(Retired- Professional Forester)
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of J. F. Willis Gourlay, a beloved veteran, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend. Willis passed away peacefully at Orchardview by the Mississippi, Almonte on Saturday, April 8, 2023, at the age of 98.
Willis was born to Roy and Lila (Thoms) Gourlay and grew up in Kinburn, Ontario. He served his country with pride as a Radar Technician for 3 years with the R.C.A.F. in Canada and overseas in England, Belgium, and France during World War II. Willis was a lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion for 65 years and took great pride in his service to his country.
Willis was married to his late wife Doris (nee Bradshaw) and together they raised two children, Susan Berberick (late Michael) of Hamilton and the late Daryl Gourlay. He was a proud grandfather to Aaron, Adam, Devin, Brayden, Brandon, Stephanie, and Matthew, and great-grandfather to Lux, Jack, Willow, Ruby and Bo.
Willis is survived by his dear sister Erva MacHardy of Arnprior and was predeceased by his sisters Viola Munro, Goldie Greene, and Marion Cavanagh. He will be missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins, and wonderful neighbors in Kinburn and on Wolff Crescent in Arnprior.
Willis was a graduate of the University of Toronto (1950) with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and worked for Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources for 35 years, specializing in private land forestry. He was also a member of the Ontario Forestry Association, the Ottawa Branch Ontario Genealogical Society, and a long-time Director and Past President of the Fitzroy Township Historical Society. His passion for history, genealogy, and forestry was evident in his work and volunteerism throughout his life.
In his free time, Willis loved to curl and tend to his garden. He will be remembered as a kind and gentle soul who was always willing to lend a helping hand.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Orchardview for their compassionate care of Willis. His family will forever be thankful for the kindness and warmth that was provided during his stay.
Willis’ arrangements have been entrusted to the Boyce Funeral Home Ltd., 138 Daniel Street North, Arnprior. Private Interment at Arnprior Albert Street Cemetery. Donations in memory of Willis can be made to the Fitzroy Township Historical Society.