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Born: Apr 13, 1949

Date of Passing: Apr 13, 2022

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April 13, 1949 – April 13, 2022

Bill passed away at home after a courageous battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife Sharon; daughter Devon; brother Jim Riches; sister Patti Simmons; brother-in-law John Motyer (Anita) and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Bob and Elaine Riches and his in-laws, Jack and Aline Motyer.
Bill met the love of his life at Nelson McIntyre as high school sweethearts. They married in 1972 and would have celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary May 20th. They attended the University of Manitoba together where Bill's love of education took root. Together they had many adventures - travelling east and west to visit family, building a cabin by hand and creating their home on Kara Cove. After a year at Sansom Junior High, he spent several years at Spring Valley Junior High teaching almost every subject. Both staff and students were sorry to see him leave.
After some time in business, Bill became President of Herzing College in 1987 and returned to education. He could be best described as a man of integrity, generosity and caring. Not satisfied behind a desk, Bill spent much of his time in the halls and classrooms often preceded by his whistle. Bill showed an honest interest in the lives of both staff and students. Bill was presented with many awards at company meetings for his successful operations of the Winnipeg Campus. One of his highest honours was the surprise awarding of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his dedicated service to his peers, community and Canada. Bill held several board positions both provincially and nationally. In October 2021 Hank Herzing and Canadian staff awarded Bill a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill's greatest love was family. Bill could not wait to show off his beautiful new daughter Devon Alayne. At three weeks old, they set off in a van loaned by Dave and Corrine to visit family and friends in Saskatchewan, Calgary, the Okanagan, Vancouver and Victoria. No flying for Bill. He adored his daughter Devon and spent many wonderful times "making memories" during yearly trips to Florida and later in B.O.B. (Bill's Old Bus) a 35 foot diesel pusher motorhome, which we bought from dear friends Wes and Joy Henry. Bill loved to drive, whether it was weekends to horse shows or road trips to Victoria, to Texas for dinner and wherever the road took them. He always said it was "The Journey not the Destination". B.O.B. also hosted golf outings with the eightsome of friends.
Bill was an extremely positive man. He appreciated the many dedicated staff at CancerCare Buhler Centre for five years of treatments and compassion. His last few months were not easy, but the excellent Palliative Care team (Dayna and Johannis) and the aides from Home Care Assistance (Tigest, Ligaya, Nancy) helped make his final days filled with gentle kindness.
Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Bill's life will be held Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at Niakwa Country Club, 620 Niakwa Road.
In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations in memory of Bill may be made to CancerCare Manitoba.

E.J. Coutu & Co. Funeral Directors

Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 23, 2022

Condolences & Memories (14 entries)

  • I have so many amazing memories of Bill. I met him while I was working at Metro News and we became instant friends. He helped me through many things with his positive attitude and always ended our conversation with “Make Memories”! I’m sad to hear the news of his passing and my condolences go out to his family. - Posted by: Shelly Menard (Friend ) on: May 30, 2022

  • I remember Bill as a wonderful man. He always looked for positive ways to relate to and help people. He loved his family, and had a creative, practical approach to eduction. Without question, Bill Riches made the world a better place for many. With gratitude. - Posted by: Rob Duncan (Friend ) on: May 06, 2022

  • Our condolences to Sharon, Devon and the family. We have known Bill and Sharon for 5 years since we moved next door. Despite Bill's ongoing battle with cancer, he was always very welcoming and made us feel at home. We enjoyed our visits around the pool which also involved playing with Kiba, a beautiful dog that adored Bill. We will miss Bill. Kara Cove will not be the same without him. - Posted by: Don and Sue Monkman (Friends and neighbours) on: May 04, 2022

  • Zig Zigar, one of my favorite motivational speakers said... "You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want" That was Bill. In my 10 years with Herzing in Ottawa and then in Orlando, Florida, he ALWAYS had a kind word and an offer of support. Finally, in his last months as we spoke, he was ALWAYS positive, encouraging, grateful and full of faith. Like so many others, I will miss him...but am sure he has heard already... "Well done good and faithful servant." - Posted by: Randy Atwater (Long time friend and Herzing Compatriot) on: Apr 28, 2022

