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William Gregory Pearce

March 6, 1931

July 7, 2023

William Gregory Pearce, age 92, passed away peacefully on July 7, 2023 at the University of Alberta Hospital with his wife Jarka and daughter Cécile by his side. Born in Vancouver on March 6, 1931 to Margradele and Harry Pearce, Bill spent his formative years in North Vancouver with his younger brother Richard John Pearce. Growing up near the ship-building docks, Bill had a love for sports, especially basketball and Track & Field. He attended North Van High and graduated in 1949.

From a young age, Bill was adventurous and hardworking. He delivered newspapers and caddied at a local golf course during his teens. While in university, he spent his summers laying pipe in Vernon, sorting fish at the salmon canneries in Port Edward, and logging on Vancouver Island. In 1957, after graduating from UBC medical school, Bill sailed to the United Kingdom. There, he met his future wife, RN Lucie Dubourg, and they married in 1960. Bill pursued further studies in general surgery, psychiatry, and ophthalmology, obtaining his F.R.C.S. and diplomas in ophthalmology in London and Edinburgh. He then completed a residency at the Oxford Eye Hospital.

Returning to Canada in 1969, Bill served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Department of Ophthalmology. He later joined the Ophthalmology Department at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, working alongside his friend Henry. Bill held several roles at the UofA, including Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Charles Camsell Hospital. He was also the Director of the Pediatric Ophthalmology & Adult Strabismus Unit at the Walter McKenzie Centre. Bill’s work in ophthalmology and genetics led to the publication of more than 50 scientific papers and the establishment of a database for individuals with rare eye conditions.

While dedicated to his career, Bill made sure to create cherished memories with his family. He took them skiing, camping, and canoeing throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Bill also had a passion for paddling and explored many of Canada’s rivers with friends and family. After retiring, he focused on studying the Holocaust and established the Holocaust lecture series and the Rudolf Vrba Holocaust Reading Room at the University of Alberta. Bill’s love for skiing played a significant role in his life, and it was during a cross-country ski trail that he met his second wife Jarka in 1994.

William Gregory Pearce is survived by his brother Dick, wife Jarka, first wife Lucie, their children Douglas, Kenneth, and Cécile, grandsons Duncan and Owen, Jarka’s daughter Dagmar and her husband Chris, Jarka’s granddaughters Tina and Carmen/Jeff, his former daughter-in-law Sarah, and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins. A Celebration of Life will be held at the University Club at the UofA in Edmonton on Saturday, September 2, from 1PM to 5PM. Bill’s strong beliefs, passions, and contributions to the field of ophthalmology will forever be remembered and greatly missed.

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