Wally was born in Vancouver on February 27th, 1936. The city was experiencing an unprecedented snow and ice storm - roads were impassible - and a trip to the hospital impossible. Dr. Walter Baird braved the steep streets on foot. Agnes and Frank were so grateful - they named their beautiful baby boy Walter. Wally grew up in Point Grey in a happy home with his parents, two older brothers, Alan and Dick, and his loyal British Bulldog, Rex. He attended Queen Elizabeth Elementary School and Lord Byng High School, graduating in 1954. There, he was not only the Lord Byng School President but also a star athlete, excelling in football, rugby, and track.
He graduated from UBC in 1959 with a degree in Commerce and Forestry and began his career with Cooper Widman Forest Products. It was at an interview for this position, he met 17-year-old Sharon Martin. Five years later, she would become his cherished wife, best friend, and soulmate for 58 years. After working for Cooper Widman in New York and Chicago, Wally opened a branch office in Saint Paul, Minnesota. There, he and Sharon bought their first home, and their first child, Elizabeth was born. In 1967 they returned to Vancouver and built their dream home on Madrona Crescent in West Vancouver. It served as a very loving and happy home for their children, Elizabeth, Adrienne and Graham.
The family enjoyed many years of wonderful holidays together - California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Europe with skiing adventures in Manning Park, Big White, Silver Star, Mt. Washington and Whistler. Wally and Sharon loved to hike and enjoyed many memorable trips to Scotland, Italy, and Spain. Wally had a very successful career in the lumber industry where he was universally known as a hard working, honest person with incredible integrity.
A true Renaissance man, Wally was as comfortable arranging wedding flowers as he was discussing books and politics, building a cedar and glass greenhouse or a beautiful playhouse for his granddaughter, Bella. No task was too big or small. He was a gracious host who loved cooking, sharing a glass of wine or a meal with family, friends, and neighbours in the beautiful garden he had created. Wally and Sharon’s home was always warm and welcoming, and they hosted countless events, parties, and celebrations.
Wally was a true gentleman who always believed the glass was half full. Upbeat and with a true zest for life, he was non-judgemental and saw only the good in others. He was a prince of a man. His smile and the twinkle in his eyes were a joy to witness - his curiosity for life was infectious. Wally will also be remembered for his intelligence and his great sense of humour. Wally was the best husband, father, and grandfather. His love for his family is providing support and helping us to move forward. He had so much to teach us about loving life and each other. Wally will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and neighbours.
He will be lovingly remembered forever by Sharon. His children, Elizabeth (husband Tom), Adrienne (husband Ari) and Graham are ever grateful for his compassion, thoughtfulness, love and support. His grandchildren, Bella, Reid and Adrian Devereaux, and Griffin and Grady Pierce know they were deeply loved and appreciated for who they are. He will also be lovingly remembered by sisters and brothers-in-law Marlene and Bud Stewart, Lee and Miles Hollingbury, and his many nieces and nephews.
Wally left us on October 9th, He was at peace surrounded by his loving family. His loss will be reverberating with us for a long time, and we are so grateful for his wonderful life and the time we had with him. The family wishes to express their deep gratitude for the kind and compassionate care Wally received from the amazing staff at the North Shore Hospice. They are truly angels. Any donations made to the Hospice in Wally’s memory would be appreciated.
A Celebration of Wally’s life will occur on Saturday, November 26th from 2:00-4:00 pm at the Eagle Harbour Yacht Club, 5750 Eagle Harbour Road, West Vancouver.