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O’HERAN, William (Bill) Bernard

July 7, 1923 – Slick, Oklahoma, USA
December 30, 2014 – Calgary, Alberta

William Bernard O’Heran passed away peacefully on December 30, 2014 at the age of 91 years. He was predeceased by his wife of almost fifty years, Jean, and by his younger sister, Helen Sundelius of Florida.

Bill and Jean had three children – Mary Kathleen (Reg Stark), Barbara Jean (Bill Graveland) and William Patrick and five grandchildren – Julie (Ray Downie), Amy (Carlo Cooper) and Michael McKay (Melanie) and Kevin and Colin Mitchell, as well as five great-grandchildren – Charlie, Mathilda, Ellie, Jenna and Poppy. He is also survived by his sister, Betty Magnuson of Chicago and several nieces and nephews.

Bill was born July 7, 1923 in Slick, Oklahoma. His father, a field foreman for Carter Oil Company, passed away there while still a young man. The family then moved back to Chicago, Illinois, his mother’s home town.

He enrolled at the University of Illinois but his education was interrupted in 1942 when he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He was assigned to the 20th Air Force stationed in the southwest Pacific on the island of Tinian, most notably the home base of the 313th Bomb Wing, which included the 509th Bomb Group which delivered the first atomic bomb to Japan.

Bill was a Staff Sergeant and spent most of his time monitoring the radio equipment of the B29 aircraft. One of his assigned aircraft was removed from its “hard stand” in order for the atomic bomb loading pit to be constructed for the Enola Gay.

After the end of the war he completed his Geology degree and obtained work with the Texas Oil Company where he was assigned to the Charleston, West Virginia office.

His career would take him to Ardmore, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Houston, New Orleans and Calgary where he eventually retired as vice-president of exploration for Texaco Canada.

Despite his successful career Bill always said his best selling job was convincing Mary Jean Sprekelmeyer to marry him when he was posted in Ardmore. He always considered Jean to be the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

For his military service he was awarded the Asiatic Campaign Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars. He was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity at the University of Illinois, president of the Ardmore Geological Society and a member of long standing of the Willow Park Golf and Country Club.

Bill’s basketball talents were recognized by the air force. His military orders included attending basketball practice. The team would fly to games in Guam, Saipan and Iwo Jima.

Bill was an accomplished amateur athlete in university in basketball, bowling and horseshoes. He was also an avid golfer. Attracting varied species of birds to his backyard feeder was a favorite pastime.

Funeral Mass will be concelebrated at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church (1600 Acadia Drive S.E.) on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Parkinson Alberta, #102, 5636 Burbank Crescent S.E., Calgary, AB T2H 1Z6 Telephone: (403) 243-9901, www.parkinsonalberta.ca or directly to The Calgary Humane Society, 4455 – 110th Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB T2C 2T7, Telephone: (403)205-4455, www.calgaryhumane.ca.

In living memory of William O’Heran, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. RICK FELDMANN :

    My sincere condolences to the family of a man I came to know only for a little while. But that short time was enjoyable, and we traded some good stories.

    Rick 9th Bomb Grp Historian, TINIAN 1945

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  2. Amanda & Pat Dutton :

    Barbara & Bill, we are sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

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  3. Catherine Burdett :

    Dear Barbara,

    Sending you thoughts and prayers for healing and peace during this difficult time.

    Catherine Burdett and family

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  4. Maribeth Rupcich :

    From Valparaiso, IN to our Calgary cousins…. Receive our hugs and much love as we send Uncle “blue eyes” home. May the soul of the faithful departed rest in peace and to God be the Glory!

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  5. Dear Kathleen, Barbara and Pat
    I am very sorry to lose my friend Bill. I spent many hours over the many years at Willow Park Golf Course and just dropping in when he was house bound. Our subjects ranged from the Chicago Cubs, WWII, Golf, politics. Oil Patch and others too numerous to mention. Please accept my condolences.

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  6. Butch Bridges :

    My condolences to the family. Back around 2001 Bill started sharing by email his history knowledge with me of the years he lived in Ardmore, Oklahoma (around 1945). I will never forget you Bill. RIP

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  7. Tom and Debra Mauro :

    Dearest Kathleen and Reg: As sad as it is to hear of Bill’s passing, we are so very happy to know he is finally reunited with your Mother. He was a most remarkable and amazing man, and we are so Blessed to have known him. Just wondering – who will check for his shoes at the funeral??? (Just writing that, made me laugh out loud.) Rest in Peace, Dear Bill.) Kathleen, our thoughts and Prayers are with you, and your family. Sending Hugs from Maui, Take care and God Bless, Tom and Debra

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  8. Betty Magnuson (O'Heran) :

    My brother and best friend – :”God Speed”

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  9. Betty Magnuson (O'Heran) :

    My brother and lifelong best friend “God Speed”

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  10. Rita Cusimano Page :

    Kathleen, Barbara, & Patrick…..I am sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad. May he rest in peace and may you find peace in your friends and families at this time.

