Lion Allan Bilsland
A good, long life, well-lived. Allan Bilsland passed away peacefully of age-related complications at Burnaby General Hospital on January 14, 2012, a few months short of his 92nd birthday. Allan was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to many. He was raised in Vancouver with two brothers and one sister in a loving family where his mother died much too early. He leaves his beloved Rhoda, wife of over 65 years, two children: Anne of Vancouver and John (Yulia) of France, and granddaughters Lindsey and Jilleen. He was predeceased by his sister Kathleen and brother William and survived by his brother Jack in Edmonton. Numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews will mourn the loss of Uncle Al.
Allan served five years in the RCAF during WWII, including four years overseas in Europe and the Middle East. Discharged from the RCAF in 1946, he attended UBC and graduated with a BA in 1949. After attending UBC he spent a year studying history at the University of Toronto. He returned to Vancouver in 1950 and entered UBC Law School where he graduated in the class of 1954. Law was to become his profession but history remained his passion. His collection of hard cover biographies of British, American and Canadian military and political figures, along with a stellar number of hardbound books on European and North American history were his private treasures. Many will remember how a conversation with Allan could make history take flight accompanied, of course, with a few drinks and an excellent dinner prepared by Rhoda.
As a leisure pursuit, listening to opera was second only to reading history, and the works of Giuseppe Verdi were elevated above all other composers.
Allan's long career in law started in Kelowna with R.J. Moir and T. F. McWilliams in 1956 and the practice was expanded to include R.P. Tinker in 1961. Allan retired from active practice in 1991. Although he was a respected member of the Kelowna legal and business community, Allan and Rhoda, and their family remained proud residents on the other side of Okanagan Lake. They lived in Lakeview Heights and identified very strongly with the Westbank community.
Allan was a charter member of the Westbank Lions Club and retained an active affiliation until his passing. His involvement with Lions activities at both the club and district level spanned five decades, during which time Allan received numerous service and achievement awards from Lions International.
Allan was a member of the Masonic Order and a long-time member of the Prince Charles Lodge in Kelowna as well, where months before he passed away, he received his 50 year membership pin.
Acknowledged as a leader in the legal field, Allan was often called upon to mediate, adjudicate and conduct inquiries. One inquiry of note involved an investigation into administrative practices at Kelowna City Hall commissioned by the B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs. He often acted for the independent water districts in the Central Okanagan and retained a keen understanding of water rights and the arcane licensing requirements governing their activities. Allan's generosity never failed, and his willingness to help those in need was legendary. A celebration of Allan's life was held at the Lions Community Hall, Westbank, B.C., on Friday, January 27, 2012, at 2 p.m., Rev. Roger Cooper officiating.
"Let be be the finale of seem" - Wallace Stevens.