Harkness, William John Dennis

Harkness, William John Dennis

January 24th, 2013

In his 67th year, Bill passed away suddenly on January 24th, 2013 at Victoria Hospital, London. He is missed greatly by his wife of 42 years, June (née Bedford), daughter Jennifer (Dan) Robertson and their children Emily and Ashley of Shelburne, son Jordan (Feng) Harkness of Etobicoke and son Jonathan (Vanessa) Harkness of Seattle. Bill is survived by his sisters Bettie (Dave) Mackenzie and Patricia (Guy) Macher, and many cherished cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. Dearly loved by mother-in-law Reta Bedford of Durham. Bill is predeceased by parents William and Marjorie Harkness, and sister Marleen and her husband Blaine Wall. Bill's teaching career was spent at Delaware Central School where “Sir” felt part of the community. He joined Ashlar Lodge 610 in the footsteps of his father, becoming Master in 1988, and most recently serving as District Chaplain. Bill loved working with Scouts Canada, as a leader and workshop presenter. After his retirement, while living in Trinidad, he established their first Trini-Canadian Cub Pack.  In St. Lucia, as an active Rotarian, he worked to better the lives of others and received a Paul Harris award from the Rotary Club of London West. Bill encouraged family and friends to share their musical talents, eagerly looking forward to his annual summer backyard Ceilidh. He valued and fostered lifelong friendships and his family appreciates the support and comfort shown by so many. Friends and family will be welcomed at WESTVIEW FUNERAL CHAPEL, 709 Wonderland Road North, London,  on Monday, January 28th, 2013 from 2:00 – 4:00 and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., with a Masonic service at 6:45 p.m.  The funeral service will be conducted at Westview on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 at 3:00 p.m., with reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Scouts Canada, 531 Windermere Rd., London, ON.  N5X 2T1.

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Book of Condolences

Karel and George BarnettWe would like to extend our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to June, Jen, Jordan, Jon and the rest of the family. We can't begin to tell you how much Bill meant to us. Rest Peacefully, Our Friend. Karel and George
Michelle Martin (Jambor)He taught me so much about things beyond the classroom. Quite an amazing man and educator. I think of him often.
Robert and Erika wilsonSending our Condolences to you. Bill was a well respected Teacher at Delaware Central Public School. We were proud to have our son in you class.
Heather and Jayme CousinsBill will be sorely missed. He seemed ageless and enjoyed the company of those younger than himself. Quick with a pun (usually a bad one) and a heartfelt wish for friendship and peace, Bill set a standard for friendship and co-operation which we should all aspire to. His brethren in Masonry, and Ashlar Lodge in particular, will cherish his memory.
Jessica WalkerThis is incredibly sad news and I extend my heart felt condolenses to his family and loved ones. While I never had the pleasure of being in his class room, Sir left an impression that has stayed with me many years. I lost my mother while I attended Delaware Central and he was hugely supportive and took time to share his kind words, which I still remember. He had a sense of humor like no other and will be truly missed by many.
Lindsay JonesSir taught both of my parents, many of my aunts and uncles, and then carried on to teach my sister and I while at D.C.S. He always had a different perspective on the matters he taught in the classroom and was often able to catch the focus of even the most difficult of students. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go on to the Harkness family.
Devan LayeMy heart goes out to the family. I consider Sir one of my most beloved teachers. He was truly an amazing man, friend and educator. He will be greatly missed.
Joy PryceMy family's deepest condolences go out to Bill's family. I went all through Ealing School with Bill...and just chatted with him at Grace United Church's 90th Anniversary in November 2012. God Bless! Joy Pryce
Alistair McGheeMy sincerest sympathy to June and her family. Bill taught all three of my children and I new him as a colleague. He had a tremendous influence on all his students as well as the community. He will be sorely missed. Gone too soon. Memories live on. Alistair McGhee, Brydon, Laurie and Rob
Terry-Anne Kimmerly (nee: McPhee)I was so sorry to hear the news of Mr. Harkness' death. He was my teacher many years ago (1972 I think) at Delaware Central in grade 6 or 7. I had such a crush on him that one day, I stole a bottle of beer from my Dad. I wrapped it up and gave it to Mr. Harkness as a gift. I remember that he covered it back up quickly and said something about it not being appropriate, but he never told my parents, for that I was grateful) I'll bet he had plenty of laughs with his family and friends about that one. Anyways, he was a great teacher and I have never forgotten the impact he made on my life. Thank you, Mr. Harkness and rest in peace. Terry Kimmerly (nee: Terry-Anne McPhee).
