Remembering Bill Vos: Family and creating parks what he loved most

Vast tracts of land and intimate historical settings are preserved as Okanagan regional parks, thanks in large part to Bill Vos.

Bill Vos

Bill Vos loved his job.

Vos, with his wife Terrilyn, settled into the Okanagan Valley some 26 years ago, after retiring from the RCMP.

That’s when he found his career of a lifetime with the parks department of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

“That’s what he lived for,” Terrilyn told the Lake Country Calendar this week.

“He knew how important it was to get land for parks and to maintain them,” she said.

Over his 19 years working in regional district parks, Vos was involved with making sure land was purchased for parkswhenever it came available.

“He just felt we had to get as much land for parks in the future as possible,” Terrilyn said.

“If anything became available, particularly along the waterfront,” Bill worked to make it a regional park for everyone toenjoy.

Vos was integral in securing the Gellatly Heritage Nut Farm, Mission Creek Linear Park, Okanagan Mountain Park and manyother parcels of land from Lake Country through Peachland for the community.

Ferne Jean worked with Vos as a member of the Gellatly Nut Farm Society, herself a descendent of the Gellatly family.

“I enjoyed working with him very much,” she said. They preserved the Gellatly Cemetery first, then the farm below it, whichremains a working nut farm to this day.

“I worked very closely with Bill. I was certainly shocked (to hear of his passing).”

Though Bill enjoyed his years with the RCMP, “it wasn’t his career, like parks,” Terrilyn said. “He was proud” of hiscontributions to establishing parks throughout the Okanagan.

A celebration of life was held for Bill Vos last Thursday in Kelowna. Terrilyn said “it overflowed” will people honouring Bill,from former mayors to regional district administrators and staff, family and friends.

Bill and Terrilyn had three boys Will, Gerrit and Jason and grandchildren Karys, Tyler, Carter and Callum who “areenjoying the parks every day,” she said.

Bill’s was a surprise diagnosis and sudden death. Diagnosed with esophageal cancer in September, it had already spread tohis bones and liver. He died Oct. 30, at the age of 65.

“It was short and very painful,” Terrilyn said. “They’ve done a lot of good work” in research to cure some cancers, but thereis still a long way to go for others.

“It wasn’t what he deserved.”