We Remember

FENNELL, William “Bill” Raymond

November 6, 1931 — February 15, 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bill.  He was born in Calgary, Alberta on November 6, 1931, slipped away from us peacefully on the morning of February 15, 2021, in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Bill is survived and dearly missed by his daughter Pam (Rick Matzigkeit) Fennell; son Jon (Heather) Fennell; sister Pat (Hugh) Brown; and nephew David Brown and nieces Sandra (Jim Bleaney) McCulloch & Shari (Kevin) Ogren.

Bill had a full and prosperous life.  He spent his formative years in Calgary during a time of peace in the world.  He was the commensurate big brother to his sister Pat, always watching her back, a loving son to his parents, and a friend to many.  He learned early on that giving of himself was an important aspect of being a good person and member of society.  After completing his high school matriculation he enrolled in the Civil Engineering program at the University of Manitoba.  As he studied to become an engineer he also attended the Officer’s Training Course with the Royal Canadian Air Force Auxiliary Reserve culminating in a commission as a Pilot Officer. He had a keen sense of duty to his country.  During his time at the University of Manitoba he met his first wife Shirley, and they married in 1957 (in Banff, Alberta), settling in Calgary where they started their family.  In Calgary, Bill worked as a Production Technician and Reservoir Engineer, and received his Professional Engineer designation. It was an exciting time in the post-war world.

After a successful career in bustling “oil town”, the family relocated to Kelowna in 1962.  Bill quickly integrated into the community and embarked on a new career path to become an Accredited Public Accountant, and later a Certified General Accountant. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to form his own Public Accounting firm which grew to include four partners.  The company successfully ran for 20 years, after which Bill left to become a Freelance Accountant and Income Tax Consultant.  He eventually met Pat who became his wife in 1987.  They decided to make Calgary their home where Bill became a member of the City of Calgary Court of Revision and worked at the Federal Business Development Bank as a Case Councillor. After many years in Calgary he and Pat moved back to Kelowna where he continued his Case Counselling at the Federal Business Development Bank. Bill retired in 2003 and lived out the rest of his years in the sunny Okanagan, but still stayed very active in his community.

Bill was a very giving man and extremely community-minded.  Outside of his work he volunteered for many organizations and became Director for the Kelowna Minor Hockey League, Treasurer for the Central Okanagan Boy Scouts Council, Charter Treasurer for the Kelowna and District YM/YWCA, Treasurer for the Okanagan Neurological Association, Director for the Boys and Girls Club.  He also established the Fennell Rotary Ogopogo Bursary Fund with the Central Okanagan Foundation.  Bill also supported many other objectives to help people, such as Opportunity International Canada (a large microcredit non-profit organization), Shelterbox Canada (a community health clinic in Ghana), commissioning a school in Cambodia started by one of his Rotary recruits, development of Bio-sand water filters to assist people in Third World countries, and the Vulnerable Children’s Society (a Kelowna based non-profit assisting children in Ethiopia).  Bill donated substantially to the Kelowna General Hospital. He was very giving of himself and a role model for community service. Bill also recognized the gift of life and was a prolific Canadian Red Cross Blood Donor (i.e. over 125 Donations).

Bill became involved with Rotary, and in fact it became a life-long passion of his.  As a long-standing member of the organization, with over 40 years of perfect attendance, he was eventually named President of the Rotary Club of Kelowna Capri, and became District Governor of the Okanagan region, the Rotary International President’s Representative to District Conferences, and Member of the District Club Extension Committee. Bill was instrumental in forming eight Rotary Clubs, participated as a Workshop Leader in three District Conferences, and was involved with the PROBUS program. He also helped form the first gender-balanced Rotary club in Canada – a man ahead of his time.  “Mr. Rotary”, as some fondly called him, always built goodwill and friendships wherever he went.  As an ambassador of the program he was active internationally, helping to develop the Rotary Club of Rarotonga (Cook Islands) and Rotary Club of Maui Upcountry, and was heavily involved in Rotary International.  Bill was the recipient of the Paul Harris 8+ Fellow, the highest level of this distinguished award, in recognition of his tireless efforts to make the world a better place through good fellowship and “service above self”.

Bill was a true role model. He tirelessly gave of himself physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially to benefit others.  Bill loved to travel and had a great appreciation for art, a keen sense of humour, and enjoyed the good things in life. He surrounded himself with good people and was always ready to give a Bill-hug to anyone within his reach.  He was loved by all his friends and family, and the world has lost a true giver.  He will be greatly missed.

If desired, tributes may be made in memory of Bill to the Fennell Rotary Ogopogo Bursary Fund Rotary Club – Ogopogo/Pat & Bill Fennell Scholarship or the Fennell Sustainability Graduate Scholarship administered by the University of Calgary.

Donations can be made c/o Central Okanagan Foundation with a note in memory of Bill Fennell or referencing the scholarship fund above. The donation link for donation via credit card, the bursary is listed in the drop down menu under Rotary Club of Kelowna: Ogopogo fund. Contact: David Knapp, Central Okanagan Foundation, #306-1726 Dolphin Avenue, Kelowna BC V1Y 9R9, 250-861-6160 ext 104 www.centralokanaganfoundation.org/donate-through-canada-helps

If friends and family so desire, memorial tributes may be made to the Fennell Sustainability Graduate Scholarship Endowment at the University of Calgary via credit card at netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/william-fennell, by cheque payable to University of Calgary: include in memo field “Fennell Sustainability Graduate Scholarship Endowment” and send to the University of Calgary, Gift Processing and Tax Receipting, OVC 131, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary Alberta T2N 1N4, or by telephone at (403) 441-3500.

