MAHER, William Joseph

August 8, 2016 - 9:37am Updated: August 2, 2017 - 3:30pm
Thursday, July 28, 2016

William Joseph Maher, b. Brooklyn NY, March 10,1927, d. Parksville BC, July 28, 2016. One of 5 siblings, he was particularly close to his brother Arthur and his wife Judy of New Jersey, and his youngest sister Lucy and her husband John Roe of Grottoes, Virginia.

Always a scholarly boy, he spent his days in the Brooklyn Museum studying the bird collection.

He qualified for the GI bill despite only six weeks in the Army in WWII, which funded his education in biology at Purdue and University of Michigan and PhD in zoology at University of California, Berkeley.

He studied birds all over the world, including the NWT, Alaska, and the Antarctic, where he made a film about penguins that remains in Berkeley's catalogue.

In 1963, he came to Canada as a Visiting Assistant Professor of biology at the University of Saskatchewan, where he remained until his retirement in 1994, when he was appointed Professor Emeritus.

While serving as chairman of the Faculty Association, he met Sharon Mitchell, Assistant to the Vice-President Academic at the university, and they married in 1988.

Bill became a family man courtesy of Sharon's grown daughters, Janet Mitchell, Roberta Coulter and Shannon Rayner, as well as a grandfather of 7 and great-grandfather of 4, attending many concerts and graduations, a role he had not imagined but loved.

Bill and Sharon attended the opera, symphonies, plays, and other events in Saskatoon for many years. Bill was a student of American politics--he knew the speeches of Lincoln, admired Kennedy and Obama, and abhorred Donald Trump.

He will continue to be missed by his wife as she remembers their extensive travels around the world.

A memorial will be held in Saskatoon in the fall.