It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bill Zarikoff at the age of 68. Bill was born in Blewett on January 22, 1946 to parents John and Lucy Zarikoff (nee Relkoff). Bill was the youngest child and has one older brother, John, and one older sister, Molly. His father (John) worked in the forest industry as a trimmer-man and provided a modest home for his family. Bill grew up on the family farm in Blewett and went to school in Nelson, where he developed his talent for electronics. As a teenager, he had already started his own company servicing and repairing televisions. After graduating from L.V. Rogers in Nelson, he went on to a degree in electronics at the new Selkirk College campus in Castlegar. It wasn’t long until his talent was noticed outside of the Kootenay’s, and Bill spent 2 years in 1972 to 1974 in Vancouver being courted by IBM and then by Coast Appliances. The lure of the big city could not keep him away from home though, and in 1974 he began an apprenticeship with Cominco.
In 1975, Bill married Betty Maloff and happily jumped into family life raising four children, Peter, Michale, Dina and Brad. It was a quick transition from bachelorhood, but Bill selflessly and lovingly swapped his Dodge Charger for a Station Wagon. The family lived in Robson until 1980 when they moved into a new house in Lower Ootischenia, which had ample space for vegetable gardening and his prized orchard of apples, peaches and pears. Bill took on the role of architect and prime contractor and built the house with the help of his father and one carpenter. He made sure there was plenty of space for his new family. Throughout, he always endeavored to include his kids in all his activities, whether it was the spring grass burning, summer gardening, or the fall wood collecting.
Bill worked as an electrician at Cominco for 27 years until 2002. He worked on all the new projects in his time there, including the zinc electrolytic and melting plant and a new lead smelter. He was always happy to point out the spots of the project on which he had a hand in and was excited to introduce his family to his co-workers during the yearly open-houses.
Throughout all of this, Bill maintained a strong commitment to volunteerism in his community. He served with the Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society and was elected as a Life Member in recognition, with the Doukhobor Benevolent Society as Administrator of Rosewood Manor for 25 years, and with the Doukhobor Cultural Association. He belonged to Eckankar, the religion of light and sound, where he was the local area treasurer. It was hard not to go on an errand with dad where someone did not recognize him to chat about some detail he was helping them with.
After retirement, Bill spent time with finishing touches on the house. He endeavored to make his garden an Eden for vegetables of all kinds, but make it less of an Eden for the local deer population. He continued his involvement with community organizations and expanded his horizons with trips to visit family all over the world.
In 2009, Bill suffered a sudden heart attack. Although it slowed him down, it did not stop him for long as he continued to volunteer and work. In 2010 Bill and Betty moved to the Grandview Co-operative to downsize and reduce time spent on upkeep. This gave them more time to visit with family.
He was predeceased by his father John in 1981, his mother Lucy in 1999, and his sister Molly in 2011.
Bill is survived by his wife Betty, brother John Zarikoff (wife Helen), son Peter Maloff (daughter-in-law Andrea), Michale Hartte (son-in-law Rheece), Dina Angas-Johnson (son-in-law Ben), Brad Zarikoff (daughter-in-law Emillie) and nine grandchildren.
A funeral service was held at the Brilliant Cultural Centre on Saturday, November 22, 2014.
The family would like to send a sincere thank you to the paramedics and all those who were in attendance, Bill Strilaeff from the Castlegar Funeral Chapel, to all those who called on the family and provided condolences and the gift of food, and thank you to Sid Malakoff and Donna Lynne Lesley who officiated the service, the singers, the cooks and those who attended the service.