Barbara and Family;
I cannot even begin to express the extreme sadness that comes with having learned of the loss of such a wonderful man I felt blessed to call “friend” these past 13 years. I will always remember the sense of “magic” I felt the first time I heard Will as a presenter sharing his story of the “Penny Tree” at a teacher's conference that evoked such warm childhood memories. Who knew that contacting this local children's author on a whim as a Fund Development officer for an organization supporting young children would be the start of such a special and unique friendship that would span years?
Together we toured many schools around the city sharing fun, storytelling and science magic all the whilst he donated 100% of his proceeds to an organization supporting program enrichment opportunities for young children and their families… Perhaps the greatest gift of all however; was being someone who got to live the real “magic” of the Penny Tree story beyond its pages- not only for the many “pennies” the Penny Tree left behind totaling thousands of dollars raised in support of young children, but also for the dear old friend “Mr Bowers” (aka Will) it brought my way with whom “I'd sit and talk for hours.”
As the story ends… “In October when the ash leaves fell, Mr Bowers went away, he wasn't so well and though I searched every day, no more pennies came my way. I guess without old Mr. Bowers, the money tree had lost its powers. We missed the coins we used to spend, but most of all, I missed my old dear friend.”
So sorry to have missed his service, but will always remember Will fondly where his memory will continue to have a living presence as I visit the Penny Tree planted in his honour on the grounds of the Space Sciences Centre here in Edmonton and look upon his books that continue to grace my office book shelves to this day…
In sympathy and prayers to all of you during this time of sadness,