddenly accessible to him. He skyped, e-mailed, Facebooked, and printed photos.
Bill was a devoted husband to May; a dedicated and loving father to his two daughters, Lynda (Tanner) and Daryll (Croome), a wonderful grandfather to his grandchildren Zach (Tanner) and Josh (Tanner), Tagen (Croome) and Kiley (Lundin) and a proud great-grandather to his grandsons Matt (Lundin) and Coop (Lundin). Dad was very fond of his grand-daughter Kiley’s husband, Brian (Lundin), especially enjoying Brian’s wicked sense of humor.
During the last years after May passed away, his nephew Ron (Noseworthy) and wife Claire welcomed Bill closely into their extended family and provided for him in every way. They welcomed him, loved him, and made him part of their lives and for that we are extremely grateful.
Dad was the son of John and Sophie Pendrick and brother of Florence Noseworthy.
Our family wishes to thank Dr. Sarah Coke and the wonderful caring staff in the Intensive Care Unit at Lakewood General Hospital.
Dad was loved by all of us—his family, his friends, his neighbours. We would like to give special thanks to George and Fran McMillan, Earl and Carolyn Johnson, and Ron Poirier for extending such love and care to Dad during these last years.
Bill Pendrick was “the legend of Park Street.”
Dad was a real force. He is our hero. He is deeply loved. And he will be forever missed.
If we know our Dad, we know he is already looking for a pianist to start up a Dixieland band.
We are happy knowing that Wully and Butchkins are together again.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the CPR Railroad Museum.
(The family plans to hold a “Celebration of Bill’s Life” this summer or fall, depending on Covid-19).
Condolences may be e-mailed to