Magnificent Sea Creatures of the Pacific Northwest
Call Bilz: 250-285-3468

The Keller family

Dear Van Orden family,

Memories of William come swirling forth at moments we least expect them, thoughts that are frequent and indelible. We’re in awe of William’s gifts, and how many lives he touched with his love and compassion, his quirky humour, and intelligent curiosity. We’ll miss our meetings, the wide-ranging conversations, his incredible store of knowledge, his passion and meticulous science – so beautifully shared in his art. William lived his core values and his being here made the world a better place.

Our connection goes way back to 1973, a Cape Scott adventure, and one weekend that changed our trajectory: it was when Ralph and Lannie first met, and also when we met Maynard and Hilda – a bit of luck that later brought us to Quadra, and then to Read Island, our home for 42 years now.

How much we loved (and still miss) those elders – your parents and grandparents – for their kindness and wisdom, and because they were admirable community-minded people… with offspring who continue their legacy, and make our happy connection an especially enduring friendship.

Thanks to all of you for being who you are, for your uniquely genuine and awesome Van Orden spirit! A small handmade sign on Maynard’s workshop read “Islanders Motto: Don’t buy it if you can make it. Don’t make it if you can find it!” To which we all added, “Don’t want it if you don’t need it” and William lived that one (notwithstanding his “collections.” :) There was another little framed poem about Good Hugs that ended with sage advice, “Never hug tomorrow someone you could hug today!” We could have done that better because in recent years we haven’t see William very often, although all of our meetings are memorable in some good way. But we will miss the possibility of crossing paths, and it’s an emptiness knowing he isn’t there for another chat, another hug.

William’s keen interest produced a remarkable legacy of information about amazing and unstudied creatures of the deep ocean. He also made Quadra Island’s most wonderful souvenirs. We will always treasure our collection of lifelike plaster sea creatures, but we will more surely miss the fun of William unveiling his latest discovery and his animated tours through the workshop. We consider ourselves fortunate for having known William. And for a connection to all the extended Van Orden families.

Each of us will miss William in different ways, and at different moments. The recollections will be sweet and happy and sad and lasting. May we all cherish those memories and try to live the lessons he shared.

With our love, Lannie and Ralph (and Emily and Albert) Keller

Contact Bilz

Email: bilzrockfish[at]gicable[dot]com
Phone: (250) 285-3468
Box 245, Heriot Bay, BC , V0P 1H0