Rev. Dr. William Alcock Sturgess

08-Aug-1925 - 23-Feb-2023

Obituary Overview

In Loving Memory

Reverend Doctor William Alcock Sturgess
1925 – 2023

It is with celebration of a life well-lived that we announce the peaceful passing of William Sturgess (formerly of Toronto) at 97 years of age after a brief hospitalization. He was the beloved husband of Mary (Simmonds) Sturgess who preceded him in death in 2020. As loving father of Carol (Paul) Seiler of Seattle, Gwen (Peter) Cullen of Kanata and Barbara (Richard) Bergstrom of Edmonton, he remained in touch with technology, enjoying his digital books, current events, and Facetime contacts. Carol and Barbara were able to be with him just two weeks before he died, and Gwen and Peter were present in the last hours, having been key care partners for William and Mary during the past 13 years.

William (Bill) was one of the last living Canadian Veterans of WW2. On his 90th birthday he visited the beaches of Normandy with Barbara. He remembered vividly his training and it was just a week prior to deployment when the war ended. When visiting the National War Museum he often fascinated children and adults with his memories, proudly wearing his service medal.

In 1952 Bill, Mary and infant Carol sailed south to start 4 years as Canadian Baptist Missionaries in Bolivia, where Gwen was born. On returning to Canada in 1957, he continued as minister of Spring Garden and Agincourt Baptist churches (Toronto), Broadway First Baptist (Winnipeg), and retired as Minister of Pastoral Care at Yorkminster Park Baptist (Toronto) at age 72. He received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from McMaster University, building on MA and MTh degrees. His undergraduate work was at University of Toronto. His faith was strong, and he was not afraid to talk of mortality for himself as he had done with so many in his pastoral years. He was a member of Ottawa First Baptist and retained on-line contact after COVID impacted in-person involvement.

He was proud of his 6 grandchildren Sean (Edmonton), Trevor (Kanata), Stephanie (Pasadena), Naomi (Seattle), Ryan (Vancouver) and Hilary (Edmonton), and 14 great grandchildren ranging in age from 6 to 17. Grandson Ryan (Vancouver) was especially instrumental from an early age as he coached William with technology skills.
William out-lived younger siblings John (Sturgess), Isobel (Anderson) and Roy (Sturgess), continuing contact with nieces and nephews across Canada and the UK. He pursued his interest in ancestry and found relatives from Scotland to New Zealand, keeping regular email contact in later years. He also loved and enjoyed the extended Simmonds family (of wife Mary) during the decades living in Toronto.

William loved the outdoors, including cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and canoeing. For more than 30 years he curled weekly until just over 90, when he changed to lawn/carpet bowling. An avid reader, his mind stayed sharp with opinions on politics, religion, social concerns, and his family. He was part of the Friends of the Library for U of T before moving to Ottawa for help with caregiving for Mary. He still carried on conversations in Spanish, and slightly less fluently in French and German. In his late 80’s and early 90’s he volunteered at the Kanata Community Theatre ushering and later as prompter during rehearsals. While battling cancers and treatments, his spirits stayed strong. He retained a three-wheel bike into his early 90’s, and in the last 18 months moved to a retirement community for assistance with meals. The family is grateful for the staff and residents at Hazeldean Gardens who became his social community until his hospitalization in early February.

A visitation will be held at Kelly Funeral Home, 580 Eagleson Rd, Kanata, on Sunday, March 19th from 1 pm until 4:30 pm. At approximately 4 p.m., a brief devotional and prayer time will be led by the Pastor of First Baptist Church Ottawa, William's home church.

A funeral service will be held at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St, Toronto, on Friday, May 12th at 11:00 a.m.  A light lunch, visitation and family interment will follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the following Charities would be gratefully accepted: Canadian Baptist Ministries; The Canadian Cancer Society; The Dementia Society of Ottawa & Renfrew County [in honour of his wife] or The Kanata Little Theatre.

Funeral Details

  • Memorial Visitation

    Kelly Funeral Home - Kanata Chapel

    Event Times:

    19-Mar-2023 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM

  • Funeral Service

    Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

    Event Times:

    12-May-2023 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

More Details & Directions

Condolences from family and friends

Posted by Deb Lake | 12-Mar-2023

I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. I have such fond memories growing up in the Agincourt Baptist Church family. Carol, Gwen & Barb my condolences to you and your families. Deb (Hetherington)

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Posted by Heather Morgan Anderson | 04-Mar-2023

I have many fond memories of your father and Spring Garden Baptist. Carol, Gwen and I attended Sunday School together there in the 60’s. I have been living in Kanata for 37 years. I wish I had known that your parents were in Kanata. I would have liked to host them in my garden to tell them how much my time with them at Spring Garden meant to me and to my family. It tickles me to think that I might have met up with your father at Kanata Little Theatre. Your father touched the lives of many and his legacy will live on in everyone of us. Take care. Heather Morgan Anderson (I regret that I will not be able to attend the service for Rev. Sturgess as I am visiting my son on the west coast. )

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