Cover photo for Charles William (Bill) Shirriff's Obituary
Charles William (Bill) Shirriff Profile Photo
1933 Charles 2020

Charles William (Bill) Shirriff

September 17, 1933 — November 1, 2020

With great sadness, but with thankfulness for a good long life, we announce the peaceful death of Charles William (Bill) Shirriff on November 1, 2020 at the Portage District General Hospital following a stroke on October 25, 2020.

He was the beloved husband of Wilma Shirriff (née Young) since 1964 and the well-loved and loving father of Kenneth Shirriff and Anita Borger. Ken and his wife Kathryn live in Redwood City, California.  Anita and her husband Henry live in Winnipeg.  Bill’s adored granddaughters are Emma Borger, a student at UBC Vancouver, Sydney Shirriff, a student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Lillian Borger, a McGill in Montreal student.

Bill leaves behind his brother Clifford (Joan) of Osoyoos, B.C., and their sons and families.  He will be fondly remembered by his sister-in-law Anne Teghtmeyer, nephew Bill Teghtmeyer (Sharon) and their daughter Sabrina of Portage la Prairie and by niece Nancy Teghtmeyer (Dave) of Calgary. Friends and former students will have memories of his dedication to the welfare and learning of young people.

Born on September 17, 1933, Bill grew up on the family farm outside Swift Current, Saskatchewan. During high school he took all the extra courses he could, and also played the euphonium in their marching band. Following high school he attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.  He taught at Cranberry Portage and Swan River, and then during International Geophysical Year, 1958, spent time at Moosonee, Ontario, measuring the ozone level of the upper atmosphere.  Later he obtained a Master of Science in counselling psychology from the University of North Dakota, and a B.A. degree from the State of New York. He also studied at University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Connecticut (Storrs), and Stanford University.

Here in Portage, Bill taught at Portage Collegiate Institute and then was a counsellor for the school division. He served as Consultant for the Talented and Gifted and then as Special Education Coordinator. Bill was one of the early leaders in recognizing the role computers could play in the school system.

As a member of McKenzie United Church, at various times Bill was a Sunday School teacher, an elder, and helped with building construction. In the community he was instrumental in establishing Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and played the French horn in the Portage Little Symphony. Gardening, travelling, and seeking out new experiences with an open mind were important to him. Above all, Bill devoted love, time, and energy to his wife and family.  He loved to laugh and joke.

Many former students will remember his red TR3A convertible and his positive attitude to life.  He published three books:  novels “Spirits of a Feather” and “Souls of a Feather,” and autobiographical  “It’s not where you’re going, it’s how you get there.” Bill generously helped many young people as they sought to make their way in life.

The family is grateful for the excellent care Bill received during his stay in the Palliative Care ward at the Portage Hospital.

A private family service will honour his life.  If friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to McKenzie United Church, 85-11th St, NW, Portage la Prairie, MB, R1N 2S2 or Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Portage la Prairie, Inc.  15 Tupper Street S. Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 1W7.

A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles William (Bill) Shirriff, please visit our flower store.


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