Lifelong Builder in
Recreation & Sport
President and Chairman of many Sports-Related
Organizations and Committees
Coach, Organizer, Promoter & Fundraiser
Milnthorp has been dedicated to recreation and sport in the Wetaskiwin
area for most of the 52 years that he has lived in Wetaskiwin. He has
served on many recreation committees, organized many fund raising
ventures, initiated some sporting activities, was Chairman or President
of numerous sports-related organizations, coached teams in various
sports and at many levels and through his varied and extensive
involvement has made significant contributions to the citizens of our
community. His life-long volunteer commitment is more than worthy of
Bill’s involvement began in 1961 when he
first began teaching at Queen Elizabeth School. Along with another
teacher they supervised and ran a Junior High football program on
Saturday mornings. Due to the lack of funds, insurance and equipment
the program was disbanded. In 1962 Wetaskiwin opened a new arena and
thus the Wetaskiwin Minor Hockey Association was reborn. Bill was
co-chairman for five years and he personally recruited twenty-three
sponsors and acquired sweaters for teams from Tiny Mite to Juvenile
level and continued to do so in the following years. During eight years
of the same time span Bill gave unselfishly of his time as a hockey
coach. In addition to minor hockey Bill, with the help of a number of
mothers, introduced curling to students at Queen Elizabeth Junior High
School. This program ran for a number of years and was still in
existence as late as 1975.
52 Years Dedicated to Recreation and Sport
During the summer, Bill found himself
involved with fastball and served on the executive of the Wetaskiwin
Minor Fastball Association for five years. He coached both boy’s and
girl’s fastball and umpired for two years. Bill and his wife personally
started Girl’s T-ball and found the sponsors to provide the uniforms.
Beginning in 1967 Bill served on the
Wetaskiwin Recreation Board for five years and was chairman for three of
those years. During this time he hired the first professionally trained
Recreation Director for the city. This was not without a challenge for
the City Council at that time. With this appointment the coordination
and use of the facilities was enhanced greatly. Also, during this same
period, Bill chaired what was known as the W.A.R.R. Board, a joint use
agreement between the City of Wetaskiwin, the County of Wetaskiwin, the
Public, Separate and County school systems. The responsibility of the
Board was to better utilize the facilities between all parties for the
betterment of recreation and libraries.
From 1970 to 1972 Bill was on the Figure
Skating Club executive as a Director and served a further two years as
President of the Club. During his term as President and under his
leadership the Club became financially stable.
Fiscal Responsibility and Fundraising his Forte
From 1961 and for the following twenty
five years Bill was a member of the Kinsmen Club (President from
1967-68) during which time he chaired a number of recreation-oriented
projects. He organized Pedal Pushers for three years. In addition, for
a number of years Bill arranged Skate-a-thons with funds going towards
recreation facilities. These funds along with other Kinsmen organized
fund raisers allowed for the installation of heat in the existing arena
and the modernization of the Drill Hall.
In 1974 Bill was elected to City Council
and served as a City Alderman for nine years. The majority of Bill’s
efforts were directed to improve recreation and recreation facilities.
Bill oversaw the building of the Wetaskiwin Curling Club and Arts and
Craft Centre. As chairman of the City’s Finance Committee Bill saw the
feasibility of allotting funds to build tennis courts, ball diamonds, a
second arena and an indoor swimming pool. He, along with his friend
Reno, persuaded the Aboussafy family to put $100,000 towards the new
CTV Wide World of Sports Promotes Wetaskiwin
In the 70’s Bill served on the North Am
Power Toboggan committee as Program Chairman. This event became the
highlight for Wetaskiwin and district winter fun and because the snow
mobile races were televised on the CTV Wide World of Sports this event
was important in promoting our community to the rest of the world.
Also, from 1976-78 Bill was a Director for the Wetaskiwin Car Capitals.
In 1985-1987 Bill chaired the Communities
and Recreation and Cultural Grant committee, a sub-committee of the
Wetaskiwin Recreation Board. This committee reviewed financial requests
and made recommendations to the W.A.R.R Board as to where the funds
should be directed. One such area receiving this funding was the Gwynne
During the late 80’s and early 90’s Bill
served as a Director for the Wetaskiwin Golf Club and was President from
1991-1993. While President a Junior Program was reinstated, the Club
House was enlarged and the cart storage shed was built. Two water holes
were added on the “back”nine and when Bill left as President, the Golf
Club was financially sound and actually making money.
In 2004-2005 Bill served on the committee
for the Alberta Senior Summer Games. He was responsible for visiting
all service clubs and other organizations requesting their financial
assistance with the Games.
Co-founder Sports Hall of Fame
In 2004, Bill was one of the co-founders
of the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame serving as chairman of
the initial committee and then as President of the Board from
2005-2011. During his tenure as President and along with input from the
other Directors, the Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony has become
one of the main events in the City of Wetaskiwin.
While Bill spent a good part of his spare
time with sports he was also very involved with various organizations in
his professional life as an educator. Bill became the first rural
member to be appointed to the University of Alberta Board of Governors
and served on this Board from 1986-1992. From 1995-2001 Bill was a
Trustee and Vice-President for the Wetaskiwin Regional School Division
11 and then was President for the next two years.
For his many community endeavors Bill has
received various awards including: Kinsmen of the Year (1964-65),
Wetaskiwin Toastmasters Community, Communication and Leadership Award
for a non-Toastmaster member (1986), Four Avenues of Service Citations
for individual Rotarians for outstanding efforts in the four avenues of
service, (1996-1997), the Paul Harris Fellow Award in recognition of
tangible and significant assistance for the furtherance of better
understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world (2001),
the Alberta Centennial Medal in recognition of outstanding service to
the people and province of Alberta (2005) and the Wetaskiwin and
District Business Award as “Ambassador of the Community” (2009).
Bill has given freely countless hours of
his time toward the development of recreational programs and facilities
in Wetaskiwin. His foresight into recreational needs is evidenced by
the present high quality and functional facilities that are in existence
today. Bill’s unending energy and dedication and his outstanding
contributions to recreation and sport in our community is much
appreciated and his induction into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall
of Fame is well-deserved.
about an inductee is collected from published sources,
sports archives, scrapbooks, anecdotal information
from family, friends and fans, and the athlete.
the best stories and personal insights are gleaned at the induction dinner from
the introductory comments or acceptance speech of the
inductee or their representative.
Where possible we have included this type of information for
opening comments made by Don MacMillan when introducing