ESSON, William Arthur
The Honourable William Arthur Esson, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on July 14, 2016 in North Vancouver, B.C.
Bill was born on November 1, 1930 in Vancouver to John Esson, from the Orkney Islands, and Dolina (nee Morrison), from Badcall Bay, Scotland. He had three older siblings, Jack, Bessie and Hector, whom he always looked up to and loved. They grew up around Commercial Drive where his father ran a family bakery. Bill had a happy childhood. Travels with his family instilled in him his love of our province as well as a lifelong affinity for road, and particularly train, travel. He would always enjoy, and take pride in, his Scottish heritage, his East End upbringing and his many friends from Britannia High School.
Bill graduated UBC in 1953 with a B.A. and a strong interest in history, reading and writing. A hard year of running Esson's Bakery convinced him to return to UBC in September 1954, this time to study law. He married Margaret Buchele in 1958. Soon after children, John and Catharine, followed and the family moved to West Vancouver where they were very happy.
Bill found his calling, and thrived, in law. He practiced for 21 years, all at Bull Housser & Tupper, until he was appointed a Judge in 1979. He spent the next 26 years on the bench, serving twice on both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, including seven years as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Bill thoroughly enjoyed the law, which interested him passionately, and his colleagues, many of whom became friends. When he retired in 2006, at the age of 75, Bill was honoured with a Special Sitting of both Courts.
Regrettably, Bill would not get to fully enjoy the retirement he deserved due to the rapid onset of health issues. We wish it had not been so, but note that even in those most challenging of times Bill seemed to accept that which he could not change. He lived as fully as he could with the same quiet courage and grace that marked his entire life.
The family wishes to extend their appreciation to Patricia for her assistance in the last few years, as well as to the dedicated caregivers at Sunrise of Lynn Valley.
Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Margaret; his children, John (Mary Ainslie) and Catharine (David Crosby); and his namesake grandson, Will.
At the request of the family, no flowers please. There will be a Celebration of Life on Friday, September 16, 2016 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Law Courts Inn at 800 Smythe Street in Vancouver.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from Jul. 23 to Jul. 24, 2016.