Col William (Bill) Edward Grant, CD, RCCS (Retired)

11 Nov 20

After a life well-lived, Colonel (Ret’d) Bill Grant passed away peacefully at home by his wife’s side on Remembrance Day. A fitting timing for a Veteran who proudly devoted 41 years of service to his country. Bill was predeceased by his parents, sister, niece Joanne Hogarth and his first wife Suzanne. His memory will be forever cherished by his wife Ruth Matte and stepson Simon Matte. His dry humour, kindness, gentlemanly spirit and generosity will be missed by his nieces and nephews, Annabelle Hogarth and Grant Hogarth and their families. Bill was also instantly embraced by Ruth’s “Clark” family of  35+ brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews and all their friends as well. Bill’s special bond with Ruth’s brother Oliver, and his wife Sharon Clark, was one of his most important retirement friendships. They totally enriched each other’s life. Plus Oliver transformed Bill into the Perley Day Program’s billiards shark at age 83!

Bill was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and graduated from UBC with a degree in History. He had over 37 years commissioned service in the Canadian Armed Forces in tactical command control, communications and intelligence. Eighteen of these years were out-of-country: residing in six countries and representing/officially visiting an additional 20 countries on behalf of Canada. His career was highlighted by several notable assignments including serving as Second-in-Command 56 Canadian Signal Squadron, United Nations Emergency Force, Egypt, as well as a series of increasingly senior appointments: Commanding Officer, 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters & Signal Squadron, Soest and Lahr Germany. Chief, Policy and Requirements Branch, NATO HQ; Canadian Forces Attaché, Prague, Czechoslovakia (pre-democracy period) and Canadian Forces Attaché in Seoul, Korea.  During his five years in Seoul, he also served as Chief, Canadian Liaison Group to the United Nations Command and a Member of the Military Armistice Commission, Panmunjon. His final posting found him back in Ottawa as Director, Foreign Liaison for the Department of National Defence.

Bill then spent 5 years as the Director, Canadian Business Development for TRW Canada before being promoted to General Manager. In his business capacity he met Ernst & Young’s Senior Principal Consultant, Ruth Matte, and their 30-year journey began instantaneously. Ruth was thrilled to go along for the ride.

In lock-step with his military life, his retirement life with Ruth was non-stop, insatiable, full-throttle, laced with joy and an enthusiasm for travel and fine dining. He had a voracious appetite to read everything he could get his hands on, and embraced each day as an adventure in the making. Bill and Ruth travelled constantly. From working in an orphanage in the jungles of Guatemala to almost every cruise itinerary that Holland America offers; to Clippers-ship yachts in the Caribbean and a month in French Polynesia; to every Caribbean island (even one with only sand and 1 palm tree); and to Europe, Middle East, Asia, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Black Sea, Russia, Scandinavia, South America, many trips to Hawaii – the list goes on. Winters were often spent in Portugal or Florida. Bill wanted to enjoy and learn, to the fullest extent possible, from every second of his life. As everyone who knew him says “he was special”!  He was a soldier, a scholar, a true gentleman, kind and generous. An honourable man indeed.

Visitation will be private. Due to government-imposed restrictions related to COVID-19, attendance at the graveside service with military presence at the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Armed Forces is restricted to a limited number of individuals, personally invited by the family. You are most welcome to attend the service through a livestream broadcast on Friday, 27 November 20 at 1400-1445 hrs: GRAVESIDE SERVICE FOR COL (RET’D) WILLIAM (BILL) EDWARD GRANT.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the Military C&E Museum, your local Humane Society or a charity of your choice.