Railway conductor remembered

William Herbert Jarvis Baker, known as Billy to many friends at the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, died peacefully on Oct. 23.

Bill Baker

William Herbert Jarvis Baker, known as Billy to many friends at the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, died peacefully on Oct. 23, two days after his 86th birthday, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Sechelt, B.C.

Born Oct. 23, 1925 in Red Deer, Alberta, Baker grew up in North Vancouver.

His passion was collecting — toys, music boxes, trains and books.

As the first director of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives, he amassed thousands of artifacts, photographs and materials to populate the collections of the museum and the archives.

In 1986, he helped acquire and restore the last remaining car from North Vancouver’s street railway system.

After retiring, Baker moved to Summerland around 1990 and immediately became involved with the Kettle Valley Steam Railway.

He loved the railway and his passion for heritage, collecting and experience as a museum founder and archivist was a perfect fit for the then fledgling KVSR Society.

He wore many hats, loving his conductor’s hat best. Baker served as an advocate for the society and a director on the KVSR Society’s Board.

He delivered the railway’s brochures to tourism outlets, rode the KVSR float in parades, and volunteered as a host trainman.

He never wanted to miss a train run, especially a train robbery and barbecue event.

With his grizzled gray whiskers, and gruff voice, barking out orders to keep the little ones safe, Baker looked like he had been there forever.

He took pride in his steady hands and old conductor’s uniform.

One of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s most photographed characters, he is surely part of photo albums all over the world.

His long-time friends at the railway remember him as a character who loved life, a good laugh, and being in the thick of the action.

Baker was an extraordinary man whose commitment, alongside others, helped to create and preserve the Kettle Valley Steam Railway.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Additional Penticton washrooms open in time for weekend

Washrooms at Riverside, Skaha Lake Park, Okanagan Lake Park, more, now open

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

First day back; attending elementary school amid COVID-19

“… Social connections are certainly important for kids,” said Carmi principal Dave Ritchie.

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read