David DykemanDear June and family, I am so sorry to hear of Bill's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Mary KannakkoMy condolescences to June, Jennifer, Jordan and Jonathan and their families. Bill was a very vibrant person who made everyone smile with his jokes and puns. He loved working with young people and encouraging them to be the best that they could be. He was a well loved Beaver and Cub leader besides all of his other roles in life. He will be missed.
Dan & Pat LaveryDear June and family, As long-time friends and colleagues, we were/are shocked and saddened at Bill's death, to say the least. We counted him as a valued friend, who could always bring a smile to everyone's face, either through his jokes or his stories. At this sorrowful time, please accept our condolences, even from far away! Love, Pat and Dan
Andrew & Kristin StansellOur thoughts and prayers go out to the family. Bill has touched many lives and will be sadly missed.
Sally & RichardOur deepest sympathy to June, Jordan, Jennifer and Jonathan and their families. We were shocked to say the least when we learned of Bill's passing. Bill will be greatly missed....his persuasion techniques fondly remembered as he strove to get you to do something you were not always keen to do....that quivering lip and doleful eyes did it every time...well most of the time. His stories were always intriguing and he caught me every time and then I came to realize he was "pulling my leg!" Bill, you were an amazing tour guide when we visited in St Lucia...and we are so glad we had that time with you and June. You are missed fondly from Hope Bay, here on the Bruce Peninsula.
Murray ArmstrongSincere condolences for your loss. Bill was a great Mason, and touched the lives of many with his teachings, his contributions of time and expertise, his wit and humour. I will miss our little chats and comparisons about time spent on the Bruce Peninsula.
Elva TildenJune and family I was saddened to read of Bill's passing. I know the happy memories and the pleasant thoughts help. Time has also helped me. With deepest sympathy Elva Tilden
Kerri(nee Smith) and Shawn McCurdyOur deepest sympathy to June, Jordan, Jennifer and Jonathan and their families. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
Chris and Laura Ludgate June and family, we are so shocked and sorry to have heard the new. Bills kind nature and great sense of humor will be greatly missed by us all but will live on in the fond memories of all who got to know him. All our thoughts and prayers Chris, Laura and family.
David GeeneMr. H was my teacher at Delaware Central ... I can picture him in my classroom like it was yesterday. I am now a school principal and I would say that Bill was one of those very important people who set me on that path. I speak of him regularly ... his allowing me to illustrate my history notes, long discussions that seemed to have nothing to do with what we were supposed to learn, but were far more interesting, playing around with the last name of my brothers and I ... oxy-geene, hydro-geene, blue-geene, hy-geene ... humour and understanding, thinking outside the box ... all vivid parts of my memory of school and Mr. Harkness and what I do every day. My condolences to your family. Please know that he will live on in the stories and careers of the many students he had at DCS.
Lisa SnowI was so saddened to hear of Bill's sudden death. He was unique.
tom telferJune, please accept my sincere condolences. Bill always had a smile and was so helpful to many. I will never forget staying with you in St.Lucia.
Roland and Marifel MichelWe are both saddened by the news. Please accept our deepest condolences.
Andrea KirkhamJune, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I remember you and Bill being really kind and supportive the year I spent in Trinidad. Please accept my condolences.
Trevor & Sheila SmithWe are very sorry to hear about Bill, our prayers are with you and your family.
Dave & Sarah GillinghamI was deeply saddened to hear of Bill's passing. My most sincere condolences to the family.
Ron and Dorothy McCradyOur sincere sympathy goes out to you June, Jordan, Jennifer and Jonathan. Even though we are away and not able to be there, our thoughts are with you. Knowing Bill and his stories brought light and laughter to our times in Trinidad and St. Lucia, and at home. Bill's dedication to Scouting will always be an inspiration and remembered by all. Sincerely, Ron and Dorothy
Miriam (Field) DavidsonMy condolences to the family. One of the best memories of my years at Delaware Central is of Sir coaching the girls floor hockey team. It was memorable. He had so much energy and enthusiasm for his pupils. He will be missed.
Shirley McCreery and sons James and GreigSincere condolences to Mr. Harkness' family. James and Greig were involved with scouting from beavers to scouts and were friends of Jordan - so of course everyone knew Mr. Harkness!! I remember him as an energetic guy who put hours into activities for the benefit of others. I also remember him persuading me to be "camp nurse" only to find when I arrived at camp that I was also "assistant cook" and as such up at 4 a.m. each morning to prepare breakfast! Bill was such a fine man and will be very much missed by a great number of people.
