Bill Warren had a pretty average childhood. He was born in Melita, the second of four children. He entered Grade 1 in Melita…and he was graduated from Grade 12 in Melita.
As a youth, he enjoyed his sports! He played hockey and enjoyed the golf course. At school, he competed in track and field. He played baseball and for a short time, football. Unfortunately his ‘football career’ was cut short! While in Grade 9, weighing in at just over 100 pounds, he was returning a punt and broke his collarbone…in a practice! Dad was right – he was just a little too small to be playing a rough game like football!
While in High School, he also spent time outside of sports, working in a grocery store and at a bake shop. The skills learned in the bake shop have stuck with him to this day – cookies and pies continue to be one of his specialties!
Once High School once done, he finally ventured away from Melita and headed off to the big city of Brandon to get his teaching certificate. By the time he had finished his formal education, he had earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters in Education degree – mostly at night school and summer school.
His first teaching ‘gig’ was in Napinka for one year…and then back to Melita for the next twenty. Bill then applied for an administration position with the School Division and was successful. For sixteen years, Bill served as the Student Services Administrator ensuring that students with various disabilities were well taken care of. Resource teachers, teaching assistants, therapists, clinicians… it was Bill’s responsibility to have people in place. He helped implement modern programs, even for pre-school children! Programs like Promise Years and Mother Goose.
Along the way, Bill and his first wife had two girls and a boy…and now he is the grandfather of eight grandchildren. That marriage came to an end in 2000 and for thirteen years, Bill was a bachelor.
Bill became acquainted with his wife, Betty Mayes, while she was a School Board member of 11 years. With his job, Bill attended the Board meetings. Bill also coached his son and Betty’s son on the same hockey team.
And then came 2011! Betty had retired and Bill began to see this mother of three and grandmother of seven in a different light! He worked up the nerve to ask her out to a movie and before too long, under the light of a blue moon (a second full moon in the same month), he worked up his nerve for a second time and proposed. To his delight and relief, she said “yes” and in July of 2013, they were married at the Peace Garden, while the song Blue Moon played, surrounded by friends and family. Bill moved to Betty’s home in Pierson.
Betty and Bill have much in common, including a love for their community. Here are just a few ways their interest in the community has been shown –
Betty chaired Pierson’s Carnival of Crafts for sixteen years; Bill was a founding member of the Prairie Vision Arts Council, promoting arts and crafts and dance programs to children and adults in the area. The Arts Council now owns and operates the Strand Theatre in Melita.
Betty has served as Chair for the Parent Council in Pierson; Bill sat on the Melita Town Council for two terms and is currently in his second term as Chair of the Pierson Local Urban District Committee.
Betty has been recognized by her local MP, Larry Maguire, and by Canada’s Governor General, who have awarded her certificates and commemorative medals for her outstanding community service!
Bill has been involved in Heritage Committees in both Pierson and the Turtle Mountain Souris Plains area. Locally, the Heritage Committee erected an interpretive sign at the Dandy Park and soon one will be seen at the Norman Breaky Park, in honour of the man who is considered to be the inventor of the paint roller! Bill has helped in the publication of Vantage Points, booklets that highlight points of local historical interest.
Betty chaired the committee that produced a Pierson history book and Bill chaired a committee that produced a Melita history book.
If you live around the Pierson area, you’ll find a trail designed for bird-watchers who are ever on the lookout for grassland birds. And a new trail, the Ralph Wang Trail, will be unveiled this spring – Bill has been involved in the development of both trails.
Betty and Bill are both retired from their careers, but Bill still ‘dabbles’ in the travel industry. If you’re looking to take a trip somewhere, Bill and his McPhail Travel Melita business just might be able to help you out.
Bill and Betty are far from idle in their ‘retired years’. Bill enjoys reading about Canadian history and heritage…what else would you expect? Betty enjoys quilting. Both enjoy travelling as well, following their fifteen grandchildren’s activities.
Common interests brought Bill and Betty together. And common interests are keeping it that way.