The Dryden Observer

Your Source for Dryden News

William Robert Blair (Bill) – March 22, 1929 – September 30, 2017

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
William Robert Blair (Bill) – March 22, 1929 – September 30, 2017

In loving memory of Bill Blair, who passed away peacefully at the Dryden Regional Health Centre on Saturday, September 30, 2017.

Bill was born March 22, 1929 in Dauphin, Manitoba and moved to the Dryden area in the mid-1950s to work road construction.

Bill was a heavy equipment operator having a keen eye for grade, and his signature is on everything from highway 17, the Jones Road in Kenora, Savant Lake highway and many in between.  He could operate most any kind of machine and we’ve been told he was one of the best.

He loved the outdoors.  He was an avid hunter but only harvested what was needed to feed the family.  He only hunted on foot, challenging his prey to outsmart him.    He loved gardening and picking berries of all kinds, and shared the bounty with family and friends.  

Bill loved the challenge of repairing what most would discard, often having to first make a tool suitable for the task, much like McGyver.   He took great pride in carving impeccable tracks in the ski trails through neighbouring properties throughout Oxdift.   He maintained all of our vehicles, snow machines, lawn mowers, as well as most household appliances. 

 Dad was a skilled carpenter, and when he retired, we also discovered he was a craftsman, creating beautiful handcrafted items for each of his family.   He was successfully self-taught in wiring, plumbing, and anything else that needed to be done. 

Bill was a husband, Dad, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa, who loved time spent with family.  Their home was always a gathering place, and the lake home offered a haven for the family and friends. 

Bill is survived by his wife of 61 years, Frances (Skene), daughter Lori (Ken) Sanders, Alison (Jim) Szabo and daughter-in-law, Kim Blair.  Also surviving are grandchildren Leslie (Sanders) Burtch, Krista (Sanders) and Jesse Freeman, Cameron Blair, Cody (Laura) Blair, Brenden Szabo and Blair Szabo, and four great-grandchildren, Olivia and Connor Burtch, and Sawyer and Asher Freeman.  

He was predeceased by his son, Steven; parents Lloyd and Ada; brother, Don; sister, Lois Harvey.

There was a Celebration of Life Service at the First United Church on Wednesday, October 4th, at 1:00 p.m. with Reverend Erin McIntyre officiating.  Interment followed in the Oxdrift Cemetery.

If friends desire donations may be made to DRHC CT Scan Fund through the Stevens Funeral Homes P.O. Box 412, Dryden ON P8N 2Z1. Condolences may be posted at 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.