Albert TatemMy sincere condolences to you June, and the rest of the family. Like you he was a great contributor to the MLIS family. Al
The Nall Family Our condolences to June, Jordan, Jennifer and Jonathan and their families. Bill was truly a great cousin and friend. We will miss him dearly.
Justin WallBill, you are the first uncle that I ever knew, as I am your first Nephew. I miss you so much already. I regret not seeing you on our terms and not anyone else's. I am sorry that family got in the way. Your spirit has always been lively and magical. Please use that spirit and magic to visit and tell me that everything is ok. I have missed you for years. I miss you even more now. I love you Bill. Bill, I love you and miss you already. How will I ever explain you to my kids....besides the bike....and the happy face balls. Justin.
Nancy AbsolonTo the Harkness Family, Mr. Harkness was a great teacher. He was my grade 8 teacher and always showed compassion to everyone without exception. He added great value to my life. He always made class fun! I feel fortunate that he was my teacher.
Steve WiseDear June: I am so saddened to hear of your loss. I can really not imagine what that must be like after walking with another for 42 years. God bless and comfort you in this time of grief. May the Lord of all consolation cause you to remember all the good and joyous moments the two of you shared in a life of service to others. I will be thinking of you and praying for comfort in your sorrow
The Lyon, Hughes, Cose and Lizotte Families To the Harkness Family: We were very saddened to read of Bill's passing. God Bless You and hold you in the palm of His hand in this time of your sorrow.
Patricia HortonMy sincere condolences are sent to June, Jonathan, and family. I remember Bill fondly from our time in Trinidad. He was always so thoughtful and quick with a joke when we needed a laugh.
Gary, Ina, Kristen & Jason McLeodVery sorry to hear about your sudden loss. Our thoughts are with you during this sad and difficult time. We have made a donation to Scouts Canada in memory of Bill.
Sandy WagterDear June, So sorry to hear about Bill's sudden passing. We would always think of Bill when we passed your cottage on our way to Cameron Lake. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Karen ClappertonJennifer, Dan, and family, My heart broke for you when I heard the news. I can tell from the obituaries that the memories are plentiful and wonderful. You should share them whenever you can right now. Don't be afraid to smile and laugh when you do. It might give you moments of relief at this most painful time. I know it did for me. Take care of you, and I will see you when you return. Karen
Jan PomeroyMy sympathy and love go out to you, June. You and Bill made a great couple, complementing each other in so many ways. I will always remember the warm welcome that the two of you extended to me upon my arrival in Trinidad and when I visited you both in St Lucia. Every time I think of Bill I smile .... his practical jokes, puns, quirky stories and crafts, magic tricks, and he gave the best hugs. He was a wonderful Scout Leader, teacher and friend. You and your children were so fortunate to have had his love. I am thinking about all of you and know that you will be able to reach through your sadness to appreciatate the richness of your lives with Bill. Jonathan, Jordan and Jennifer, you have been blessed by having such a wonderful and loving Dad.
Kim HodginsAmanda, Aaron and I (Kim Hodgins-Babin) are sorry for your loss. Bill was full of energy, charisma and I am grateful that family meant the world to him(and June) because he selfishly made the effort to reconnect with me. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to know Bill. I am appreciative for the wonderful visit that Bill and June provided to me when I visited one of the most gorgeous islands. In St. Lucia, Bill and June opened their home and hearts to me (and so many countless others. ) I will never forget their generosity. Bill took delight in touring me around the island and he was a great island host. Wishing the family peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
Diann and Mike, Ian, Lacey. Vicki GoughWe remember the excellent teacher he was for our children and Mike has vey fond memories of all the Scouting experiences they shared. The decorated hiking staff Bill made for Mike is a cherished possession. We will truly miss Bill.
Rod KeithI am greatly saddened to learn that Mr. Harkness has passed. "Sir" was my first teacher at Delaware Central when I moved there just before Grade 6 in 1979. Being a shy, smaller lad who was also a year younger than my new classmates, he helped me fit in and strongly encouraged me, both academically and personally. He was very supportive of my young artistic abilities, to the point that even when I drew somewhat-disrespectful comic strips about our class (with him as the villain!) he always seemed quite amused and appreciative. Looking back, without that acceptance and push I might not have developed the confidence to go on to a career in the arts. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. I hope they can take some small comfort that, over thirty years later, I can still see that Mr. Harkness left a lasting impression and positive contribution to this student's life. I wish I could let him know that now.
Jo-Anne PettitJune ,please accept my sympathy in the loss of your dear Bill.Will pray for your comfort and peace at this sad time.Thinking of you and your family.
Karl LoebMy sincere sympathy to the family. "Sir" was an incredible man and a wonderful teacher. I have never forgotten his words of encouragement on my last day at Delaware Central. He said to me that, I could do anything I wanted to do with my life as long as I worked for what I wanted. Those words have always stuck with me and I thank him for that.
MelinaJune, please accept my sympathy in the loss of Bill, (I understand your loss). I do have fond memories of Bill while in Trinidad. Stay strong. Melina (Trinidad)
Christine RutledgeMy sincere sympathy to your family. Bill was a wonderful person, always bringing a smile to everyone. His contributions to Scouts Canada were great and valued by many, as well as his teaching at Delaware Central. He will be missed by many. May your fondest memories of Bill help to brighten your day and bring a smile.
June Matthews-LewisJune, my heart is so full of sadness at the passing of such a wonderful person in our Bill. I remember with smiles all the corny jokes, funny because they were so corny; those amazing bear hugs and my monkey's fist key chain which I still have and which I will treasure even more now. The time you both spent in Trinidad was just so much fun in and out of Maple Leaf. Be strong my friend and cherish all those wonderful memories. My sympathies to Jennifer, Jordan, Jonathan and their families. My prayers are with you all at this sad time. Sam and I extend our deepest condolences to you and the family.
Fran WrenDear June and Family Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of Bill.He was a wonderful father,husband,educator, friend and humanitarian.I was hoping to be able to see you today but the weather caused a change in my plans.Bill has left his footsteps on the hearts of many throughout the world...not many of us can say this. May the beautiful memories of Bill become keepsakes of the hearts of all your family. Hugs for now...Fran
Dave and Kathie McNamara and familyWe all have many wonderful memories of Bill and our thoughts and prayers are with your whole family. He was a wonderful colleague and mentor for Kathie, friend in scouting as well as a patient and humourous teacher for all our children. He was a bright light at our retired-teacher luncheons when in Ontario. Our whole family still refers to puns as "Sir" jokes and we think of him with warmth.
Sharnna and FamilyBill, The Magician, The Solution Master,Smile Giver, The Good Samaritan, The Professional Bar Man, a man of all trade. We have known Bill from 2006, he brought a smile in the hearts of many Saint Lucians, staff and students of The International School Saint Lucia (ISSL). He was a dare friend to us all, loving,caring, giving, supportive, encouraging and made time for others. He played a huge part in Saint Lucia Rotary Club and have helped so many in saint Lucia. Bill has touched the lives of many in a number of countless ways. I know that words will not fill the void, but I hope that the memories of joy, laughter, love and time spent will bring some solace to everyone (June Harkness and family)in this difficult time. The Memory of Bill will stay in the hearts of us all. A great Individual who will never be forgotten. Love Always!
Sharnna and FamilyBill, The Magician, The Solution Master,Smile Giver, The Good Samaritan, The Professional Bar Man, a man of all trade. We have known Bill from 2006, he brought a smile in the hearts of many Saint Lucians, staff and students of The International School Saint Lucia International School Saint Lucia (ISSL). He was a dare friend to us all, loving,caring, giving, supportive, encouraging and made time for others. He played a huge part in Saint Lucia Rotary Club and have helped so many in saint Lucia (Not forgetting during Hurricane Thomas) . Bill has touched the lives of many in a number of countless ways. I know that words will not fill the void, but I hope that the memories of joy, laughter, love and time spent will bring some solace to everyone (June Harkness and family)in this difficult time. The Memory of Bill will stay in the hearts of us all. A great Individual who will never be forgotten. Love Always!
Connie DeMayDear June,Jennifer,Jordan,Jonathan & families, There are no words to express how much our hearts ache for you. Please feel the warmth, the strength and the love of the many who are reaching out to you, and find comfort in knowing that we care deeply. With our love and sincere sympathy, Larry and Connie
Bruce DowDear June & family; I was shocked and saddened with Bill's sudden passing. I considered him a good Masonic friend and very much enjoyed being in his presence at the many Lodge meetings and functions we attended together over the years. Among his many qualities, I will greatly miss his cheerful presence, his caring nature and especially his "quirky" sense of humour that made him such a unique and terrific guy. Judith & I extend our heartfelt sympathy to you during this most difficult time.
