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The ‘Bill and Dora Rathbun Family Bursary’

The Rathbun Family Bursary is presented by Dora and William Rathbun, one of the original families to live in the PineRidge Retirement Community in Gravenhurst.
Bill was a 15-year member of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, where he took great interest in the young people who participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange. He was delighted by the high caliber of young people from South Muskoka who experienced the life-changing opportunity of living with families in another culture in some distant country. He and Dora enjoyed playing host to the young men and women who came to Gravenhurst from other countries, as Rotary Exchange Students, to learn about Muskoka, Ontario and Canada.
An enthusiastic participant in all Rotary endeavours, Dora and Bill were the local anchors for the ‘Rotary Wheels for Learning’ project developed and carried out in Cambodia by Gravenhurst Rotarian Lisa McCoy. In spite of a stoke that left Bill’s mobility challenged he chauffeured Lisa to Rotary Clubs throughout the province to spread the joy of giving to the Cambodian cause.

Dora, born in North Bay, and Bill, born on the farm in Erin Township north of Guelph, lived in many parts of Canada before moving to Gravenhurst after retirement. For most of their married life they lived in Scarborough, raising three girls. Bill’s job took them from North Bay to Brampton, Edmonton and Ottawa. They lived in Meadowvale, Ontario, Toronto, Kingston, Vancouver and New York City.

Bill’s career began as a broadcaster in North Bay (CFCH), Brampton (CFJB) and Toronto (CKEY). He became a news and political writer for Broadcast News, a subsidiary of The Canadian Press, and a member of the Ottawa and Queen’s Park Press Galleries.
A member of the Ontario Public Service for 28 years before retiring in 1992, he had a lengthy career at the executive level in the Premier’s Office, the Ministries of Transportation and Communications, Intergovernmental Affairs, Tourism and Trade and Development.
During his time at Queen’s Park, Bill was a speech writer for Premiers John Robarts and Bill Davis.
He was involved with Ontario’s participation with World Fairs, from EXPO 67 in Montreal to EXPO 92 in Seville, Spain. In 1986 he was Deputy Commissioner of the Ontario Pavilion at EXPO 86 in Vancouver.
In 1982-83 Bill was the Ontario appointee to the National Defence College, a year-long executive course which took him into every corner of Canada and around the world studying all aspects of governance.
Bill concluded his career as manager of Ontario’s Trade Office in New York City.

On retirement, Dora and Bill became tour directors for a number of travel and educational organizations. They led tours for seniors to Spain, Portugal and the Greek Islands. They became program developers and managers for Elderhostel Canada, planning and leading 22 tours of “Canada’s Railway Dream” by rail from Montreal to Vancouver.
On moving to Gravenhurst in 1995, they became involved with the Muskoka Air Show, The Opera House and the Muskoka Steamships and Historical Society. Bill was an on-board historian when Wenonah II was launched in 2002. For many years Bill was a member of the Gravenhurst Accessibility Advisory Committee.
Both were active in developing the social programs and rewarding life of the PineRidge Community and Gravenhurst.
Because of declining health, Dora and Bill Rathbun reluctantly moved from Muskoka to the Oak Ridges Retirement Community facility in Richmond Hill in 2012.  Bill was born May 8th 1933 and died December 13th 2015.
This bursary is an expression of their appreciation of their rich life in Gravenhurst and their confidence and pride in the quality of young people of South Muskoka.  It is certainly in keeping with Bill and Dora’s long time support of young adults and their support and appreciation of the integrity of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst and its dedication to children everywhere!  Bill and Dora hope the future recipients of this bursary all succeed, meet their dreams and enjoy the success they have earned and deserve!

William (Bill) Arnold Rathbun