Longtime Sooke resident and business owner Bill Wilson died on Oct. 6 at the age of 78.
Wilson was the owner of the 17 Mile House Pub and Liquor Shoppe. Wilson’s grandmother, Edith Mary (Ma) Wilson, bought the 17 Mile House in 1940 and was the proprietor until her death in 1970.
Bill Wilson’s wife Noni managed the pub until her retirement in 2005. The Wilson family continues to own the local landmark.
Wilson and Noni built their dream home across the street from the 17 Mile house in 1975. They raised their three children: Bethany, Justin and Jeremy in Sooke.
Wilson coached Justin and Jeremy in soccer, hockey and fastball. He also played many sports. He played third base and coached the Sooke Men’s Fastball team for many years and played with the Blunderbirds Oldtimers Hockey team.
“My Dad was raised by his single mom Mattie, he didn’t have an advocate for most of his young life but did have one great coach, Neil Sprinkling, so as an adult and a father he made a point of being a coach and a mentor to as many kids as possible. I still get stopped on the streets of Sooke by people telling me he was a great coach” said son Justin Wilson.
Wilson had a career in sales, first at Suburban Motors and then as a realtor beginning at Western Homes and then he relocated to Sooke and opened his own Century 21 office, Century 21 Westcom Realty in 1980.
Wilson won many awards during his career. His gold jacket was seen throughout the Sooke village as was his company van with its two tone gold stripes that would also be featured in the annual Leechtown parade. His yellow happy face logo was seen on soccer jersey’s and was very proudly displayed a front of the Sooke arena Zamboni.
His daughter Bethany Wilson reflected: “When I was a teenager I worked for my dad on weekends at his office. He would take me out for lunch every Saturday. As we walked to one of the local restaurants everyone we passed and everyone in the restaurant knew him. He enjoyed being an active member of the community and it is because of this participation and commitment that my brothers and I also have strong community connections.”
Inspired by their father and mother’s community involvement, Bethany is the president of Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People and former chair of the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s annual Jingle Mingle Gala, her husband Craig is on the board for Bays United Soccer Association, Justin is president of the Sooke Minor Fastball Association, was named coach of the year in 2017, and is a coach of the girls Under-14B team, his wife Gorana is on the executive of Sooke Minor Fastball Association and a manager for the Sooke Soccer Association, Jeremy coaches girls fastball, sits on the board of the Sooke Regional Tourism Association, and is a rider with the Victoria Firefighters Ride to Conquer Cancer team for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Wilson leaves a lasting legacy on Sooke, he built the office building at 6625 Sooke Rd. where his business was eventually located. Today it’ss the home of Sooke Fitness.
He was also one of the partners that developed and built a number of the current residential areas off Otter Point Road and Whiffin Spit Road. Winona Close and Bethany Place are named after his wife and daughter, respectively.
Wilson’s son Jeremy, owner of Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours, Browns Uptown, and Noodlebox, credits his dad with his entrepreneurial drive.
“My mom and dad inspired me to write my own script, to roll my up my sleeves and be the leader that I would want to work for. The rewards of championing a successful venture far outweigh the challenges to get there. They were absolutely right.”
From humble beginnings, Wilson took on his first job at the age of seven and after a successful career was able to retire at an early age in 1990 when he sold his business.
After his retirement Wilson became an avid golfer, and was one of the first members at Olympic View Golf Course when it opened on July 14, 1990. This also happened to be his 50th birthday. He golfed 300 games that year and went on to compete and win the Senior Games, Club Championship and many other tournaments. Wilson became club captain, in 1993 and 1994 and initiated the annual Jan. 1 tournament at Olympic View that continues to take place each year.
Wilson also had the notable distinction of golfing his age an astounding six times (70, 71, 74, 75×3).
Wilson was predeceased by his wife Noni in 2014, and is survived by his children Bethany (Craig), Justin (Gorana), and Jeremy (Sydney) and his four grandchildren Jonah, Shelby, Taya and Max as well as many other relatives and friends.
A celebration of Wilson’s life takes place at Olympic View Golf Course on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.
Submitted by the Wilson family.