  • News of Bill’s passing pulled me back to the mid 1960’s when he and I were classmates for several grades of high school. For whatever reason we didn’t “hang out” in the same group after school but my memory of him is one a friendly, supportive and humorous guy. We never kept in touch after school ended but on a trip back to Canada in the mid 90’s, I had occasion to call him. I don’t recall the circumstances. What I do recall is that he was the same old Bill I remembered from high school, once again friendly, supportive and humorous. Reading through the comments that people made in describing his character and their connection to him makes me regret that I missed having his friendship. The man definitely made his mark. My condolences to Sharon and Devon. - Posted by: K. Lowry (Classmate from the 60's. ) on: Apr 28, 2022

  • Bill was a class A guy. Such a positive attitude as was shown even when he was fighting a terrible enemy. One to always make memories is something I will remember. Had the great pleasure of knowing him and working with him. Always one to take time and converse with anyone needing him. A wonderful family man who cherished his daughter Devon and his life partner Sharon. He will forever be in our hearts. May he now rest in peace. - Posted by: Crystal Henry (Friend) on: Apr 24, 2022

  • We have known Bill for many years. He was a true, honest, trustworthy, moral, ethical person we have ever known. He had the most uplifting personality and a positive believer. If anyone wanted or needed a true friend, you could turn to Bill. Our deepest condolences go out to Sharon, Devon, and family. Bill will surely be missed by so many, it was a blessing that were able to have Bill in our lives and be his friend. - Posted by: Wes and Joy Henry (Friend) on: Apr 24, 2022

  • Sharon, my heartfelt condolences to you & your family on the loss of Bill. I will always remember Bill’s smile. - Posted by: Christine Ward (Friend) on: Apr 24, 2022

  • Throughout the decades we’ve known Bill, he has been the personification of class. Intelligent, thoughtful, great sense of humour, he had it all. He fought hard to the end, and his ever cheerful voice on the telephone spoke of his character. Linda and Lana join us in sending heartfelt sympathies to you Sharon and Devon. - Posted by: Jeff Shypit, Diane Robson (Friends ) on: Apr 23, 2022

  • You were the best. Glad to have known you. Always a kind word for everyone. - Posted by: Chris Murash (Co worker) on: Apr 23, 2022

  • We were all on the Spring Valley JR high school chat room. With many saying the fond memories and great teacher Mr Riches was. Our deepest condolences to his wife and family. He was a man with many blessings and who blessed many whom had the pleasure to be in his presence and class. #Amen - Posted by: Bonnie Dalman a/k Durocher (One of many students @ Spring Valley ) on: Apr 23, 2022

  • Nikki and I have expressed our condolences earlier. We would like everyone who knew Bill better than we did, that in the years we knew Bill and Sharon through our membership at Niakwa and Friday Couples Night we came to love both of them. Bill's nature was generous and welcoming to Nikki and me and his understated conversation rarely began with I or me. His intelligence was obvious. It took several rounds to find out he was the president of Herzing College, but not so long to find out Devon was a rodeo fan and accomplished rider. Sharon, we will be there on the 7th. Harvey & Nikki - Posted by: Harvey Levy (Friend and fellow Niakwan ) on: Apr 23, 2022

  • Bill was such an interesting and kind person. The way he really spoke to people and was genuine was very rare. One of kind! It was my absolute honour to have crossed paths with both Bill and Sharon. - Posted by: Dayna ( Nurse) on: Apr 23, 2022

  • Our condolences to Sharon and Devon and their family. Bill was a wonderful man who was never seen without a smile on his face and who always met our young boys with kindness. He will be missed. May his memory be eternal. - Posted by: Jim and Jennifer Lukashenko (Friends and neighbours ) on: Apr 23, 2022

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