William George "Bill" Warren, 91, passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of May 15th, 2023 after a courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. Bill is survived by Gerda, his wife of 59 years and his daughters and spouses, Sue (Jerry), Barb (Shawne) and Margaret (Mike) and his grandchildren, Melissa, Michael, Lane, Olivia, Teagan, and Gabe.
William Warren was born on May 12th, 1932 in Motueka, New Zealand. He received an MSC Degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics from Auckland University in 1953. Fate decreed that his career would be in the application of statistical methods and he received a PHD at the University of North Carolina, USA, in 1963 including a split minor in Forestry at Duke University. He began his professional career as Biometrician at New Zealand Forest Research Institute (1954-1967). He was appointed as a Research Statistician for the Western Forest Products Laboratory, Canadian Forestry Service, Department of the Environment in Vancouver, BC (1967-1983), was an Untenured Professor at the Department of Experimental Statistics, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (1983-1987), and a Research Professor for the School of Forestry, Oregon State University in Corvallis (1987-1990). He then switched to marine resources statistics and biometry and worked as a Research Scientist for the Science Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John's, NF, Canada (1990-2007). In addition, he taught Sampling at Simon Fraser University and Memorial University of Newfoundland. His contributions and achievements were recognized with several honours and awards including Fellowship of the American Statistical Association and Distinguished Statistical Ecologist – from the International Ecological Society.
To many he was Dr. Warren, but to those who will remember him most fondly and miss him deeply, he was Bill, Dad, and Granddad.
Bill moved with his wife, Gerda, and daughters, Sue and Barb, from Rotorua, New Zealand in 1968 to North Vancouver on the west coast of Canada. He and Gerda welcomed their third daughter, Margaret, in 1978. In 1989, he, Gerda and Margaret moved to St. John's, Newfoundland on the very east coast where he discovered shorter trees and deeper snow! He and Gerda returned to the west in 1999 to live in their retirement home in Sechelt, British Columbia. He spent his last four years in Gibsons, a short drive from Sechelt, at Christenson Village Assisted Living Care Facility. He quickly charmed the lovely staff there with his humor and intelligence and was able to enjoy Gerda's companionship when she routinely visited.
In contrast to the complexities of his career, he was perfectly content living a modest, simple, and quiet life valuing family over material possessions. He forged lifelong friendships with colleagues worldwide and maintained close relationships with extended family. All anticipated and took pleasure in reading his annual Christmas letter in which he proudly reported on the accomplishments of his daughters and grandchildren and the activities he and Gerda had enjoyed.
Bill's favourite and life long hobby was stamp collecting. He spent years identifying and organizing his vast collection of stamps from every corner of the world and from decades old and new. He continued to enjoy this passion to the very end of his life and although his motor skills had been degraded substantially by Parkinson's, he managed with great determination and talent and with an audience of admiring nursing staff, to pick up tiny individual stamps off the floor with his grabber tool!
Bill was a great lover of old Hollywood movies, and his steadfast musical companion was opera. He was deeply moved by the stories depicted in opera and he passionately admired the talent who brought those stories to life. He was always thrilled to find a fellow opera enthusiast and generously shared his tremendous knowledge of this discipline. He read many historical novels about royalty and medieval times and was able to retell the events described with such detail one might have assumed he had penned the literature himself. Bill enjoyed seeing live theater at Trinity while in St. John's.
As a young man, Bill was a competitive hurdler and excelled at table tennis. He enjoyed playing court tennis, badminton and cricket in the early days in Vancouver. From the comfort of home, he watched horse racing, tennis, and curling, but none of these more attentively than figure skating. Bill was mesmerized by the musicality and performance of the sport, and he could employ his mathematical talents while watching. He would create a chart of what used to be a very complicated scoring system and could often predict with great accuracy the first, second and third place winners before the final competitor had hit the ice. He appreciated nature and reserved many Sunday afternoons for leisurely drives with his family to enjoy a picnic at a local scenic destination. Bill loved camping throughout British Columbia and Alberta and even attempted a trip in the less forgiving terrain of St. John's. He was happy sitting at a campfire, taking a walk guided by the campsite naturalist and spotting wildlife. We have been left with many fond memories of these beautiful outdoor adventures. In Newfoundland, Bill admired the seasonal icebergs and picturesque rocky eastern shores.
Throughout his life, he was able to travel to many destinations around the world and in his retirement, he experienced great joy cruising with Gerda by his side to the Panama Canal, Hawaii, Alaska, visited Iceland and Amsterdam and crossed the Atlantic with Cunard from Southampton to New York City. They also journeyed via train from Toronto to Vancouver. Bill continued to imagine where they may cruise next.
Bill was a hard working, kind man of great intelligence and wit and was committed to providing security for his family. He will be dearly missed and remembered with admiration and love.
We want to send out a very special thank you to the nurses and staff at Christensen Village who spent time with and took such good care of Bill. In lieu of flowers, donations to Parkinson's research will be meaningful and appreciated.
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