In the wee morning hours of Nov. 4, 1926, two young girls, Virgina and Margie, awakened to the sound of a baby crying. They were puzzled, wondering what a baby might be doing in their south Castor farm home this early in the morning.
When Margie heard her dad come in from doing the morning chores, she ventured down to the kitchen to find out if it was indeed possible that there was a baby in the house. Her dad confirmed their suspicion.
This wasn’t enough information for her, so she asked how there could be a baby, since she knew a big stork could not have fit through the window in her parents’ bedroom.
This baby was their new brother, William Paul.
William was lovingly welcomed by his parents, Maria (Treidt) and George Ries and older siblings, Alfred, Virginia, Marguerite, Harold and George. Three years later a younger sister, Rita completed the family.
William enjoyed the farm and soon realized this would be his life’s work. He attended Willow Prairie, Williston and Theresetta Schools. He studied Mechanics at SAIT in Calgary for one school year, the only time he left south Castor.
On April 13, 1953 he married Shirley Knowles. Together they raised eight children.
Willie was active in the South Castor 4-H Beef Club and the Castor Elks. He also curled and volunteered at the Castor Museum. He was an excellent singer and a gifted musician, able to play the guitar, piano and accordion by ear. Country western music was his favourite and he enjoyed teaching his young daughters to dance in the living room.
Extended family was important to him, and he always kept in touch with his children and grandchildren, who have spread out around the world. He liked nothing better than a visit with family and friends.
He had a hearty laugh and a keen sense of humour that often had everyone in tears.
Willie is survived by his wife Shirley, his children: Gordon, Marilyn (Dennis Weber), Barbara (Brent Lyons), Howard, Carol, Michael, Richard (Glenda) and Nola.
His grandchildren are Bill (Cindy), Alexandra, Stuart (Deanna), Catherine (Zach) , Patricia, Lyle (Elizabeth), Tirzah, Hilary, Haley, Liam, Ambrosia, Rhiannon and Damon.
His great grandchildren are Brooke, Raelynn, Seandra, Charlotte, Heidi, Vance, Ivan, Corinne and Orion.
He is also survived by his sisters Marge and Rita and his brother, Alfred (who passed away the day after Willie), his brothers-in-law: George and Herbert Knowles, Mike Johnson and sisters-in-law: Wilma Zurfluh, Nora Spencer, Karen (Joe) Hogg and Sandra Smyth; as well as many nieces, nephews, friends and his cat Pearl.
On Sun. Oct. 16, 2016 at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, Mass was dedicated to William and Alfred Ries.
A gathering of remembrance with friends and family was held at Castor Community Hall following the Mass. Memorial donations may be made to Theresetta Education Foundation or to Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital Foundation.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.parkviewfuneralchapels.com
Parkview Funeral Chapels & Crematorium entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements. 403-882-3141