Died peacefully on October 10, 2018. The son of Beth (Shannon) and Frank Tossell, Bill was born in 1926 on a heritage farm in Glanbrook Township, Ont. He graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College before earning a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. Over a long career at the University of Guelph, he was Chair of Crop Science and the first Dean of Research. Bill was deeply involved in work to improve the food supply in developing countries, serving as Chair of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture headquartered in Cali, Colombia. He also held major posts at centres sponsored by the World Bank and the UN, where he led the establishment of Bioversity International, devoted to collecting and storing plant genetic resources in gene banks for future use by all humankind. In his own community Bill provided leadership for many years as a board member of the Guelph General Hospital.
Bill deeply loved and was loved by his family - his red-headed contralto wife of 62 years, Jean (Callander), who died in 2009; their children Kerry Vandergrift, David Tossell (Barbara) and John Tossell (Victor Dwyer); and their grandchildren, Theo, Christiaan (Kristen), Kyle (Julie), Cory (Jordanne), and Marijke (St. John O’Connor); and great- grandchildren, Will, Maggie, Eliza, Madeline and Thea, as well as many nieces and nephews. Bill was predeceased by his brother, Harold (Margorie) of Binbrook, and was a much-loved brother- in-law of Jean’s sisters, Marnie Sillers (Don), Bonnie McFarlane (Hugh) and Diana Woolley (Max). He was especially fond of his OAC ’47 friends and of his cottage neighbours in Port Elgin. A true citizen of the world, Bill was a champion of scientific values and liberal social ideals. He was also a fierce defender of those he loved, and was never happier than when he was with his family.
Friends may call at Gilchrist Chapel - McIntyre & Wilkie Funeral Home, 1 Delhi Street, Guelph on Friday, October 19, 2018 from 1 - 3 and 7 - 9 p.m. A memorial service will take place at First Baptist Church, 255 Woolwich St., Guelph on Saturday, October 20th at 11:00 a.m. Reception following service. If desired, memorial contributions to Foundation of Guelph General Hospital or Beginnings Family Services would be appreciated.