William (Bill) Marr, shown here with his late wife, Etta, at his 95th birthday party in 2012, died on Feb. 23 at the age of 100. Langley Times file photo

Langley pioneer Bill Marr passes away at 100

Service scheduled for Friday, March 9 at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church

A well known Langley pioneer and pilot has died.

William Lloyd Marr, known to many as Bill, passed away on Feb. 23 at the age of 100 in his home at Langley Lodge.

The son of Langley’s first resident physician, Dr. Benjamin Marr, Bill was born on July 4, 1917. Mr. Marr’s birth certificate, however, lists his date of birth as July 5, 1917. Reportedly, Dr. Marr did not want to celebrate his son’s’ birthday each year on America’s Independence Day.

Mr. Marr was born in England, but the family returned to Fort Langley after the First World War.

When Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Bill left his studies at UBC and enlisted two days later — a week before Canada was officially at war.

He trained with the RCAF before earning his wings and becoming a flight instructor in Moncton, NB and Trenton, Ont. It was in Moncton that he met his wife, Henrietta (Etta). In 1942 he was posted overseas.

At the end of the war he returned to Canada and worked as a pilot with Trans-Canada Airlines (which eventually became Air Canada).

For much of that time, he lived in Toronto and flew trans-Atlantic flights to Europe, in jet aircraft after 1962. He accumulated a total of 28,500 flying hours. He also flew out of Vancouver to London on the polar route.

He retired from the airline in 1977 at age 60.

Returning to Langley, Mr. Marr continued to fly, in a Cessna 185, until he gave up his pilot’s licence in 1983.

He was an active member of the Langley Heritage Society, Langley Rotary Club, the VALTAC transportation group and served as president of the Abbotsford Air Show.

Etta passed away in 2015 after 74 years of marriage. Together, the couple had a son and a daughter, eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

A service will be held on Friday, March 9 at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, 20955 Old Yale Rd., beginning at 11 a.m.

– files from Frank Bucholtz Langley Times

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