Born in Hopetown, South Africa on July 5, 1935 to Willem Petrus van Staden and Asa (Gertruida Wilhelmina) Lansberg. When he was young, the family moved frequently following the diamond mine operations where William’s dad worked repairing the mining rigs and sluices. William’s dad loved cars and passed along that love of cars to William who wanted to be a car mechanic, but apartheid laws forbid that profession to non-whites. William quit high school, apprenticed as a mason, eventually starting his own construction company building custom homes. William loved sports and played many of them including rugby, cricket, soccer, karate and once he earned his black belt in karate, he started teaching others. William loved his cars, driving fast, weekend fishing trips, motorcycle rides and into-the-night dart games.
William first saw Sheila at a dance and said to his friend “I’m going to marry that woman.” Sheila (and her parents) thought differently. So to impress this woman from the right side of the tracks, William learned to play tennis so that they could play together and his quiet and thoughtful ways eventually won over his future in-laws as well.
He and Sheila designed and built their own home in Homestead and lived there until March 1979 when they made the hard decision to immigrate to Canada, leaving behind their families, work and business to escape apartheid and give their children a better life. William designed the house that he and Sheila bought in Mississauga. A house that has seen many celebrations. A home that was always warm and welcoming; their first and only home in Canada. When you do it right the first time, you only need one!
Starting over in Canada meant working construction at Summit Restoration but once they found out that William excelled in stone work, Old World Stone was created with William doing the stone work. Some of his perfectionist handiwork included restoration of the Winged Victory angel on the Princes’ Gates at the CNE and the Portico at the University of Guelph.
William passed peacefully into the arms of the lord on December 3, 2020 in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada and joins his two sisters, Johanna and Marion. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Sheila van Staden (née Albertyn); his three children - Sharon van Staden and Mike (Campbell), Jeff and Christine (Duffey) van Staden, and Carlo and Michelle (Bombardier) van Staden and all of his wonderful grandchildren: Kyle (Samantha Mahabir), Wesley, Justin, Shannon, Kalen, Lexa, Brandon (Steph Wong), Christopher and Brittany.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
To view William's life and legacy, please view the Photo Gallery in the Photos section.