Wade and Marie SteersDear June and family, Our love and sympathy are with you at this time of Bill's sudden death. May you take comfort as you realize so many have been touched by his life. Also, we pray the Lord will be very near and comfort your hearts. Warmly, Wade and Marie Steers
Mike and Wendie FitzpatrickDear June, Jennifer, Jordan and Jon, Bill was one of those people who always had a twinkle in his eye, either because he was telling an interesting tale, or had something up his sleeve. Every time we visited, he played a different trick on me. My favourite was the time I put my shoes on to leave, and one shoe felt very strange. Then I realized it felt very cold. Bill had put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then as we were getting ready to go, he slipped it back beside the other shoe. That was Bill. Full of mischief. He will be missed by so many who appreciated his wonderful sense of humour and his caring ways. He was truly one-of-a-kind and we will never forget him. Our thoughts and love are with you and your families, Love, Wendie and Mike
Susan WhitneyI was very saddened to hear of Mr. Harkness' passing. He was one of those rare individuals that you never forget as a teacher and as a person. He made history lessons come alive and a variety of cameras were always close at hand as he snapped away at us in class and outside at recess. I will never forget our photography elective when he taught us how to develop film in the makeshift darkroom at school. I often refer to these memorable moments in my own teaching. My deepest condolences to his family.
Heather & Hugh JonesHugh and I are very sorry for your loss. Bill was a great man and always brought a smile to those around him. I don't think Bill ever meet a stranger, he always had a smile on his face and something to show you. I know he made a difference to all those who had the honor to cross paths with him. Now, he is watching over us all and sending us laughter and smiles from heaven. I hope that with time, the pain of loosing Bill will pass and you can find comfort and laughter in the memories he left us all. Please find peace in knowing that we all are praying for you and that you find comfort in our prayers.
Mike Steele & familyJune & family, Our most sincere condolences. I feel privileged to have sat in Lodge with Bill and to have been the target of his regular, friendly barbs. I will treasure my memories of Bill along with the Monkey Ball he gave me. He was the personification of a mason - always willing to help out, encourage others and promote our ideals. The funeral today was a wonderful tribute to a great friend. Know that you will be in our prayers as you mourn this tragic loss. Sincerely, Mike, Tracy, Ryan & Matthew
Naomi (Field) PyeI am sorry for your loss, June. Mr. Harkness was my teacher in 7th grade.
Richard and Ashley SmithWe are deeply saddened by your loss. Bill was wonderful to us in Saint Lucia. We enjoyed our Friday night get-togethers and the tours of the various parts of the island. We will always be reminded of his great sense of humour and craftsmanship when we see the monkey balls he made for us. He will be greatly missed.
DianBill was such a joy, always willing to help, he will be missed . My thoughts and prayers goes out to June and family. Keep his memories alive.
Lornabill could never be forgotten here in st Lucia at the school.I will miss his magic tricks and all the other fun stuff he used to filled up the school with. I'll miss the laughs we had but I'll cherish those moments as well. June and family you are in my prayers.
Lindsay and PatrickWe were very saddened to hear the news. Being treasured friends of our family, we were very honoured that Bill and June were able to attend our wedding this past September. It was wonderful to have them there and Bill's fun and lively personality contributed to the joy of the day. We send heartfelt condolences to June and the rest of the family during this difficult time.
Declan DunneSome may leave money from a lifetime of savings Some just their name on a marble stone It's not what you leave, It's the joy of remembering All you ever asked from me was, a hand full of songs.
Sherry Van Dolder (Humphries)My Sincere condolences to June Harkness and family. I was remembering favourite and "most influential" people in my life, and decided to look up June Harness, because June, as my school teacher when she was still June Bedford was very special. I was so sad to see this news here. Although I did not meet William, the heartfelt messages here make it clear he was an amazing man who touched many lives. June Harkness, I would like you to know that you are one of the most influential people in my life, and I thank God for you and for all that you have done for me as a young girl. As a teacher, and friend, you encouraged my talents, my character, moral judgements, and taught me that there is merit and value in striving to succeed, and be the best that you can be. I can't thank you enough. May God comfort you, encourage you, and be your strength in the coming years. May you prosper and be in good health. Much love, Sherry xo
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