Nature 10

William "Bill" SHENFIELD

January 5, 1937 ~ March 31, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old


William Murrel Shenfield passed away in Joseph Creek Care Village in Cranbrook, BC on March 31st, 2023.  He had declining health over the last two years but was blessed with 86 years of life.

Uncle Bill, as he was fondly known, will be greatly missed by his nieces and nephews, Dixie Lee Wickens, John (Rita) Wickens, Ted Wickens, and Christine (Daniel) Bruneau; grand nieces and nephews, Devin (Sarah), Jennifer (Darryl), John Jr, Kayla, Christine, Amy (Cory), Sarah, and Aaron.  He also leaves many relatives in the Shypitka family from Cranbrook, the Luke family from Fernie and many good friends including his lifelong buddy, Steve Domin. 

Bill was predeceased by his parents, Robert Shenfield and Florence (nee Luke) Shenfield, and his sister, Roberta (nee Shenfield) Wickens.

He was born in the family home, in West Fernie, BC, during a terrible winter blizzard on Jan 5th, 1937, where he continued to reside his whole life. 

Beginning his career at the age of 15, he went to work in the Coal Creek Mine.  He enjoyed working there and was proud when he talked about getting his Fire Boss and Shift Boss papers.  After the mine closed, he had several bush jobs but spent most of his life pursuing his passion of prospecting and mining. 

He was a very smart learner who acquired many skills by studying books and hands-on experiences.  His knowledge of geology was so amazing that he was called a self-taught geologist, pursuing this passion, spending many days prospecting, especially for coal.  He developed coal claims up the Elk Valley and was proud it helped him earn a living.

Bill spoke with pride when recounting how he was asked by Cominco to explore the upper Fording Valley about 1968, to see if there was enough coal there to mine.  Along with a partner they discovered so much coal that the Fording River Mine was built and is still very productive to this day.

Growing up in hard times taught Bill to be resourceful and make do with the little they had.  Nothing was thrown away, so he was well known for his collections, which made him a recycler years before it was popular.  Hard times also taught him to be thrifty, but he was also a very generous man with a lot of empathy for others.  He could also be stubborn and set in his ways, which isn't necessarily bad.  Bill was a unique interesting man who lived a simple life.  He was a very honest man who was fair to others and believed that a promise made with a handshake was not to be broken.  He deeply cared about his family and friends.  

We will miss dropping in for visits over coffee or tea and seeing the way his face lit up when he saw what baked treats, we brought.  We love you Dear Uncle and will always treasure the great memories of you.

A graveside service will be held at the Elko Cemetery on Tuesday, April 11th at 11:00 a.m. 

Dress for the weather and bring a chair if you wish.

Refreshments and family visits will be at Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook

from 12:30-4:00 p.m.  Address: 2100- 3rd Street South

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice or to 

The Elko Cemetery Board

8810 Burton Lake Road

Elko BC, V0B 1TE  

Note- (This is a volunteer run board that is not able to give tax receipts.)

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William "Bill" SHENFIELD, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
April 11, 2023

11:00 AM
Elko Cemetery
Highway 3/93
Elko, BC V0B 1T3


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