William Gordon Saville was born, the youngest of 11, in Mendham, England on August 27, 1923. He died in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on March 3, 2012 after a short illness. He came to Canada with his parents at the age of one year and settled at Hardisty, Alberta. He attended various schools in and around Hardisty until the threshing run kept him out too late to start Grade 11.
One of his first jobs was as a fence rider for the Wainwright Buffalo Park. He broke his first saddle horse for $2 when he was 12. He rode his first bronc on a 10 cent bet when he was 14. He rode saddle bronc, bareback and steers at rodeos in Alberta and Saskatchewan throughout the 40’s. He bought his first sewing machine at this time and made his own chaps. He was Member #17 of the Cowboy Protective Association.
He married Ann Caton in 1950 and they started ranching in the Ravenscrag District. They ranched until 1986 when they sold the ranch to their son David. Bill continued to work on the ranch long after it was sold. Ann and Bill moved to Eastend in 1999. Bill always made and repaired his tack and harness. After retirement he started to rebuild more equipment for local people. As his reputation spread, saddles eventually came from hundreds of miles away. Bill always counted everything so he kept track of the saddles he repaired; he finished number 600 the week he died.
Bill raised and used Belgian horses. In the 1960’s he was one of two registered breeders in Western Canada. He showed his horses in fairs from Brandon to Vancouver. In 1958 he showed Bayou Red Wing at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Bill drove a four horse hitch to feed cows for 49 years. He also drove a team to feed Jim’s cows the week he died. Bill was a member of the Murraydale Ball and Roping Club, Ravenscrag Community Club and many square dance clubs.
He was a lifetime member of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, the Southwest Harness and Driving Club and the Saskatchewan Draft Horse Association. He was an honourary member of the Wainwright Buffalo National Park Interpretive Centre Foundation. Bill was predeceased by his wife Ann on July 14, 2011, brothers Joe, Cliff, Max, Jim and Harry, sisters Meg, Lorna and Thelma. He is survived by his children David of Rosetown, SK, Susan of Red Deer, AB, Jim of Ravenscrag and Nick of Eastend, one grandchild Clarence of Swift Current, two sisters Kae Straughen of Seattle, Washington and Doreen Burles of Nanton, AB.
Funeral Services were held from Eastend Memorial Hall on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 2 p.m. with Reverend Eleanor Rockabar officiating.
The eulogist was Mary Thomson, a tribute was given by Brent Straughen and the pianist was Linda Udal. Honourary pallbearers were Josh Walters, Jake Walters, Curt Paton, Lee Bascom, Dwayne Francis and Tom Pearson. Binkley’s Funeral Service of Shaunavon (www.Binkleys.com) was in charge of the arrangements.