Bill Hampson was a regular at Vancouver’s jazz clubs until well into his 80s. He was a smooth-talking, slick-dancing man known for his unbridled confidence, and he would ask anyone to dance.

“All the ladies loved him,” says his son Bruce Hampson. “He was a flirt; he complimented everybody.”

Bill was a man who knew what he wanted and went for it. He was a world traveller, serial entrepreneur and author. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he lived in Zimbabwe and Zambia before seeing a postcard of a Mountie in 1955 and moving with his wife and newborn son to Canada.

Died on March 22, 2020
Vancouver, BC

Age 93

He lived all across the country before he settled in Vancouver in the ‘70s and opened a locksmith shop at Main and 16th Avenue. A deeply religious man, Bill answered to no one but God and dedicated his time to leading by example.

“My father didn’t believe going to church or synagogue made you a Christian or a Jew any more than going to a garage made you an automobile or a mechanic,” Bruce says. “He tried with all his strength to love mankind, and to be kind, understanding, and compassionate.”

He also heeded the call of adventure when it came. Bruce remembers his father visiting him while living Bruce in France for several months, and the pair bonding over the indulgent French lifestyle and cuisine.

Before he died, Bill pushed his son to finish writing his book, which Bruce did shortly after. Bruce dedicated it to his dad.

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.

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