William Joseph “Bill” Hireen Wiki, William Joseph “Bill” Hireen Biography
William Joseph “Bill” Hireen was born in Vancouver on March 23, 1927. He grew up in Vancouver before joining the Navy in the early 1940s. He served overseas during World War II, stationed in the United Kingdom.
William Joseph “Bill” Hireen was always easy to spot if you lived in Abbotsford, B.C. His unmistakable ’91 Cavalier was covered in decals, from the truck drivers’ union to Canadian veterans, each representing a proud chapter in his life.
He never missed a Remembrance Day ceremony. If the city council was in session, he had better believe that he was sitting four rows from the front in the left aisle in his usual seat. He even had his name.
“From the city councilors to the homeless, he could talk to all of them,” said his daughter, Valerie Noble.
William Joseph “Bill” Hireen Age
Hireen was 93 years old.
Hireen leaves behind three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-granddaughters.
William Joseph “Bill” Hireen Proud of his service
Hireen was born in Vancouver on March 23, 1927. He grew up in the city, before joining the Navy in the early 1940s. He served overseas during World War II, stationed in the United Kingdom.
“I was one of the lucky ones,” he once wrote in a letter after a local newspaper published a photo of him mourning while attending a Remembrance Day ceremony.
“My thoughts go back to the 1940s and the thousands who wore the same uniform as me and who would never return,” he wrote.
After being discharged from the Navy, Hireen started a family in Vancouver. His eldest daughter, Valerie Noble, was born in 1953.
Noble said her father was a devout Catholic and a great public speaker, he was never afraid to speak in front of the congregation.
Noble’s fond memories of her father include ice skating, camping adventures, and a trip to Disney Land, and she also recalled his father’s love of driving and cars. He worked as a truck driver.
“He was very proud of all his cars, everything from his Volkswagen Volkswagen to his ’67 Chevelle. With each car, he gave his own touches,” he said.
At 55, he was diagnosed with a spinal cord disease that paralyzed him from the waist down. Determined to stay behind the wheel, he installed manual controls on his Cavalier so that he could keep driving, which he did until 2018.
“He was very independent,” Noble said, adding that he had registered him for handyDART, paratransit service in B.C. “But he never used it once.”
Hireen life in Abbotsford
Hireen spent the last three decades of his life in Abbotsford, where he became one of the best known members of the community.
He wouldn’t miss the Remembrance Day ceremonies, and he could always be seen at the school board, the police board, and traffic meetings.
When it came to city council, his attendance record would give any elected official a run for his money.
“I’ve been a city councilman for five terms, and for as long as I can remember, Bill was a fixture in our chambers,” said Councilman Dave Loewen.
Plaque part of Hireen’s legacy
In 1999, while walking into the council chambers on crutches, he was greeted by the mayor and the council. They unveiled a plaque on his usual chair.
“This seat is reserved for William J ‘Bill’ Hireen during council meetings,” he said.
“We had always looked at Bill’s chair, and if he wasn’t there, someone would be asking for Bill,” Loewen said. “He was someone who encouraged us, without words, that we were doing well … he affirmed us.”
Loewen says there are no plans to remove the plaque. It is part of Hireen’s legacy which includes war medals, more than 200 blood donations, the respect of his companions and the love of his family.
Cause of Death
Hireen, a Navy veteran, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in December. His battle lasted two weeks until his death on New Year’s Eve.
He is one of at least 11 people who have died after an outbreak at Menno Home, a nursing home in Abbotsford. More than 70 people have been infected.