DR. BRUNO OSCAR WILL
Died peacefully in his home surrounded by family and friends on Thursday May 23, 2019 at the age of 78 years old. Although sick with cancer, Bruno planned his goodbye so he could depart on his own terms, but of course, with apologies for causing such a fuss. As in death, Bruno’s life was uniquely his own - a German immigrant to Canada who made an indelible impact on the communities where he lived and served. He was a gifted physician, a more-than-gentleman farmer, a loyal friend, a mentor, a giver, funny as hell, a lady’s man until the end.
His life in Canada began when Bruno was just a boy, after a late-night escape from war-torn Germany near the end of WWII, where everything was left behind. Grounded by the strategic leadership of his ambitious parents, Harry and Annemarie, and with his two elder sisters, Monika and Senta, Bruno was raised in a strict, quintessentially German household underpinned by the lessons of war. At home he learned that hard work was the foundation for a good life.
For his high school years, Bruno attended Appleby College. Ever the loner, and driven by a strong independent streak, Bruno habitually ran away from the dormitory. He hated to be confined. But Bruno’s summers were spent happily on the family farms, “Peace Valley Ranch”, near Shelburne, Ontario. There, he happily laboured from dawn ‘til dusk under the tutelage of his father, Harry, and farm manager and friend, Morley Weatherall. He fell in love with farming.
During his formative high school years, Bruno had to decide whether to work for the family tool manufacturing business or break out on his own. He knew he’d have to choose a ‘respectable career’ if he didn’t work for the family firm. Dad attended the University of Western Ontario School of Medicine, where he met the two loves of his life: his wife Heather, and his life-long best friend, Dr. Paul Wilson. Bruno, Paul and their third medical school roommate and dear friend, Dr. Robert Love, graduated in May 1966, the same month that Bruno’s first beloved child, Lisa Marie, was born.
Soon after, Dad earned his Medical Residency at Vancouver General Hospital, where he worked from 1966 to ‘67. If the long hours and low pay, interning at an urban hospital in a distant city, with a young family wasn’t enough of an adventure, Bruno decided to move the family to an isolated area in Northern BC to build a brand new clinic, without any mentors or peers for many miles around. Bruno worked in Fraser Lake and with Stellat'en First Nation until 1970. It his here where his second beloved child, Lori Patricia, was born.
In 1970, it was time to return to Ontario, where Bruno held a 6-month externship at Toronto East General Hospital (now Michael Garron Hospital), which was the precursor to his decade-long general practice in Clarkson, Mississauga, with hospital privileges at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. It was at his own hospital where Bruno and Heather proudly welcomed their third and last beloved daughter, Cheryl Anne.
When the ‘burbs became a little too routine, Dad desired, once again, to make a greater impact on people’s lives. So, he took a 4-month locum in the underserved Northern Ontario community, of Armstrong, which is coterminous with White Sand First Nation. This locum not only helped the community but connected the whole family to the lives of indigenous peoples. Bruno’s deep connection to the land and people of Canada, was a continuous thread in his life, so at the age of 39 he decided to return to farming which had fed his soul every summer of his youth. He bought a magnificent 100-acre farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario from where he happily managed a country medical practice in Erin Township, with privileges at Guelph General Hospital, and a cow-calf and feed crop farm. Bruno loved country life more than anything. Indeed, Andy King taught Bruno so much about farming, and Stewart Chantler about business - these friendships are as deep as the valleys there.
Bruno filled his retirement days in Aberfoyle, Guelph with a steady stream of activities to better himself, his family and community. He was a loving and generous Opa to his two cherished grandchildren, Olivia and Rudy Eras. He was an avid gym-goer, CFRB fan, piano player, vacation planner for the whole family, and he enjoyed attending Mount Carmel-Zion United Church in Morriston. His favourite TV shows were Jeopardy and Judge Judy, believe it or not! Most of all, he loved to watch and play tennis, and he cherished the many friends he made through the game. Bruno also volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the Food Bank, and Wellington Terrace Long Term Care.
Dear son of Harry and Annemarie Will. Survived by his wife Heather, his daughters Lisa, Lori, and Cheryl, and his son-in-law John Eras, and grandchildren Olivia and Rudy. Bruno will be lovingly remembered by his sisters, Monika Gschwendtner and Senta Chisholm, and by their children: Sue & Richard Tryhane, Helyne Gschwendtner, Karen & Graeme Turner, Sabine Chisholm, Carl Chisholm & Karen Kepkiewicz, Neil & Bobbie Chisholm, and all of their children. Bruno will be fondly remembered by Paul and Bonnie Wilson and by his “adopted” children Maria Ottaviani, Blythe Wilson and Mark Harapiak.
Bruno was a true original and will be profoundly missed. Our brother, father, Opa, uncle, mentor, healer, and friend.
Friends & Family are welcome to attend a visitation on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 2 p.m. and a brief service at 3 p.m at Gilbert MacIntyre & Son Funeral Home, Hart Chapel, 1099 Gordon St. Guelph, ON N1G 4X9. All are welcome to a Celebration of Life reception at Bruno’s home nearby (we have a tent!), 110 Aberfoyle Mill Crescent, Guelph, ON N0B 1J0. As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to Bruno’s favourite charities; Covenant House, Guelph Food Bank, Wellington Terrence, Meals on Wheels, Mount Carmel-Zion United Church or to a charity of one's choice. Donation cards available at the funeral home 519-821-5077.