Obituary of William Francis Ready
READY, William Francis, S.O.M., Q.C.
1927 – 2019
William Francis Ready passed away peacefully after a sudden illness on the morning of Monday, July 8, surrounded by his loving family. He was 92.
Bill is mourned by his wife of 67 years, Frances and their five children – Ken Ready (Judy), Don Ready (Jill), Marian Ready, Carol Ready and Audrey Ready Holt (Christopher); 10 grandchildren – Mary Weimer (Jeremy), Bill Ready (Bridget), Donald Ready (Jayme Oakley), Catherine Ready (Chris Forster), Emily Ready, Julie Ready (Rory McCorriston), Christine Ready (Jon Stadler), Emma Holt, Benjamin Holt and Sophie Holt; and seven great-grandchildren – Sarah Weimer, James Weimer, Claire Weimer, Ella Weimer, Patrick Ready, Owen Ready and Isabelle Forster. He also leaves behind his dear sister Margaret Skarsgard (Lloyd) of Vancouver, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents Harold Francis Ready and Ethel Pearl Ready, brother Kenneth and sister-in-law Mary, sister Beth and granddaughter Stephanie Ready.
Bill was born on April 21, 1927 at Forgan, Saskatchewan, the eldest of four children. He attended elementary school in Valparaiso and high school in Tisdale, and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948 and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1950. Bill practised law in Nipawin and Melfort before moving to Regina in 1953 to join the prestigious law firm of Thom, Bastedo and McDougall. He later became the senior partner and the firm became known as McDougall Ready (now McDougall Gauley). Appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1967, Bill served as president of the Regina Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association (Saskatchewan). He was a Bencher of the Law Society for six years, a member of the Law Society Mentor Program and a frequent lecturer at the Law Society Bar Admission Course. Bill received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Bar Association (Saskatchewan) in 1990. In 1999, after an exceptional legal career of nearly 50 years, Bill retired from active practice. He was granted a Senior Life Membership in the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 2001.
Bill made many noteworthy contributions to the business community. He was a member of the boards of Royal Bank Mutual Funds for 27 years, was one of the original directors of the Canadian Bar Insurance Association and was a member of the Saskatchewan Securities Commission (now Saskatchewan Financial Services Commission), to name a few.
Throughout his life, Bill was committed to making a difference in the life and work of the community. He was president of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, president of the Gyro Club of Regina and chair of the Regina Citizens’ Advisory of the Salvation Army. In 2005, Bill was appointed a life member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board of Regina. He was an active member of Lakeview United Church for nearly 40 years and served as chair of its church board.
In 1967, Bill was elected to the Regina Public School Board and served on the Board for 11 years – two years as vice chair and two years as chair. A number of innovative initiatives were implemented during his tenure, including the Community School Program, the Ukrainian Language Program, the Program for the Visually Impaired, the Pre-school Program for First Nations Children and the School Tutor Program for the Learning Disabled. In 1984, the Regina Board of Education honoured him by naming a new elementary school after him – W.F. Ready School.
Bill was further honoured in 1989 when the University of Regina conferred upon him a Doctor of Laws degree (honoris causa) in recognition of his exceptional service to the community.
Bill was a member of the University of Saskatchewan Senate for six years. In 2007, at the age of 80, he was elected Chancellor of the University of Regina. During his two three-year terms, he conferred degrees, diplomas and certificates on more than 13,500 graduating students and became an ardent supporter of the University of Regina football and basketball teams. Upon his retirement as Chancellor, the University of Regina Board of Governors conferred upon him the permanent title of Chancellor Emeritus.
On June 4, 2019, Bill was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in recognition of his commitment to service, to education and to the province.
Bill truly lived his life to the fullest. He was genuinely interested in people and enjoyed every opportunity to engage in conversation and share a story. Bill had a wonderful sense of humour and a broad range of interests. At the age of 70, Bill, his son Ken and his grandson Donald hiked the historic Chilkoot Trail from Skagway, Alaska to Bennett Lake in Yukon Territory. He enjoyed skiing, golfing, gardening and summers spent at the family cottage at Kenosee Lake. In recent years, Bill especially enjoyed the companionship of his dog Sidney.
Family was the centre of Bill’s life and his favourite times were those spent in the company of his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was immensely proud of them and of their accomplishments.
A humble man of integrity and honesty, Bill was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He will be greatly missed.
A Memorial Service will be held at Lakeview United Church, 3200 McCallum Avenue, Regina, SK on Monday, July 15, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.
The family is grateful for the care and compassion extended to Bill and to them by the doctors and nurses of the Regina General Hospital and by members of the Regina Qu’Appelle Emergency Medical Services and the Regina Fire and Protective Services.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice.