In Memory of





Obituary for John William "Bill" Tennier

It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of John William (Bill) Tennier at the TBRHSC on Sept. 12, 2022, at the age of 87. A beloved husband, father, grandfather and uncle, Bill’s life was filled with close, life-long relationships. He accomplished much in life and was often described as a true gentleman in every regard. His intelligence, grace and capacity to love was a role model for many.

Bill was born on October 21, 1934 in Port Arthur to parents Theodore and Mary (Mae Campbell) Tennier. He had two older sisters; Monica (George Gagnon) and Barbara (Joseph Otto). Bill excelled in school graduating from P.A.C.I. as valedictorian. He completed an Honours BA degree in English at University of Toronto - St. Michael's College and a master’s degree in English at Ohio State University where he also taught.

Bill taught English at P.A.C.I. and later, at Selkirk High School, was the Department Head of English. Six years later, Bill was appointed English Inspector by the Ministry of Education where he covered Thunder Bay District and part of Toronto. In 1973, Bill married the love of his life, Susan Hughes. The following year his son, Jean-Paul was born. In 1976, after the birth of his second son, Marc, he accepted a superintendent position with the Lakehead Roman Catholic District School Board. He served as Superintendent until 1992 when he was appointed Director of Education from which he retired in 1995.

Bill sat on many community boards including: the Board of Governors of Lakehead University, St. Joseph’s Care Group, St. Andrew’s Church Parish Council, Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra Board and Big Brothers of Thunder Bay. He was President of the Community Auditorium Board and the President of the St. Andrew’s Cemetery Board. For many years he was a member of the Port Arthur Rotary Club. Much of his community involvement was aimed at supporting youth.

In retirement, Bill was blessed with four beautiful grandchildren, Sariah, David, Logan, and Luke. He cherished his time with his grandchildren. He loved listening to their stories and celebrating their accomplishments. For 54 years he and his family spent much time at their camp at West Loon Lake. Every summer was spent enjoying sailing, tennis, canoeing and fishing. During the winter months, Bill became an accomplished woodworker. Since childhood, music was very important to Bill. He was very knowledgeable about classical music and enjoyed listening to it every day. He loved to play the classical guitar. His love of music, theater and reading was a life-long passion.

Later in life, Bill faced serious health problems with incredible bravery and dignity. The family would like to thank the renal team of the home hemo-dialysis program; Lori, LaurieAnne, Leanne, Mike, Dr. Silverberg and Dr. Watson and the nurses of St. Elizabeth Health for their care and compassion.

Bill is lovingly remembered by his wife Susan; sons Jean-Paul, Marc (Rebecca); grandchildren Sariah, David, Logan, Luke; sister-in-law Marie Hughes (Gregory Walsh); his “little brother” Thomas Cheesman, cousin Bruce (Jean) Campbell; nieces and nephews Carol Kanary, Sharon Peters, Brenda Moorehead, George Gagnon, Patricia Pyhtila, Gregory Otto, Robert Otto, Maureen Daley, and Jeffrey Otto. Bill was predeceased by his parents L. Theodore and Mary (Mae); sisters Monica Gagnon (George), Barbara Otto (Joseph); and niece Michelle Peterson.

A funeral mass will take place at St. Margaret’s Church at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 with Fr. Ciaran Donnelly as celebrant. Interment will take place at St. Andrew’s cemetery on that day. A visitation will take place at St. Margaret’s Church on Tuesday, September 20, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., with vigil prayers at 8:00 p.m.

A student award will be established in Bill’s and Susan’s names for the Thunder Bay Catholic DSB Awards Trust fund. Those wishing to donate to the award may do so by going to the link here, filling-out the donation card or contacting the Catholic School Board.

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