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  11. Sheri Fatout & Aaron Vonk :

    Hi, Pat. You were so lucky to be able to spend so many years with your interesting Dad. I’m so sorry he’s now gone. I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and was touched to see how much he loved and missed your mother. I’m with my parents in Arizona right now Hope to see you soon.

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  12. Brendan Lavery :

    I am very sad to hear of your loss. My thoughts go out to the Pat and all his family.

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  13. Mr. O’Heran would take his place at the head of the table. Willow Park Golf & Country Club was rich in character and grace when this table, including Ernie, held its daily ritual. Their sharing, community & participation, clearly the essence of ‘club’. An accomplished man, who lit up with the kindness that came from his gentle soul, especially so when wife Jean entered the room. Life is good and more so in the company of, and spirit of Bill O’Heran.

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  14. A very interesting and accomplished man. I didn’t know he had done so much (He wasn’t one to brag). I wish I had had more conversations with him.

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  15. Trevor Williams :

    Bill was one of my first bosses at Texaco, and I learned from and admired him. I bowled a lot with him and also golfed at Willow.
    We are out of the country, but will have pleasant thoughts about our association with Bill.

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  16. As a long time member of willow Park (43 years). I got to know Bill during this time. He always had time to visit with you.
    Thoughts and prayers are for the family.
    He was a treasure.

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  17. Arnold Axelson :

    It was a privilege to know Bill and have a game of golf and a coffee with him while at Willow Park. His motto of “missing it quick” was a good saying. We will miss him. God be with you.

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  18. Dear Kathleen’ Barbara and Pat:
    My condolences.
    He just loved a lively discussion at the centre table at Willow Park while completing the daily crossword puzzle (and I watched).
    My prayers are with you.

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  19. Maureen Fitzgerald :

    What a great conversationalist Bill O’Heran was! I had such a nice time talking with him about a very diverse range of topics – from the amazing natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies to the plot intricacies of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”! But his favorite topic of all was his three very beloved children.

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  20. Rick Whitehead :

    Bill was one of the first people I met at Willow Park more than 25 years ago. He was one of the group, at the time, that made the Club special!

    I am very sorry for your loss.

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  21. I met Bill when I joined Texaco fresh out of university. Not sure how we met as he was Manager of Exploration and I was an upstart engineer. He always said hello, took an interest in my golf game and had a kind word to say. He will be fondly remembered for making me feel welcome and his kindness and quiet support he showed me along the way both at work and on the golf course.

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  22. Stan Williams :

    I had the honour to work for Mr. O’Heran in the early 1980’s at Texaco Canada when I was just beginning my career in the oil industry in Calgary. He had a great influence on me and the other geologists at Texaco. We learned that we needed to be well prepared for meetings with Bill and he wanted nothing but our best! We still benefit form Bill’s early influence.
    Stan

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  23. Sally and Joe Hlavay :

    1923 was a good year. Bill’s laughter and love of his family was always uplifting. Our thoughts, love and prayers are with each of you during these challenging times.

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  24. Kathleen, Barbara and Pat
    My deepest condolences on the passing of your father. I have very fond memories of him . . . especially as head of the ‘table’ of gentlemen who exchanged stories, solved the daily crosswords and solved world problems with great zeal! It was always an event when I was able to contribute to the crossword which Bill would comment on. The history lessons were also a highlight. Additionally, Bill was the best menu proofreader around! We have already felt his absence at the Golf Course in the years he was unable to come around but have been enriched by the role he played here.
    May your memories uphold you in this time of grieving the passing of your father.

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  25. Dear Barbara,

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your father. He certainly had quite a life. I hope you and your family are managing well at such a trying time. My prayers are with you.

    Sincerely,
    Ben

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  26. Paul Massarotto :

    Dear O’Heran family,
    sincere condolences to you on the passing of Bill, a gentleman. When in my job as Chief Petroleum Engineer at Texaco Canada, Bill was a mentor and teacher; he taught me how to be cool in tough situations. Bill and Jean were also freindly and helpful to our young family, especially through St Bonaventure events.
    Vale Bill!, Paul M

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