"Let Service Light the Way"


Bill Keenlyside is a native son of British Columbia, born in Vancouver. He was educated in Vancouver, graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1934, and subsequently pursued graduate work in New England where he obtained his M.A. degree in 1935 and his Ph.D. in History from Clark University in 1938.

After an initial experience in teaching, he entered the steel industry where he spent over thirty years, retiring in 1975 as President of Western Canada Steel.

Bill is married, and he and Georganne have three children; one girl and two boys. His hobbies include golf, curling, bridge and writing.


His service in the community has included: chairman of Board of CNIB 1975-78, President of Sunny Hill Hospital for Children, member of Board of United Way of Vancouver, chairman of Canadian Manufacturers Association of B.C., and as a member of the Senate of University of B.C. since 1975. He is Past President of Point Grey Golf and Country Club and is on the Board of Shaughnessy Heights United Church.


Bill joined the Vancouver Rotary Club in 1951, and served as its President in 1964-65. He has attended six international conventions, served as chairman of District 504 Group Exchange with Japan, District Treasurer in 1916-77, member of the Finance Committee in 1977-78, and chairman of the Extension Committee in 1980-81 when six clubs were chartered. He was District 504's representative to the Council on Legislation in 1980. The Harrison Agassiz Club was formed when he was Governor. His club made him a Paul Harris Fellow in 1976.

No one has made Rotary more a part of his life than Bill Keenlyside. His friendly manner, keen mind and ability to communicate in a meaningful way have added greatly to our enjoyment of Rotary.


His poetic history of Great Britain and Canada is yet unpublished, though he usually delights us at the conclusion of an address with a poem pertinent to the occasion, as:

The Wheel of Service
The wheel of service only turns
When fitted with a key,
And nowhere can this key be found
Except in you and me.

Then only will the wheel at work
Convert ideals to deeds,
Then only will a hungry man
Fulfil his vital needs.

This must be shared, for who can say
We ever will attain
Too many keys to operate
And brighten our domain?

In every age, as life proceeds,
The prophets of despair
Repeat the tune that things are not
As good as they once were,
All this in spite of evidence
Displayed to common view
That we enjoy amenities
Our fathers never knew.

There is, of course, a catch in this
Which history bids us heed:
No social order can survive
Unless it tempers greed!