Cover photo for Dr. William (Bill) George Whittaker's Obituary
Dr. William (Bill) George Whittaker Profile Photo

Dr. William (Bill) George Whittaker

January 30, 1926 — May 13, 2024


Dr. William (Bill) George Whittaker


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On the morning of 13 May 2024, Dr. Bill (as he was affectionately known to many) passed away peacefully and entirely on his own schedule in Midland, Ontario.

He was born on 30 January 1926 in Vancouver to John and Elsie May (Babcock). As the eldest of four children, he spent his formative years in Barnett and Youbou, where his father worked in the lumber industry and his intrepid mother held down the fort — or, at times, an actual float house.

After an assortment of extracurricular jobs (pumping gas, "spark catcher", green chain operator, road-surveyor, to name but a few), Bill began pre-med studies at the University of British Columbia. During the Second World War, he served as an Army Cadet in the UBC detachment of the Canadian Officers Training Corps, eventually earning the rank of Sergeant in charge of the Medical Inspection Room.

Bill continued laying the groundwork of his education at the University of Toronto's Medical School during the late 1940s, along with the formation of several life-long friendships. And it was during this time that Bill met Mary Joan Hutchison, a Wellesley Hospital graduate nurse, who agreed to become his wife with the full knowledge that her intended still had a way to go with his dinner table carving expertise. This is well documented in his memoir that he wrote for Family and friends in 2019 titled “A “Prescription For a Very Full Life”.

Following their marriage in 1951, the newlyweds travelled to northern British Columbia where Dr. Bill practiced in Smithers and Wells and Mary Joan welcomed the first of their three children. However, opportunity beckoned from Ontario and their lives migrated to Toronto and Peterborough. After completing his residency at the Peterborough General Hospital in 1958, the Whittaker family (now numbering five) eventually settled in Brampton in 1962 where Bill, as a member of the Peel Memorial Medical Staff, was the first Obstetrician/Gynecologist in the area.

As a Fellow of both The Royal College of Surgeons (Canada) and The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists he was granted privileges as a member of the PMH medical staff serving as Department Chief for several terms and then Chief of Staff. After bringing close to 1500 babies into the world, Bill closed his obstetrical practice in 1991 but continued as a member of the medical staff assisting in the operating room on a part-time basis until 2006 when he fully retired.

Living first in the “new” section of Brampton on Elizabeth Street in 1962, Bill along with his friend Jack Hassard purchased and subdivided 18 acres property adjacent to Heart Lake Conservation Area, in the late 1960’s renaming the 15th sideroad to Conservation Drive, as is known today. This is where Bill and Mary Joan build their dream home in 1971-72, where they entertained often and held the occasional Grey Cup party for their close friends.

Bill was a dedicated golfer, bridge aficionado, tennis and (then later) badminton player, skier, sailor, canoeist, weekend handyman, and Sunday morning short order cook. He loved his cigars, ice cream, and causing Mary Joan unceasing irritation whenever he would dare to doze off during post-dinner evenings at their Georgian Bay cottage, which they built in 1981 on property Mary Joan’s parents had owned since the 1923.

Family lore has it that Dr. Bill's record of taking home the grand prize at the Little Sandy Bay Invitational Annual Croquet is marginally better than the Toronto Maple Leafs' but this is still being fact-checked. What does not require checking, though, is that Bill's abiding love for his family and wide circle of friends and colleagues (Probus and weekly Wednesday lunch dates with "The Boys") was consistent with how he was viewed as a respected and trusted physician: steadiness of hand, balanced judgement, and unwavering faith. Bill was an active member of Christ Church Brampton where he served as Rector’s Warden for 2 terms.

Bill is predeceased by his wife, Mary Joan — his North Star for sixty-four years — his parents, and brothers Henry John and David Neil Eaton. Their absence was tempered by the resilient love of sons William Leonard (Toni), Jonathan David (Shelley), daughter Martha Marguerite, sister Patricia May, grandchildren Michael (Claire), Jonathan (Amy), Katie, Taylor Hanson, Jonathan (Veronique), Erica (Clark), and great grandchildren Johanna, Evelyn, Lincoln, Elliott, Silas, Carter, Ronin, and Jack.

The Whittaker family also wishes to express their deepest thanks to Hillcrest Village Care Centre in Midland — the tender and compassionate support of Dr. Bill's personal care team will always be remembered and appreciated.

The morning of 13 May 2024 also brought the unexpected appearance of a red cardinal during Martha's morning walk near her home in Brampton.

"Cardinals appear when Angels are near."

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill's memory can be made to Christ Church Anglican in Brampton.
Click here to donate

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, May 18, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Christ Church Anglican - Brampton

4 Elizabeth Street North, Brampton, ON L6X 1S2

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