Bill Spavor and his wife Monica during their wedding on Aug. 3

Prominent member of Nakusp’s Slovaki community remembered

Local man Bill Spavor is remembered by family after his death on March 2.

With the death of longtime resident Bill Spavor on March 2, the number of first generation Slovakis in Nakusp has dwindled.

Spavor originally came to Canada from Kriva, Slovakia in 1948, and made his way to Nakusp in 1950.

While he wasn’t involved with traditional organizations in the English community, such as the Rotary, or the Chamber ofCommerce, he was very involved with the local Catholic church and the Slovaki community.

“When you’re immigrating to a country, you stick with the people that you know.” said Nancy Banks, one of Spavor’sdaughters.

It didn’t help that he didn’t know much English when he came to Canada, something he decided to change.

“He had to learn because he had to provide, and he took English as a second language courses when he landed in Midway.”said Banks.

Because he knew English, when he made his way to Nakusp, he would help the Slovakians in the area who didn’t speak the language as well, and would come with them as a language interpreter if they needed something done.

“Dad really helped a lot of these elderly people establish bank accounts, do legal work, understand things,” said Banks. “I remember he also helped write letters to Slovakia for them, for the family they had left.”

It wasn’t just language Spavor helped people with. He was always ready to lend a hand if there was any building, plumbing, even potato picking to be done.

Spavor married Monica Zak in 1953, and built their family home almost completely on his own.

He worked hard to provide for his family, which meant he was hardly at home, something he always regretted.

“He always apologized to us for that,” said Julius Spavor, one of Bill’s three sons.

Spavor said his dad wanted to send all his children to a post secondary school, something he himself had never achieved.

Banks said they were never allowed to shirk their duties.

“He brought us up to have high expectations of ourselves to do the very best that we can in everything, and I think that’s whatwe all do, and that’s what he made us to be.”

A hard worker for most of his life, Spavor slowed down a bit in the early 70s after suffering a heart attack at the age of 44, and going through a double-bypass surgery. He took up fishing and hunting, along with breeding chinchillas from 1969-1972, and rabbits from 1978-1982.

Though he didn’t have much time to spend with his family, one thing he made sure to do was take part in making homemade sauerkraut, an event that brought out many smiles and much laughter.

“We would sing Slovak songs, and we would have fun,” said Banks. “It was a big family thing when we did sauerkraut with momand dad all of us.”

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