William (Bill) Earl Salyers 67 passed away on July 5th at Central Peace Hospital in Spirit River Alberta leaving us saddened but with many fond memories. Bill was born on March 3rd ,1952 in Irving Texas to Ervin Hendricks and Francis Evelyn Salyers.
Bill grew up in South Texas and graduated from Santa Fe High school in Santa Fe Texas in 1971. After high school he worked at Colonial Funeral Home in Dallas and Broadway Funeral Home in Galveston as a Mortician and an ambulance driver. Before his draft number came up; he joined the Merchant Marines under Military charter hauling equipment and supplies to the troops in Vietnam and then on his return to civilian life worked for Brown and Root as a pressure tester. He also did a stint in the army and got an honorable discharge.
It was when working for Brown and Root in 1974 while taking someone that had been hurt on the job to the hospital that he picked up a Western Horseman magazine and found the names of three girls in Canada looking for other horse crazy people to write too. Though never owning a horse or being around them much he decided to write anyway and of the three only the one from Alberta replied. Rose Gould from Hines Creek. After getting over 30 replies to her pen pal request Rose was going to send the next one back but liked the handwriting, so decided to write to one more. Soon she was only writing letters to one.
Many letters were sent back and forth over the next 18 months and two postal strikes were endured so Bill decided to propose and make his way to Canada which was no easy feat. After four months of paperwork on both sides of the border and a declaration of intent to marry he was given a 30-day visa and if they decided not to marry would have to leave at that time. He left Houston in short sleeve weather of +25 December 2nd and arrived in Calgary to 40 below and an unloading ramp that was frozen, so everyone had to deplane on the tarmac and walk to the terminal. Though thoughts of heading home struck him then he decided after having come this far better to continue so on he went, spending the night in Edmonton with Rose’s brother Allan before boarding the bus north to Hines Creek. The final leg of the trip from Fairview to Hines Creek in a van with very little heat.
It was so cold that Rose and her dad could not get their truck going so a neighbor Sven Erickson volunteered to take Rose in to meet the bus. Being that the bus depot at that time was a very small confectionary it was not hard to find each other and over the next two weeks they got to know each other and find they were not wrong in thinking that had found their soul mates. Bill and Rose were married on December 26th1975 in Worsley Alberta long before his visa expired. They were happily married for 43 years and had four wonderful children who he has always been so proud of in the children they were and the adults they have become as well as the six grandchildren they gave him to spoil. Though he didn’t get to spend as much time as he would have liked with his grandchildren, he loved them all dearly.
Bill became a full Canadian citizen 4 yrs. later in 1979 and though he always called Texas ‘down home’ Bill always felt that Canada was his home and believed that he should be Canadian in every way possible.
When Bill arrived in Canada, he had many and varied jobs firstly a maintenance man at the Fairview Hospital then the Fairview College. From there he did road construction, masonry, school bus driver, partner in J-3 Waterbeds and Upholstery family business, Alberta Transportation and, also Texalta Upholstery another family business that he and Rose ran. At 38 Bill went back to Martech College and got a degree in Marketing with honors which led him to land one of his favorite jobs as District Manager for Canadian Federation of Independent Business getting to help small businesses understand government issues. He won many awards for his efforts with them.
From the time he was young Bill was an entertainer and at 14 he started playing drums in his first band. He spent many years playing drums for various bands in Texas with many great musicians. After immigrating to Canada though he had left his drums in Texas it was not long till he was once again behind a kit doing what he loved and touring the Alberta and BC Peace country with more great musicians. He also did some time as a standup comic before turning his attention to his other entertainment love Magic. That continued for the rest of his life.
Bill was a member of IGAS The International Graphoanalysis Society and was a certified Graphoanalyst. He loved to analyze peoples handwriting (something he neglected to tell Rose when they first started writing). He was also a 30 + year member of the he Happy Valley Fire Dept as well as working with the Fire dept and Search and Rescue before leaving Texas. He enjoyed art and could always be found drawing pictures or planning some project he wanted to make. He also was a published author and his book Sasquatch was published in 2014. He was very possessive of his work and would always say I need to tweak it a bit more before I let it go so though he never got all his “babies’” published himself he left us with several finished manuscripts that hopefully we can get published for him so his life’s work will be seen.
Bill was the kind of man that was always willing to help anyone in need whether driving a stranded bandmate home from Valleyview Alberta to Fort St James BC an 8 hour trip one way or picking up a hitchhiker carrying a tool box full of work tools, trying to get to a new job, in the middle of winter and driving him the 300 kms to get there so he wouldn’t freeze trying. If someone had a true need he was there.
Bill is survived by his spouse Rose, of Spirit River Alberta, son Chris (Jennifer) Salyers and sons Cameron and David of Edmonton AB, daughter Robyn(Rob) Wetzel and son Joelyn of Beaverlodge AB, daughter Reyanne (Ryan) Mckenna and kids Jacob, Vijay and Ryker of Sexsmith AB and son Stephen of Spirit River. Brothers Dale(Vicki) Salyers Sun City Arizona, Ralph(Peggy) Salyers Sun City Arizona, Sisters Sharland (Charlie)Teller, Dickinson Texas and Barbara(Troy) Springtown Texas, sister in law Valerie Mesquite Texas, brothers in law William(Marilyn) Gould, Valley Nova Scotia and Allan(Patricia)Gould, Beaumont AB and many nieces and nephews in Canada and the US.
Bill was predeceased by his parents Ervin Hendricks and Francis Evelyn Salyers, brothers Ervin Hendricks (Bud) Salyers Jr, David Scott Salyers and parents in law Clarence Bliss and Annie Hume (Nancy) Gould.
At Bill’s request there will be no funeral. Cremation has taken place.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to heart and stroke or charity of one’s choice.