Saturday, January 27, 2007

Rest in Peace, Bill

I considered Bill Sturrup a friend. We didn't live near each other, we didn't talk all the time, but when we did get to talking or see each other again, we always seemed to hit it off. He was my first sort-of-"film"-friend outside of George Eastman House. Bill died on January 15.

I knew Bill as the President of the Toronto Film Society, a membership subscription group that honored classic films, both sound and silent, and created a community within the Toronto area for lovers of film. But I know he was much more than that. He was also the voice of the Hamilton Bulldogs, the AHL hockey team in his hometown. He worked the PA and apparently did a great Bulldog cheer over the speakers. Man, did he love to talk hockey. We related somewhat because the Rochester Americans, another AHL team was in my hometown. We were also able to talk about the Blue Jays, as he knew some about them. But hockey was really his sport.

He was also very active in the CrimeStoppers movement. I know he traveled all over the place with his wife to conventions. He was a crime beat reporter in his younger days and was very important to both crime and reporting in the history of Hamilton. As a matter of fact, the Police Department named a room for Bill in their HQ just the day before he died.

I know that he was a family man. I know that he had cultivated a successful marriage over thirty-some years or more and raised two children with his wife. And my thoughts are with them.

Maybe I'm not the only one. Maybe it seemed like Bill was a friend because he was like that with everyone. As I talk to more people and hear more accounts of his life, it appears he was one of those rare people that was able to like everyone. Never had a harsh word to say, even if one was deserved. But if this was true, then the world will miss Bill all the more.

Your crime-stopping days are over, Bill. There's no crime where you are now. I know you've got a busy schedule, what with films playing round-the-clock and people playing hockey all day, but make sure you take some time to relax. You deserve it.

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