From offering cinnamon rolls or cookies to customers to helping make someone's day better, Bill Bojeczko lived his life by caring for others. After his death, his family remembers Bill's generosity and kindness.
Bill Bojeczko passed away in his home on Oct. 13 at the age of 66. Born in Guelph, Bill lived in Ariss before the family would return to Guelph and has remained within the community. Co-owner of Wally Parr Sausage, Bill also worked for the Hamilton Carbon Products as the director of carbon trading.
Michael Bojeczko, one of Bill’s sons, said his father was a beacon within the community and would go out of his way to help someone.
“He was the epitome of a good neighbour, good dad, and a good businessman, everything good," said Michael. “We have some big shoes to fill."
Cathy Bojeczko, Bill’s wife, describes him as a "pretty happy-go-lucky person" who treated people equally.
“He treated everybody the same, whether you were the janitor or the owner of a huge corporation, he didn’t care,” said Cathy. “If the janitor had tipped over his bucket, Bill would be there to help clean it up, that’s just who he was.”
Cathy and Bill both grew up in Guelph and first met in the Grade 7 at King George Public School.
“He sat across from me," said Cathy.
The two went on to become friends in high school where Cathy said Bill "always watched her back." Drifting apart, Cathy and Bill would meet again after her first husband’s funeral. It was Bill’s sense of humour and ability to make anyone feel at ease which won Cathy over.
In July of 1991, Cathy and Bill became a couple, and in April 1993, they got married at St. George’s Anglican Church.
"We took a long journey to get together," said Cathy. “Out of that funeral came two new marriages.”
After getting married, Cathy said she, Bill and the kids became "one big crazy family." The couple would go on to have two children.
“Our house was lively most of the time,” said Cathy. “I had two children from a previous marriage and Bill just treated them like his own."
Chris Muller, Bill’s step-son, was 16 at the time his mother married Bill. While it was different for Chris and his sister, Vicki, to have someone else come into their life, Chris explains they went on to have a good relationship with Bill.
“He (Bill) was a father to me, even though he was a step-father,” said Chris. “Like a father-son relationship, he always had time."
Upon becoming a family, Chris said Bill "jumped in with both feet" to support his rep hockey team.
“It was funny, because he didn't know anything about hockey, he always took interest in what we were doing,” said Chris. "There are times when he would be sitting in the stands, yelling at the ref, and my mom would say, 'Shut up Bill, that's supposed to happen.'"
When Bill and Cathy became grandparents, she said Bill loved his grand kids, often telling them "love you more" when they said goodbye.
She also mentions there was an ongoing joke between Bill and his grand kids involving quarters.
“His big thing was always to give them a quarter every time we saw them, and I told him, ‘what’s a quarter going to buy them? You need to bump that up a bit!’” said Cathy, mentioning one of their granddaughters got a roll of quarters from Bill when she turned 16.
“The grandchildren put a quarter in his pocket in his jacket on the casket, it was cute.”
When it came to their relationship, Cathy commented that she and Bill were a great team. The duo went on to open Wally Parr Sausage in May of 2018. Being a co-owner, Cathy explains Bill was focused on the numbers and negotiations.
Bill was also an excellent business person who loved interacting with customers, said Cathy.
“He seemed to make people’s days, just by giving people a cinnamon roll, they just loved him. He could make you feel good even on a bad day.”
For the Bojeczko’s, the business was a family affair. During the holidays, Cathy explains she would send all of the staff home and the family will come together to operate the store on Christmas.
“We have lots of fun, sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it’s busy, we just have a lot of fun," said Cathy. "Everybody seems to be in a good mood, and if they’re not when they come in, they are when they leave.”
Both Cathy and Bill love Christmas, and she shares that Bill would dress up as Santa Claus and come to her company events when she worked at Guelph Hydro and when she started working at Halton Hydro. Bill went on to dress up as Santa for over 10 years, and Chris mentions he had fooled his grand kids in the process.
“He would mispronounce their names so they wouldn't know that he was Santa Claus," said Chris.
Cathy mentions Bill put "150 per cent" into everything he did, including being Santa.
“He would be sweating in the suit, but he wouldn’t care. He would get down on his knees and he would give the kids a hug.”
“He was one heck of a Santa Claus,” Michael adds. “For him it wasn't just being a Santa Claus, it had to be a spectacle."
"It would bring a tear to your eye because, how couldn't it? It was awesome."
Looking back on Bill’s life and generosity, Michael said he wishes his father had put himself first more.
“For him, going above and beyond was the only thing he knew, but after so many years, it just takes its toll on you," said Michael about his father always putting other people first. “That’s the one thing I wish he did more of, just enjoy and sit back, he was a man who never stopped."
For those who want to honour Bill’s life, Chris suggests doing one genuine act of kindness a day.
“If you can do one thing for one person everyday to make them feel better, then Bill did his job on earth,” he said.
“All his friends, anybody who knew him, if they ever wanted to pay tribute to Bill, that would be the one thing."