H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

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William Merritt William Merritt William Merritt William Merritt

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William Frederick Merritt

June 4, 1924 - April 1, 2019


William (Bill) Merritt was born in Beamsville, Ont. On June 4, 1924.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Janet, and by his niece Ann Merritt (Pat Schmidt) and his nephew, Fred Merritt of Toronto, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Louis and Judith Adam of Crofton, and niece Dr. Janet Adam (Scott MacAusland) of Victoria, and nephew Michael Adam (Lindsey Norris) of Kamloops.  He was predeceased by his brother Allen Merritt of Toronto.

Following his graduation from Beamsville High School, Bill attended McMaster University where he graduated with Honours in Chemistry and Physics in 1946.

He was a career research scientist working for Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories – a section of the National Research Council (NRC) and subsequently the major research centre for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).

He developed a method for the production of Borane for use in neutron counters using his skills as both a scientist and a glass blower.

In the Nuclear Physics Branch he worked on standards of measurement for quantities of radionuclides, for example Cobalt 60 and Iodine 131.   At that time Canada was a leader in the production and use of Cobalt 60 for cancer treatment and Iodine 131 for thyroid function.

In 1956 he joined the Environmental Research Branch where he worked on detecting and measuring trace quantities of radionuclides in our environment (soil, streams and rivers).  This led to research in the field of Hydrology with the University of Waterloo.

Throughout his career, Bill was the author of more than 80 scientific publications.

Serving on many international committees, (ISO) International Standards Organization, (IAEA) International Atomic Energy Agency, brought an invitation from the US National Academy of Sciences to visit Eniwetok to advise on the cleanup of that Pacific Island where the US had tested their H-bomb.  This was not only an honour but was among the more interesting and satisfying events of his career.

In 1982, Bill retired from AECL and moved to Vancouver Island, where he next served as Emergency Coordinator for Duncan and North Cowichan, writing their first Emergency Program.  He retired in 1989.

Throughout his life, Bill enjoyed sailing, skiing, tennis, cruising the west coast on his boat (Wombat) and snorkeling and diving in the Caribbean. Bill  was a certified scuba diving instructor.  In Duncan he was a member of the Maple Bay Yacht Club and the Probus Club and enjoyed many years of good friendship playing bridge in his later years.

Bill was a scientist in search of the “truth”.  He often emphasized, to his staff, the difference between “precision” and “accuracy”.  Precision defines the reproducibility of a measurement or process.  Accuracy states its closeness to the “truth”.  Bill sought accuracy!

One of those “truths” – Bill loved to say “The older I get , the greater I was.”

Yes Bill, – you were great!

We wish to thank Dr. Gilbert and the nursing staff on 2 south at the Cowichan District Hospital for their kindness and care through the last several weeks of Bill’s life.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the CNIB or to the Cowichan Hospice Society’s new palliative care unit would be appreciated.

Memorial gathering to be decided at a later date.


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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Ian & Erna Murray
Relation: Bridge friend

Janet: Very sorry to hear about Bill

From: David Edwards
Relation: My cousin.

Our condolences to you Janet from Deb and I.I personally have some fond memories of times at the big house.

From: Doug Killey
Relation: Colleague

Dear Janet: We’re very sorry to hear of Bill’s death. He was a key person at AECL in working with a series of hydrogeologists and geochemists on studies of contaminant movement in groundwater and surface water flow systems, developing tracer techniques and sample analysis methods to determine transport properties. Bill started this work in the early 1960s, when the field of contaminant hydrogeology was in its infancy and continued contributing to its development over the rest of his career at Chalk River. Marg and I very much appreciated your friendship and hospitality in Deep River, and we both have vivid memories of the peaches that you and Bill brought back for us from the Niagara peninsula – they were the best!

From: Alberto Berriel
Relation: Friends

From your second family in Puerto Vallarta our sympathies for you and your family, we will always remember him !!

From: Bill Slater
Relation: Knew Janet through work,

Bill and I send our condolences in your loss of Bill, Janet. We learned of his passing from Bill’s cousin Doug Fox, who was out in Duncan to see Don and Jane Fox as Doug’s brother Don was ill, and subsequently passed away. We remember visiting them a number of years ago and you, Janet, by coincidence, called that day. Thoughts are with you, Sincerely, Bill and Jacquie

From: Daniel and Eduardo at Club Regina
Relation: Second family in Puerto Vallarta

Sorry for writing this late but we are in shock, our condolences to you and your family on the passing of your husband. May our friendship and prayers ease you through this difficult time, please receive a big hug from the bottom of our hearts.

From: Susan (Edwards) Cloutier
Relation: Cousin

Dear Janet, very sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. May you and yours find comfort and peace in the coming days.

From: Cowichan Hospice

Hi Janet. Cowichan Hospice wishes to send our sincere condolences to you and your family. William sounds like an incredible individual, those who knew him are so very blessed! Thank you also for choosing to support hospice care in Cowichan through your memorial donation request. We would love to send you acknowledgement cards upon receiving donations in William’s memory. If you could email us your mailing address, I will ensure this is done promptly. Thank you so much!
Zoe at Cowichan Hospice

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

Memorial Gifts

In lieu of flowers, donations to the CNIB or to the Cowichan Hospice Society’s new palliative care unit would be appreciated.

Thank You Notice

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