Maurice Franklin Wilhelm

December 28, 1932 – February 1, 2024

 

Maurice Wilhelm was born on the family farm in North Easthope on December 28, 1932 to Gordon and Ettie (Hohner) Wilhelm.  The doctor arrived by sleigh in a blinding snowstorm.   Together with his older siblings Wilfred and Anne, Maurice was raised with love under the light of gas lanterns, as electricity had not arrived.  At the age of 12, with Wilfred and Anne away from home, Maurice lived alone on the farm maintaining the family’s livelihood for almost a year as his parents recovered from a serious accident.  That experience developed a fierce independence and strong work ethic that Maurice carried with him for the rest of his life.  Leaving school early, Maurice worked at service stations in the Stratford area, then moved to Toronto where he delivered bread for Weston’s.  This was his entry to the food business.  In 1957, a euchre night in Acton changed his life, as he met Nancy Lambert.   Neither had wanted to attend, but fate had other ideas and two years later they were married.   Maurice and Nancy forged a life of love and adventure over 64 years, including undertaking the trip of a lifetime travelling Europe for a year with their 3-year old son Chris.  Later, their daughter Heather arrived and the family was complete.  In those years, Maurice and Nancy launched Wilscot, a small camping supply business that grew to three franchises.  Meanwhile, Maurice’s career progressed from bread delivery to retirement as National Sales Manager for Aloro Pizza.  Maurice’s idea of retirement was not typical though, and he continued working over 40 hours a week until age 80 running the second small business of his life, this time selling Newfoundland food products.  Through his 80’s and even into his 90’s, Maurice continued enjoying an independent life with occasional keno games and visits to car museums in Nevada and Michigan.   Cars were a lifelong passion and Maurice measured the milestones of his life by the car he was driving at the time.  Throughout his life, Maurice was a fighter, surviving tuberculosis, cancer, and living with renal disease for many years.  Maurice deeply appreciated the care he received from the dialysis team at Grand River Hospital, and donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.  A family interment will be held at North Easthope, bringing Maurice’s life full-circle.