A beloved Londoner, well-known for his role in bringing the World Figure Skating Championships to the city in 2013, is being remembered as a kind, compassionate, knowledgeable, and dependable man.
Bill Boland died Wednesday at the age of 76.
“It was just a pleasure to know Bill and it’s so sad that he’s gone,” Jim Virtue, father of Olympic champion Tessa Virtue, told Global News on Friday.
“In my law career and his insurance profession we intersected back in the late ’70s and ’80s when he came to London from Toronto. [He was] always someone who was a gentleman, who was kind, compassionate, knowledgeable, and always was someone you knew you could deal with honestly and openly. When Bill said something, you trusted it, you didn’t need to write a memo to confirm it. It was done.”
Virtue said Boland was a passionate sports fan and they’d run into each other “all the time” at the London Knights games and baseball games.
“And then when my girl started figure skating, Bill was a huge figure skating volunteer and fan. Got involved at the local board level and then the national board level where he served with distinction for decades.”
According to an obituary, Boland was a volunteer with Skate Canada for over 30 years. The “crowning achievement of his volunteer efforts” was “the awarding of the ISU World Figure Skating Championships to Canada and London in 2013.”
“I remember having a private chat with Bill long before it became a reality,” Virtue said.
“I knew, I could see it in his eyes, I could see the passion with which he spoke, you just knew he was going to make it happen. When he and (then-GM of Tourism London) John Winston got together, I remember his calling me to tell me and he was almost in tears he was so thrilled. Without Bill, it doesn’t happen.”
Also at that time, Boland was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, which is awarded to living Canadians and permanent residents “who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad.”
Boland remained active with Ontario West Insurance Brokers, which he started with business partner Jim Marshall in 1987, until his death. He was the “beloved husband for over 50 years of Maureen Montgomery” and had two daughters and a granddaughter.
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