Bill Gilgan, a friend in Burns Lake, grilled beaver tail and muskrat stew.

Here is the notice from Alumni trek, UBC

William W. Gilgan BSF 50, was born in Castor, AB, on July 7, 1917, and passed away in his beloved Burns Lake on August 7, 2012, one month to the day after he celebrated his 95th birthday with family and friends.

A true pioneer, Bill moved with his family to homestead on Tchesinkut Lake, 15 km south of Burns Lake, in 1918. He was the first person to complete high school in Burns Lake, graduating in 1936.

Bill served in the RCAF as a navigator during WWII, and enrolled at UBC at the end of the war, graduating with a degree in forestry. With the completion of his education, Bill relocated his family back to Burns Lake and worked there in various forestry-related positions until the mid-’60s, when he left the industry to pursue another interest, becoming the planning director for the regional district of Bulkley-Nechako. Bill remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1983.

In retirement, Bill remained active, serving several years as a marriage commissioner, and maintaining his lifelong love of fishing, hunting and the outdoors in general, by running his trapline until well into his 80s.

William will be remembered most for his active participation in the community that he had called home since before it was incorporated. He was very active in politics at the local level, serving two periods as mayor of Burns Lake for a total of 23 years. He was challenged, but never defeated at the polls during that tenure. Bill was the last surviving founding member of the Rotary Club of Burns Lake, chartered in 1953. Bill is survived by his wife of 27 years, Kathleen, and six children by two of his three marriages.

I had the pleasure to work with Bill from ’79 – 82′ as Economic Development Commissioner for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. Bill was the Planner. He knew everybody, and every back road and trail, every creek, pond and lake in the Lakes District. He took me along and showed me the best fishing and trapping, what to fish with and how to set the traps.

He had a series of trap lines, I followed him a few times, but trapping is nothing for me. I like to see the muskrat, beaver, wolf and coyote live in nature. He was also a very skilled hunter. He got his moose every year, at the east end of Burns Lake, using his beloved canoe, the moose would come down feeding in the lake every day int he early morning.

I tried his recipes on beaver tail, it is fatty, ok grilled, but must be soaked in vinegar overnight. The musk-rat stew tasted like musk-rat, because I knew what is was. He probably had the only swimming pool in the whole area, at that was nice. His own invention heated the pool and the large green house.

We had many discussions, and I tried arguing with him, on some of my pet projects, but must admit that he was always right at the end. His knowledge of the land and the people was earned over a life time. He could see the whole picture. I learned a lot and never met a person like Bill.

God bless you Bill, we will meet again soon.

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