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Will Abram, Cowichan activist and government watchdog, dies at age 84

William (Bill) Abram was well-known in Cowichan for his commitment to social causes. - Parker Rawlinson
William (Bill) Abram was well-known in Cowichan for his commitment to social causes.
— image credit: Parker Rawlinson

Will Abram, Cowichan's long-time teacher, community activist, monetary revisionist, and government watchdog died quietly at home Thursday.

He was 84.

The forward thinker — who many may know as Bill Abram — was so organized, he penned a short autobiography in September, perhaps anticipating his passing.

"I remember him telling people important stuff, and they'd say, 'I don't want to know because ignorance is bliss,'" Sam Pyefinch said of his grandfather, co-founder of the Eye-Opener Film series-hosting Cowichan Citizens Coalition.

"He always said 'Do whatever you can, and contribute to make a difference.'"

Soft-spoken, Alberta-born Abram made a big impact on his community and country, said MP and friend Jean Crowder.

"Will was always prepared to continue working toward a better and more equal society," she said of the Duncan Scroll of Honour holder.

She cited the film series Abram premiered with his late wife, Celia, and discussions and awareness raised through those documentaries — and Abrams' efforts getting folks to understand monetary reform.

Motorcycle- and travel-lover Abram was furious with the feds for allowing bank control of Canada's money system. He joined the American Monetary Institute in 2005, then addressed its 2009 conference.

Abram and Celia — who helped hoist Mount Tzouhalem's white cross — launched the citizens coalition to protest closure of Youbou's sawmill.

"One of Will's legacies is how he galvanized people to action," noted Crowder who was also involved with "tenacious" Abram via Cowichan's Council of Canadians.

"He said 'You can't get people to act unless they're informed.'"

That attitude may have come form UBC education-grad Abram working with B.C. Corrections, counselling students at Quamichan middle and Chemainus high schools, and helping start B.C.'s alternate-school system in 1974.

He and Celia were also directors of a Mexican orphanage.

"It's easier to build boys and girls than to repair men and women," Abram said.

He retired in '87 to research and expose drug crime.

Son Harley bought Abram his first computer.

"He loved involving people to understand issues more deeply.

"His legacy is his involvement in local green groups, an interest in chem-trails — anything to do with good education, and supporting needs of our community.

"I hope I picked up all his good qualities," said Harley.

A celebration of Abram's life happens at Duncan United Church, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. film about the monetary system.

 

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