We are very sad to announce that Bill passed away on March 14, 2020 at age 95. 
He actively served Rotary for 72 years and he is the second longest serving Rotarian in the WORLD!
See Bill's story that was written by the Examiner for his 70th Rotary anniversary.
Bill was also proud of the fact that he could still fit into his WWII uniform and wore it every Remembrance Day.
 
Our condolences go to his wife and Rotarian, Ruth and his family.
 
YIR Bill.  You will be dearly missed.
 
 
70-year Rotary Club of Bracebridge member Bill Towns honoured at celebration
93-year-old Rotarian honoured with Paul Harris Fellow +7
COMMUNITY Feb 05, 2018 by Mary Beth Hartill  Bracebridge Examiner
 
Bill Towns
William (Bill) Towns (left) is now a Paul Harris Fellow +7 recipient. The Rotary Club of Bracebridge, with the help of club member Jean Polak, presented him with this highest honour during a celebration at the South Muskoka Golf and Curling Club. Feb. 3, 2018
 
 
Parry Sound Muskoka MPP Norm Miller (left) was one of several dignitaries on hand at the Muskoka Golf and Curling Club to help Bill Towns celebrate 70 years with the Bracebridge Rotary Club. Towns is now a Paul Harris Fellow +7 recipient. Feb. 03, 2018
 
BRACEBRIDGE — William (Bill) Towns looked dapper in his dark suit with a bright yellow rose pinned to his lapel.
The 93-year-old was the guest of honour and was celebrated for his dedication and loyalty to the Rotary Club of Bracebridge during a special ceremony at the South Muskoka Golf and Country Club on Saturday, Feb. 3. There were dignitaries present, all espousing Towns’ great contribution to not only the club, but to the Town of Bracebridge as well.
Towns received the Paul Harris Fellow and his 70 years with Rotary may set Rotary Club records.
“In case you haven’t noticed, I like Rotary. I like what we do and I like the friends I’ve developed,” he said. Towns has attended about 3,500 meetings and heard about 3,500 speeches, “some wonderful, some not so.”
“If Bill Towns thinks this is a worthy cause, if Bill’s paying attention it must be important so we must give." — Gord Durnan
“I’m pretty sure Bill is possibly the longest serving active Rotarian in the world, or at least North America,” said Mike Kinsey, district governor of Rotary District 7010. Kinsey smiled when he said they don’t have the records to prove that.
“To reach 70 years is no mean feat,” said past Rotary International director Bryn Styles, representing Rotary International. He presented Towns with a special letter signed by 20 past presidents.
It was 1938 that Towns first began his dealings with the Bracebridge club. He was a boy scout. The Rotary Club established scouting in Bracebridge, an organization they still support today, through the use of the Rotary Centre for Youth to both the Scouts and the Guides in Bracebridge.
“I was even a Scout master for a while, until they found somebody more suitable,” laughed Towns.
In 1948, a local lawyer and magistrate, Gordon Aiken — who would later become member of Parliament — proposed Bill as a member of the Bracebridge club. Bill joined the club on Feb. 13, 1948.
“Think about how lucky our district was that Bill had the foresight at 23 to join our organization,” said Kinsey.
Each year, Towns represents the club by placing the wreath at the cenotaph on Remembrance Day. He still fits into the uniform he wore when he served in the Second World War. After the war, he worked as a land surveyor before becoming registrar of deeds for Muskoka. At Rotary, Towns embraced the world of raffle sales. One of the club’s major fundraisers of the day was raffle tickets on a boat, and with pleasure craft not manufactured during the war, there was a postwar demand.
He and his first wife, Helen, worked at the Rotary Fair for many years — an event that was held at the former curling club across the street from the arena. His first job at the fair was the penny toss. He later graduated to calling bingo. After the fairs, they would meet at the office of the bank manager and roll coins. He got quite adept at coin rolling. In fact, he still does it.
“I haven’t seen fireworks for years because I’m always in the counting office with my queen counting the money,” he said of the Canada Day duties he takes on alongside wife Ruth Bell-Towns.
He has taken on many projects for Rotary. It is noted he was a major contributor to the restoration of Woodchester Villa; he has performed in the annual Rotary musical; he has been a greeter, statistician and kitchen staff for the bimonthly blood donor clinics; and he gave up his position as hotdog cooker only last year. He is still a member of the Sergeant-at-Arms committee.
Towns continues to be one of the top sellers of raffle tickets and can often be seen perched in front of the Canadian Tire during the summer months.
Gord Durnan, managing director of the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation for many years, knows exactly why Towns is so successful with the tickets. It stems from the high regard in which he is held.
“If Bill Towns thinks this is a worthy cause, if Bill’s paying attention, it must be important, so we must give,” he said.
Towns was elected to the hospital board in 1952 and was chair of the board when it was determined a new hospital must be built. It was due to his responsibilities with the hospital construction that he chose to decline his nomination as president of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge. He was named a director in the charter of South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and was immediately elected as chair. In 1963, after many negotiations and a great deal of fundraising, the hospital opened its doors.
In the early ‘80s, Towns’ finesse for fundraising also helped the Heart and Stroke campaign in Bracebridge, Port Carling and Baysville. As chair, the donations jumped from $4,500 to $14,500 annually.
The list of volunteer activities Towns has been involved in over the years is very long.
“You have enriched and made our community a better place with your selfless actions,” said Mayor Graydon Smith.
Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement said these efforts “speak to the kind of civic-mindedness that Bill represents and hopefully shines a light on how people should be in a community.”
“You sure set a great example for us to emulate,” said Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP and Towns’ former neighbour Norm Miller.