RETIRED solicitor and former Stratford-on-Avon District Council chairman and leader Bill McFarland has died at the age of 87.
William Adoue McFarland, BA LRTPI, was in his long career the senior partner of GPB Solicitors (then Geoffrey Parker Bourne) and he also served as a deputy district judge. After retirement he became a planning consultant. During those years he was also a town and, after the 1974 reorganisation, a district councillor.
He was chairman of the district council in 1986-7, though before and after that was leader of the council. He was made a governor of King Edward VI School (KES) and served on the governing body for more than 40 years.
Bill was born in Toronto in March 1925, the son of the Hon Mr Justice George Franklin and Pauline Adoue McFarland. He was educated at Upper Canada College, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and took his BA degree at Trinity College in the University of Toronto in 1948. In 1950 he returned to England, qualified as a solicitor in Oxford and then settled in Stratford in 1958 with GPB.
In 1966 he was joined by Patricia and her two sons and with Bill’s three children made a family of seven. Bill leaves his adored wife, sons Paul and Charles McFarland and daughter Cecil (Cawley) deceased, stepsons Timothy and James Gallagher and grandsons William and Tom. He died peacefully on 19th December at the Bentley Care Home.
There have been many tributes to Bill from his council and KES colleagues, one of whom said: “He was invaluable to the governors through his very extensive legal knowledge when the school was under extreme pressure over continuing as a selective grammar school. . .I should go so far as to say that without Bill’s experience and commitment KES would not be the school it is today. . .always a man with respect for learning, and a love of literature, especially the classics, Bill stood for values all too easily overlooked in this mechanistic age. Stratford will miss him.”
Among many interests Bill was a Rotarian, a past director and trustee of the Shakespeare Hospice, and a founding member of the Grasmere Village Society. The Garden House in Grasmere was a second home from 1976 to 1994, hence his membership in The Friends of the Lake District. Bill was a vice-president of Coventry City Football Club in the Jimmy Hill glory days. He was a Friend of the Malvern Festival Theatre and the Chichester Festival Theatre, and a member of the Prayer Book Society.
His association with his North American nieces and nephews centred on Rhode Island where his sister Katharine and her American husband settled after the war. His sister Frances provided his home-from-home in Toronto. She was the widow of Arnold Smith, the Canadian first Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and her children were very important to Bill.
Also very important to Bill was his church and before his mobility was reduced he attended the 8am service at St Andrew's Church, in Shottery, to hear the Eucharist from the Book of Common Prayer. In the 60s and 70s he was vice-chairman of the Holy Trinity Church restoration project and continued as a member. He was also a member of the congregation of St Oswald’s in Grasmere.
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