For a man who has been a part of local politics for long decades and honed several hats in the Thompson Nicola region, Bill Kershaw can certainly hum Sinatra’s tune, ’ I did it my way,’ on his way out.
“It’s not always the best way but when you come up with a solution and then after it all comes to fruition, you find out what you did right, what you did wrong and you learn what not to do and what to do,” he says about his 80-year-old learning curve in life.
At the age of 15, when Kershaw wanted to quit school his father put two choices before him; either he buckle up and learn to go to school or be prepared to work real hard.
“I said well, I’ll learn to work hard and I worked hard all my life,” says the octogenarian.
The outgoing director of the Thompson Nicola Regional District board (TNRD), Kershaw stepped down from his position as vice-chair the previous year when Ashcroft’s mayor Barbara Roden took over.
Roden was also elected as the board’s chair earlier this month along with Robin Smith as the vice-chair.
“I think it’s phenomenal,” Kershaw said about TNRD making history by electing its first female chair and vice-chair at the same time. “We have two very capable people and we should be proud of that,” he said.
Leaving the local government after decades of serving in one capacity or another, Kershaw says he is going to miss the people. “You don’t miss the rhetoric or the bad sides of it, but you miss the people, you miss interacting with other people and finding out what’s going on…”
Kershaw moved to Barriere in 1968 and ran his business. He got involved with TNRD in the early 1990’s, when Barriere was still an incorporated area, to get funding for a new water system.
Since then there has been no turning back. Kershaw served as the Area O Director for two decades from 1996 to 2005. And then after a brief break resumed his role in 2011.
“It has been very rewarding because you always have to look at things from a point of view. Everyone has to change, but we try to change without losing what we have. And I think in the North Thompson Valley, we have been lucky that we got to maintain our pristine wilderness in the process,” he said.
Although Kershaw is stepping down from the local government he has no intention of stepping back from society and intends to volunteer and very much be a part of the community. He is currently serving as the president of the Barriere & Area Chamber of Commerce, is on the Community Futures team and volunteers with the North Thompson Fall Fair & Rodeo.
Kershaw and his wife will be celebrating their 59th anniversary shortly and are now great grandparents to half a dozen children.
Looking back, he says the family was fortunate to be blessed with a good life.
“We have a little farm, we have animals and I think that’s the dream life for myself and my family.”