Frederick B. Williamson passed away peacefully on March 27, 2023, at the age of 90, in Chemainus, B.C.
Born in 1932, Fred was the son of a steam locomotive engineer, and his family moved several times before settling in Revelstoke, B.C. There, he attended high school and built fond and lasting memories of an active youth shared with a close-knit group of friends.
An avid shutterbug, young “Foto” aspired to be a professional photographer, but steam power was in his blood and led him on a different path. With characteristic drive and determination, he became the youngest first-class power engineer in B.C. He never lost his passion for steam power in a career that ultimately spanned fifty years.
Fred began his career in the remote coastal community of Ocean Falls. After several years he returned to the Lower Mainland, where he met and married Louise. In 1963, following the birth of their second son, they moved to Vancouver Island — first to Campbell River and finally to Saltair, shortly before their third son was born. There, Fred spent thirty years as Steam Plant Superintendent at MacMillan Bloedel’s Harmac Pulp Division in Nanaimo before retiring in 1998.
A kind and thoughtful person, Fred had strong convictions, yet was respectful of others and generous in spirit. Despite his sometimes-stoic demeanour, he had a twinkle in his eye, an abiding curiosity in the world around him, and a zest for life. A recreational pilot in his early years, he also enjoyed skiing, boating and travel. He was a loving husband to Louise throughout their 54 years together, and devoted himself to her care during her battle with Parkinson’s disease until her passing in 2014. He cherished her memory until the end.
Fred is lovingly remembered and survived by his three sons, Blair (Margaret), Grant (Donna) and Warren, brothers-in-law Bob and Florent, wife’s siblings Paul (Doreen), Laurette (Stan), Roger (Marie), and his nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his wife Louise, sister June, and sister-in-law Lynn.
The family wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to all the staff at both Dover House in Nanaimo and the Chemainus Long-Term Care Centre for the kind and compassionate care they provided to Fred during the past two years.
A celebration of Fred’s life will be held on Sunday, May 28th, 2023, 1:00pm - 4:00pm, at Eagles Hall, 921 First Avenue, Ladysmith, BC. For those wishing to honour Fred’s memory, donations may be made to Parkinson Society British Columbia or a charity of the donor’s choice.