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Born: May 14, 1946

Date of Passing: Oct 14, 2021

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GORDON: William Paul Gordon passed away peacefully at St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at the age of 75 years. Bill received wonderful care in Brandon and at St. Boniface Hospital after suffering a heart attack, and had his wife Kathleen (née Granger) and son Patrick at his side, with daughter Emma and son-in-law John, in Shanghai, and daughter-in-law Andrea, in Toronto, with him virtually. Bill was born on May 14, 1946 in Weymouth, England. From a very young age Bill had a passion for classical music and playing the French horn, and his education included frequent trips into London as a teenager to study and play (memorably once leaving his French horn behind on a late train home). He received an Associate of the Royal College of Music degree from the Royal College of Music, London. Bill played as a freelance musician in London, and then took a position with the Ulster Orchestra, Belfast. He had memorable stories about living in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. In 1967 he immigrated to Winnipeg, where he taught band at Gordon Bell and Sisler High Schools and played part-time with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. In 1970, Dean Lorne Watson recruited Bill to join the faculty of the School of Music at Brandon University (BU), where he taught for 43 years full-time and a further seven years sessionally, teaching French horn, music history, theory and numerous other classes, as well as a three-year period serving as Interim Associate Registrar. Generations of Bill's students remember him as a patient and kind instructor who often used his gentle sense of humour to get his point across. He loved conducting the BU Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, and upon his retirement was able to continue this passion by conducting the Mennonite Community Orchestra in Winnipeg for five years. Bill also took on an instrumental role in the design and construction of the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building in the early 1980's, and was amused and pleased when presented with a mock architecture degree from MCM Architects as a sign of their appreciation for his efforts. Bill's time at Brandon University also introduced him to his wife Kathie; they were married in 1982, and Patrick and Emma were born in 1987 and 1990, respectively. Bill loved his musical family, with Kathleen being a now-retired elementary music school teacher and Emma serving as a band and choir teacher in international schools in Dubai and now Shanghai. Patrick played the bassoon, but is the black sheep of the family as he became a lawyer (don't worry, he wrote this part). Bill's passion for music extended to his interests outside of work, including serving as President of the Brandon Festival of the Arts and of the Associated Manitoba Arts Festival. He was also very involved in various organizations related to his children's activities as they were growing up. He enjoyed travelling, particularly trips to Europe, Australia and across Canada to visit family and friends and attend family weddings. His interests also included cooking (especially Indian food, a long-time passion after having lived above a curry shop in London while in college), reading, Sudoku and watching sports. Bill was predeceased by his parents, James and Elaine and sister Fiona. He is survived by his wife of 39 years Kathie; children Patrick (Andrea) and Emma (John); siblings Lucy (Rod), Alistair (Malee) and Elspeth (Simon) and many nieces and nephews. In keeping with Bill's wishes, no funeral service will be held. A Celebration of Life will be held in summer, 2022. If you so wish, gifts in memory of Bill may be made to The William Gordon Memorial Scholarship Fund at Brandon University Foundation by mail to 270 18th Street, Brandon, MB R7A 6A9, online at or by phone to 204-727-7374.

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As published in Brandon Sun on Oct 23, 2021

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • I am so thankful for having been a student of Bill Gordon. He was such a giving and kind teacher, and his wealth of experience and knowledge was so valuable. Many fond memories of first year history at Brandon University, with Professor Gordon’s humour and stories. Condolences to the family. - Posted by: Corah Enns (student) on: Oct 26, 2021

  • Bill was one of my main inspirations to pursue music at university! Attending the "all-star" high school band he conducted in March 1971 was one of the big thrills of my young musical life!! Bill always tried to help his students and always injected a large dose of humour in everything he did. Bill was a true pioneer in music and bands in Manitoba and he will be remembered very fondly and with great respect by hundreds of former students, including me. God Bless! - Posted by: Fraser Linklater (student) on: Oct 26, 2021

  • Kathie, I was very sad to hear of the sudden passing of your husband. Bill was one of my most influential teachers at Brandon University ('73-'77) teaching me practical instrumental classes as well as conducting my weekly Concert Band Ensemble. There is no doubt in my mind that Bill contributed greatly in my ability to teach band for thirty-nine years to students of all ages (grades 5-12) both in Medicine Hat, AB and Menlo Park, CA. Bill's passion, creativity, knowledge of music, and sense of humor confirmed early in my tenure at BU that music education was going to be my lifetime vocation! Bill, thanks for the many awesome memories including drinking a libation with a mouthpiece, instead of a straw, over at the 'White House'! - Posted by: Colin Cooper (Student of Bill Gordon) on: Oct 25, 2021

  • Kathie, I heard of Bill as a musician before we came to Brandon from a long time mutual friend, the late Muriel Milgrom. When we moved here in 1964 and there were band events for teachers Muriel came to stay with us. She shared his modesty, kindness, skill and care for students that helped untutored folk like me grow. Her only comment I recall about Bill was, "He is really a good guy.". They might have worked with the same school bands in Wpg. And so there was and is a comfort in the memories for many that I hope embraces you in this sudden rupture in your family. Warm wishes, Marie, G. - Posted by: Marie Graham (music friend) on: Oct 24, 2021

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