William ThomaS Lanyon

Began as a Radio Operator (RO) in 1938

Worked as a Federal Ships Radio Inspector during World War II

Worked in the Arctic after the war and then moved to Radio Regs in Ottawa

Went back to sea as a Radio Operator after retirement



Passed Away in 2014 - Scroll Down for Obituary  

Décès en 2014 - Avis de décès au bas de la page  


Obituary  -  Avis de décès

William ThomaS Lanyon

1920 - 2014


William Thomas Lanyon passed away peacefully at The Berkeley, Green Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on February 11, 2014, at the age of 93.

Youngest child of the late William Thomas and Mary (nee Price) Lanyon, of Saint John, New Brunswick, and brother to George, Harry, Marion, Willa, Mary and Francis LANYON, William Thomas Lanyon was born on June 3, 1920 in Saint John, NB. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.

William was deeply devoted to his wife of over sixty years, the late Marguerite Hibbitts of Halifax, NS, whom he married in 1948, and together they were loving parents to three children, Peter Lanyon of Ladysmith, BC, John Lanyon of Markham, ON and Victoria Lanyon Harwood of Halifax, NS, and kind and caring grandparents to Gillian and Hilary Lanyon of Toronto, ON, Nicholas Lanyon of Vancouver, BC, Adam Lanyon of Toronto, ON, and Amanda, Lauren, Alexandra and Vienna Harwood of Halifax, NS. Over the years, William developed a deep connection with his son-in-law, Lee Harwood of Halifax, whom he considered a son.

A modest, quiet and unconventional man, with an unexpected sense of humour and a rich interior life, William was born an adventurous romantic.

As a boy growing up in the port of Saint John, NB, he played on the ice flows in the harbour and dreamed of going to sea. Though afflicted by polio at an early age, he was uncomplaining and undauntedly pursued his dream by becoming a ship's radio operator, after graduating from Saint John High School in 1938 and Saint John Radio School in electronics in 1939. One of the ships he served on as a young man and which mapped the ocean floor off Newfoundland and the Northumberland Strait, is now a floating Federal museum in Halifax harbour--The Acadia. You can still see the small room where he worked and slept while at sea for weeks at a time.

In World War Two, William served as a Federal Ship's Radio inspector. Never indulging any handicap, he scaled the rope ladders of the hundreds of Allied convoy ships that assembled in Bedford Basin, to seal their radios from enemy monitoring while in port.

After the War, he struck out for remote Resolution Island, just South of the Arctic Circle, to provide direction finding for Arctic shipping over 16 months, as Station Officer and Radio Operator for the Federal Department of Transport. He spoke fondly of the silence of the North and kayaking and hunting with the Inuit.

In 1955, putting the interests of his young family first, William returned from the North and transferred to Ottawa, where he worked as Technical Officer for Communications Licensing Policy, and later, gave many years' service as an Administrative Officer with the Federal Department of Communications.

Upon retirement, he resided with his wife Marguerite in Oakville, Ontario and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was not long before he once again heard the siren call of the sea and took postings as a Radio Operator aboard both the SS. Soodoc and SS Prindoc of Patterson Steamships Line, and sailed the coast of the Eastern Seaboard.

Wherever he went, William took his imagination. Born of a musical family - his father was a talented singer, multi-instrumentalist and conductor of the Saint John City Band - William was deeply sensitive to music and the arts. And he housed it in a strong constitution. He was a lifelong believer in the virtues of physical fitness, disciplined eating, and holistic health. This he came by honestly. He was a grandchild of George Price, of the celebrated 'The Paris Crew', who won for Canada her first ever world sporting championship at the International Exhibition in Paris, in the year of the country's birth, 1867. Typical of his wry understatement, he released this family fact only in his late seventies.

Even after his sailing days were done, the urge for adventure and travel never left him. With his wife Marguerite, he saw virtually all of the continents of the globe and was one of the first Canadians to travel to Eastern Europe and Russia immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall and to take advantage of US-China Detente and visit the Great Wall of China. Only the Galapagos eluded him.

In his 90's William enjoyed road trips to the Harwood family cottage in Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia and to many horse shows to see Alexandra's horses, Robin, Rojo and Bella. On Christmas Day 2012, he swam in the ocean in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida with his family, exhibiting his youthfulness and zest for life!

In his last years, he enjoyed the company of his 'lovely ladies', Jaclyn, Brittany, Michelle and Alanna, who chauffeured him to appointments, to lunches at The Athens and The Evangeline Inn in Grand Pre and other locales and who helped to maintain his independence in his 'bachelor pad'. As they have said, Bill taught them so much about life in such a short period of time. Everyone seemed to love him--from the lady at the grocery store, to the maintenance man fixing his apartment, to the waiters and waitresses in the restaurants he frequented. To them William always said, no matter what, 'I'm great'. He never complained, even when it would have benefited him.

Quick with an irreverent remark, he once advised: 'You can't run away from your problems. But you can put a lot of distance between you and them.'

We will remember that and we will remember you with love and thanks for your wonderful life, William.

The family would like to express truly heartfelt thanks to Dr. Howard Conter, Dr. Derek Wilke, Dr. Michael Eddy and the staff of The Berkeley--particularly Lee Gray-- and sincere gratitude to Tina, Jaclyn, Brittany, Michelle and Alanna for their care and compassion.

A memorial bench to commemorate William has been erected at Sir Sandford Fleming Park in Halifax. A celebration of William Thomas Lanyon's life will be held in the spring.


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