William Albert Gilkerson
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William Albert Gilkerson

July 25, 1936 - November 29, 2015

William Albert Gilkerson

July 25, 1936 - November 29, 2015


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Obituary for William Albert Gilkerson

William Gilkerson, artist, author and historian peacefully passed away with his family by his side on November 29th at 1 pm at SSRH in Bridgewater, NS.

His wife Kerstin, daughters Stephanie and Anna, son Jack, daughter-in law Karen, and grand children, Elly, Jackson, Signe and Hannah, survive him.

William Gilkerson was born on July 1936 in Chicago, Illinois to Ruth Henri of Scotland and was raised by Helen and Francis Gilkerson of Wisconsin. His adventures started him out in places such as Missouri, Tennessee, and St. Louis. At 16, he lived in Paris where he studied the great masters. At 17, he went on to serve in the US Marine Corps and was honorably discharged as a decorated expert rifleman. He then sailed around various parts of Northern Europe on his antique sailing sloop.

William then went on to San Francisco, California where he met his wife Kerstin. In 1971 they both met their Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Vajrayana master, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and have been students ever since. After California Bill moved his family to Marion, Massachusetts and lived there for close to a decade. In 1987 he and his family settled in Martins River, Nova Scotia where he happily lived until his passing.

Spanning over 65 years William has worked as an illustrator, columnist, writer, editor, musician, marine artist, and scrimshander. His final achievements include Pirates Passage a novel set in rural Nova Scotia, which won the Prestigious Governor General Award for best young fiction and was adapted by Donald Sutherland in to an animated full-length feature produced by CBC.

Gilkerson considered chess, firing cannons and hot air ballooning some of his most favorite past times.

His family, friends and fans alike will warmly miss him.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to

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    Lunenburg, NS
    B0J 2C0
  • 902-634-3942
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