Obituary: Langley pioneer Bill Marr passes away

The longtime pilot with roots in Fort Langley was 101.

Langley pioneer and pilot William Lloyd “Bill” Marr died February 23 in Langley Lodge. He was 101.

Though his family was rooted in Fort Langley, Marr was born in Bramshott, Great Britain, while his father Dr. Benjamin Marr was serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War.

After the war, the family returned home to Langley, where Marr grew up.

In a 2008 letter to the Langley Advance, Marr recalled the inaugural opening dance at the Fort Langley Community Hall, in 1931.

“I was 14 years old on this occasion and was in charge of the ‘pop’ concession, Orange Crush and ginger ale and that sort of thing at five cents a bottle,” Marr wrote. He “did well financially,” he recalled.

Marr was orphaned young, when both his parents died in the late 1930s.

In a 2011 interview with the Advance, he talked of how he was interested in aviation, and took a few flights with locals from grass airstrips.

In 1940, after a brief stint in the Canadian Army, Marr made the jump to the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he was immediately trained as a pilot.

After a stint as an instructor, Marr went to Europe to take on duty as a nightfighter pilot. In Bristol Beaufighters, and then DeHavilland Mosquitoes, he flew by night trying to track down German bombers using the then-new technology of radar.

One inland test flight later in the war, after the invasion of Normandy, took Marr over the Vimy Ridge Memorial.

After leaving the service, Marr immediately applied for a job with Air Canada so he could keep flying. He retired from the airline in 1977, and spent his later years volunteering at the Canadian Museum of Flight, where he took part in projects such as the restoration of a Lockheed Lodestar. Marr had flown that aircraft himself from 1945-47.

Marr was predeceased by his sister Katherine and his wife of 74 years, Etta.

He is survived by his daughter Ann, son Flynn, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A service in his memory is scheduled for Friday, March 9 at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, 20955 Old Yale Road.

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