With heavy hearts we announce the passing of William (Bill) Cullens, our hero, our rock. Dad left us on September 22, at the age of 90, to join his wife and the love of his life, Elizabeth, just five short months after losing her. Loving father to Kim (Bob Haynes), Gail (Paul Richey), Laura Beasley and Jane (Ian Watson). ‘Papa’ will be greatly missed by his grandchildren, Kaitlin (David Black), Shelagh (Trevor Pilson) and Geoffrey Haynes; Heather (Max Giacomelli) and Scott Richey; Lisa, Alex and Sam Beasley; Sarah, Thomas (predeceased) and Kelly Watson; and great-grandchildren Benjamin and Ella Black and Zoë Pilson. Bill leaves his much-loved cousin Niall Whitty and nieces and nephews in the UK and Australia.
We are grateful for the love and friendship our ‘family’ in Canada—Aunts Joyce, Daphne and Patience—have shown to Dad, especially in recent years.
Bill was born in Stirling, Scotland, to James and Laura Cullens, and was a brother to Jimmy, all predeceased. Bill and Elizabeth met at a dance when they were 14 and 16 years old and continued dancing through their 75-year love story.
Dad graduated from University of Glasgow as a Civil Engineer. He began his illustrious career in Burton-on-Trent, England, working for McAlpine. After marrying Mum, they emigrated to Montreal where Dad worked at Dominion Bridge before joining Canron in Toronto. He began in sales and retired as President & CEO and then Chairman of the Board. His proudest accomplishment was leading the topping off of the CN Tower. Dad sat on various boards, both corporate and volunteer, not afraid to make the tough choices, a true champion of change. Gifted at separating business from friendship, he maintained life-long connections. Dad and Mum travelled the world, for work and pleasure, enjoying incredible adventures.
Dad was an avid and competitive athlete, playing rugby in Scotland and Montreal. True to the nature of rugby, we heard about and witnessed many ‘traditional’ rugby parties. Also a talented tennis- and squash-player and golfer, achieving a hole-in-one at the Royal & Ancient in St. Andrews. He was a member of Toronto Golf and Windermere where he enjoyed a standing game with the fearless foursome.
A most generous man of the highest integrity, he was an inspiration to everyone fortunate enough to know him.
A charming host, he threw memorable parties that became annual events including lobster nights, Robbie Burns parties in Toronto and Haggis nights in Treasure Cay, reciting all eight verses of Robbie Burns’ Address to a Haggis, always the highlight of the evening.
Dad had a love for small islands, making homes in Muskoka and Treasure Cay where four generations were fortunate to build memories we will forever cherish. His greatest happiness was time with family, pure joy in his eyes at family gatherings, donning a bow tie where the paper party hat at the table was mandatory.
Dad was the smartest and most interesting man we knew. He was a man of many talents: boat builder, fixer of anything, ultimate planner, designer, storyteller and the most tech-savvy 90-year-old ever.
His greatest gift to us was his undying love for Mum. We were truly blessed to grow up in a home knowing we were always loved, valued and protected. A legacy that lives on with us and our families. We will forever love and miss you.
A lover of good scotch, in Dad’s memory feel free to raise a glass—three fingers is acceptable— to celebrate his incredible life.
If desired, donations to SickKids Foundation would be greatly appreciated. Online condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca