PELHAM, William “Bill”

Posted: August 14th, 2021


We, the family of WILLIAM “BILL’ PELHAM wish to announce his departure from this life, and into the open arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Monday, August 9th, 2021 at St. Marguerite Manor in Calgary, Alberta.

Dad was born in Lethbridge on March 21st, 1933, the youngest son of John and Lillian Pelham. The family lived in Wrentham where John was an elevator agent and farmer and Lillian was a teacher. John played cribbage with the farmers during the “lulls” between loads of grain. Dad participated whenever he could in these spontaneous matches and it was at this time that he developed a lifelong love of the game.

Dad described a typical rural boyhood in Wrentham: swimming in Chin Coulee, playing pick-up baseball games, and shooting pool. He also spoke of a close-knit community, which bonded through the church, school, and local events.

After graduating high school in 1951, Dad went to Olds Agricultural School receiving a diploma two years later. He then worked as a Lab Technician for the Entomologists at the Lethbridge Research Station for the next 35 years. Dad would care for the insect specimens (such as the sugar beet webworm) within the controlled laboratory during the winter months, and then in the summer, he would do fieldwork relating to these insect pests, and their damage to the local crops.

Dad met our mother, Priscilla Nagy during a community dance, and fell in love. They were married in 1957, and went on to raise three sons; Cameron, Shannon, and Bradley. Dad assisted with coaching the boys’ baseball teams and taking them camping and fishing. The family also took a trip to Disneyland in 1976, which was a fun time for them all.

After Dad’s retirement in 1988, he and Mom went to Oahu, Hawaii, and on several bus trips. One highlight was a trip down the eastern coasts of Canada and the U.S as the maple leaves turn color in the fall.

During his retirement, Dad volunteered to help seniors with their yearly income tax and was active in a local horseshoe club; participating in tournaments, and winning a few along the way. He was also a long-time member of Central Church of Christ, serving as a deacon and helping with lawn care and general maintenance.

The addition of three daughter-in-law’s and six grandchildren brought much happiness for Mom and Dad as they shared holidays and camping trips with their growing family.

Sadly, in 1998, Mom passed away from cancer, just prior to their 41st wedding anniversary. Dad then moved from their home on 20th street to River Ridge Condo complex. He remained active over the next several years, in spite of suffering a cerebral hemorrhage that affected his short-term memory.

A highlight during this time was a trip to Bella Coola with some of his children and grandchildren to visit the area where his Uncle Cliff Kopas settled, raised a family, and later wrote a novel about his experiences getting there by packhorse from Okotoks, Alberta with his new bride in the 1930’s. Dad was able to reacquaint himself with Cliff’s daughter and other cousins while visiting the beautiful sites of this valley.

After suffering a serious, life-threatening fall, Dad moved to St. Marguerite Manor in Calgary in July of 2015 where he lived until his passing. On the afternoon of his passing, he played a game of cribbage with his son, Cameron before leaving us during his sleep later that evening.

Dad was a quiet and modest man, with a dry sense of humor. He was a true “gentleman” with solid, old-fashioned values of working hard for what you have, respect for others, and a love for family and God. We will miss our dear father/grandfather, but know he will live on in our hearts.

Predeceased by his parents: John and Lillian Pelham, wife: Priscilla Pelham, brother, and sister-in-law: Ron and Joyce Pelham, mother and father-in-law: Julianna and George Nagy, sisters-in-law: Irene Nagy, and Elizabeth (Liz) Gebaur, brothers-in-law: George Nagy Jr., John Wieler and Gerald Coyne, and nephew: Larry Hammer.

Bill is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law: Cameron (Tanyia) Pelham, Shannon (Judy) Pelham, and Bradley (Kathy) Pelham, grandchildren: Ashley (Ryan) Kotlewski, Brayden (Helen) Pelham, Dakota (Hailie) Pelham, Joshua (Brooklyn) Pelham, Megan Pelham, and Corbin Pelham, great-grandchildren: Harris Kotlewski and Abby Pelham, sisters-in-law: Margaret Wieler and Julaine Coyne, brother-in-law: Henry Gebaur, nieces and nephews: Eric (Barb) Pelham, Blake (Corrine) Pelham, Priscilla (Ron) Hammer, George (Donna) Hammer, Alison (Rick) Coyne, Peter (Mary) Coyne, Blake (Christie) Coyne, Carrie Coyne, and their children.

Our family would like to warmly thank the staff of St. Marguerite Manor (3rd-floor supportive living) for the excellent care they gave our father during his six years, particularly in the last few weeks of his life when Dad’s needs were much more demanding.

A funeral service will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2825-32 Street South in Lethbridge on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 at 2:00 P.M., with Pastor Harold Cooper officiating.

Donations in memory of Bill Pelham may be made to a charity of their choice.


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One Condolence for “PELHAM, William “Bill””

  1. Merlye Selk says:

    I was saddened to read Bill’s obituary but it brought back wonderful memories of Wrentham life. Bill was one of Roy’s best friends growing up and later he and I enjoyed many good times with both Bill and Priscilla for many years. Bill led a good life of service and kindness. With sympathy to Bill’s family from an old friend at this sad time.

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