Sharing stories or photos on this tribute page of how Bill impacted your life are most welcome, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

Rest in peace Bill.

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the Fennell Rotary Ogopogo Bursary Fund Rotary Club – Ogopogo/Pat & Bill Fennell Scholarship or the Fennell Sustainability Graduate Scholarship administered by the University of Calgary Link: www.centralokanaganfoundation.org/donate-through-canada-helps, netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/william-fennell




  • Elaine Crebo says:

    Bill Had a tremendous impact on my life; roping me into being a charter member of the Ogopogo RotaryClub was just the beginning! He was a role model and I had so much respect for his passion in making the world a better place. There are a thousand memories over the years but foremost is his involvement in establishing our school in rural Cambodia. The little girl in the photograph had her hands clasped in gratitude and I will too will be forever grateful for knowing Bill, for having him as a special part of our family’s life. Rest In Peace my dear friend, ‘Crebo babe’

    • Al Holt says:

      I remember Bill with fondness from his visits to The Rotary Club of Calgary Chinook. Always a friendly word and smile.

    • Jerry Sedmak says:

      My sincerest heartfelt condolences to the family. All my experiences with Bill were absolutely brilliant. He’s one of the greatest human beings I could have known with such enthusiasm for rotary and doing good unsurpassed. He was one of my heroes, a truly great man. Will be missed by many but his good works will continue in perpetuity. With all our love to the family

  • Carol communicated b Moeykens says:

    It was with sadness that we learned from his sister Pat that Bill had passed away. Bill and I kept in touch by letter for years. We suspected there was something wrong when the letters stopped coming.

  • Cameron Lindsay says:

    To all the Fennell Family,
    Sorry to hear about Bill I will always remember his big laugh my thoughts are with you.


  • Shari Ogren says:

    Growing up, I always enjoyed a good time when we either travelled through Kelowna to visit Uncle Bill, or he would visit our family in Calgary. Uncle Bill always had a big smile, and there was always laughter in his presence! As a child, Uncle Bill was someone who I looked up to in awe. First, physically, he was much taller than me, and second, I just knew he was an intelligent man. How could he not be having been an Accountant? I also knew Uncle Bill was involved with Rotary, which I was always proud to say to anyone who even said the word “Rotary”! What I didn’t know about Uncle Bill was the incredible amount of volunteer work he did for different countries, and the titles he held. He truly made a difference in many peoples’ lives. One of my favourite memories at Christmas was receiving Uncle Bill’s Christmas letters with humorous literary content and informative wit. I will miss you, Uncle Bill, and am so grateful Kevin and I drove through Kelowna to see you a few years ago. That was a GREAT visit!!

  • Pamela Moor says:

    We were saddened to hear of Bill’s passing and will miss our visits with him at Glenmore Lodge. I worked with Bill at his accounting firm and enjoyed his zany sense of humour, it made going in to work a whole lot of fun. He was a passionate letter writer who wrote in such tiny script slanting across the page making it quite the feat to decipher his observations and jokes! I’m sure he will keep our past loved ones entertained, Rest In Peace Bill.
    Pamela and Roy Moor

  • Noreen (Moore) Lyall says:

    I am Norma Jean and Howard Moore’s daughter. I clearly remember Bill. I knew him as a young child but remember him most for his “entertaining” Christmas letters, which were like a magazine.. He went to great efforts to share information, news and fun, in his Christmas mailing. My Grandmother, Sarah (Ciss) Rose and Bill’s mother , (known to me as Grandma Fennel), were best friends. I knew Bill’s sister, Pat and husband Hugh. I babysat for their children. Most recently Sandi,Shari and I have accompanied our moms at the CGH Nurses Banquet because Norma Jean and Pat both graduated from nursing at the General. I will always remember how impressed I was by Bill’s gift of himself to others and my parents pointed that out to me. It is wonderful to know he touched so many lives in such a positive way. May your hearts be filled memories of this exceptional man.

  • Bob Lemon says:

    I first met Bill when I was a brand-new VP at OKM Secondary, and appreciated his support and tolerance. A few years later I again encountered him after I had joined Rotary. His impact there was astonishing, as he planted those eight clubs. He also recruited some key people for our own Capri Club, who under Bill’s mentorship went on to serve in major leadership roles. His list of accomplishments outside Rotary is also remarkable. My sincere sympathy to Pam and Jon and the rest of the family.

  • MP Tracy Gray says:

    I am very sorry for your loss and wish your family strength during this difficult time.
    Tracy Gray, Member of Parliament, Kelowna – Lake Country

  • Brett Wike says:

    Heartfelt condolences to Bill’s family. Bill led an exemplary life and was the epitome of a model Rotarian. Bill was a good example for us all on how to live.

  • Brian Fennell says:

    Bill and I first met when I was doing a makeup at the Capri Rotary Club during a visit to Kelowna from Edmonton, AB. His fellow Rotarians were astonished to find two Fennells of similar temperament. Bill and I exchanged entertaining and informative Christmas letters for many years until I moved to Kelowna in 2005. Bill helped get me involved in Rotary in Kelowna. I joined Sunrise Rotary because we agreed that two Fennells in the same club was a bit much! I will miss his good humour and friendship.

  • Taj Merali says:

    I just received the information Mary Turner about Bill’s passing away. I do not know Bill but I wanted to pass my condolences to the family. In my Muslim faith we say the following, From Him we Come and to Him we Return and May God give the family faith and patience during these difficult times. May God bless him and give him eternal peace.

  • SYED SAJJAD Ahmed says:

    Dear Fennel Family
    My condolences to the Fennel family! Rest In Peace, Bill.
    Rotary Club Calgary Chinook

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