By Tom Collins
KARS Tireless Ottawa Valley Farm Show volunteer and accomplished Eastern Ontario Guernsey breeder Ivor Wiliams died of cancer on Nov. 15. He was 83.
His daughter, Lori Stephenson, said he was a lover of life and laughter, which was one of the reasons Williams planned his own funeral. Williams hired a four-man band, and had an open bar and a hot dinner after his funeral service at the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre in North Gower, south of urban Ottawa.
“Looking around the room of near 500, there were smiles and thats exactly what he wanted,” said Stephenson. “He said numerous times, Ive had a good life, so lets just remember the good times.”
Williams was known as a generous guy. He was also a 4-H leader for 10 years, spent 30 years working with the Canada Central Exhibition in Ottawa, and 12 years with the Ottawa Winter Fair. He played euchre three nights a week and volunteered to drive people to doctors appointments.
Auctioneer John Joynt said Williams was a practical joker and smooth with the ladies. Joynt remembered one trip years ago when he was flying to British Columbia with Williams and his wife, Adelle. Williams chatted with a stewardess as he boarded. After they were seated the stewardess approached Williams and offered an empty seat in first class for the long flight. Williams graciously accepted, leaving his wife and the Joynts in economy.
But Williams wasnt done. He kept returning to the economy class, to ask if the others also had three choices of entrees and heated towels.
“He was one of those guys who liked to stir the pot to get a laugh,” said Stephenson. “He loved laughter.”
Williams was a strong man, said Stephenson. In a five-month stretch in the hospital late last year, Williams had a triple bypass, a re-wiring, two stents and a kidney removed. Stephenson said Williams was elated to get out of the hospital and home afterwards.
Before retiring from farming in 1990, Williams had a well-known Guernsey herd, and once owned the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair grand champion, one of the few Eastern Ontario farmers to ever have a grand champion at the Royal.
Williams raced cars at Lansdowne Park back in the 1950s and still holds its speed record.
“He was a fast driver and great party-er,” said former Ottawa Valley Farm Show president Jim Arbuckle. “He enjoyed life to the fullest, and he included everyone else so they could enjoy life too. Im going to miss picking up the phone and talking to him.”
Williams is survived by his daughter, Stephenson, and his three sons, Neil, Jim, and Greg.