SCUGOG: The Scugog community is in mourning, following the death of famous resident Bill Lishman, on Saturday, December 30th.
Mr. Lishman, a local artist and longtime Scugog resident, was best known for his work leading a group of geese on a southern migration with his ultra light aircraft. He was the first person to lead geese in this manner. From this, he received the nickname ‘Father Goose’, which was also the title of his autobiography that was published in 1995.
Mr. Lishman was also a member of the Scugog Lake Stewards.
Dr. Bill Eull, a friend of Mr. Lishman, said he remembers Mr. Lishman as a “warm and accepting” person.
“He was not about putting people down, he was about sharing,” he said.
He also said, despite the fame that came from his exploits, Mr. Lishman was a humble person.
“When I was with Bill, I never got the sense I was with someone great and lofty. It was more like I was with a warm human being.”
Family friend Lynn McDonald said Mr. Lishman “always took the side of the underdog” and added Mr. Lishman always made her feel welcome at “his large dining table.”
“[Bill] Lishman did not use profanity and abhorred inhumanity and cruelty. He also did not approve of waste or rampant consumerism,” she said, in an email to The Standard. “Bill's voice was soft as well, but always commanded attention, as he told his long and usually hilarious stories.”
Geordie Lishman, one of Bill Lishman’s sons, said his father’s mission in life was to “restore man’s association with nature,” and described his father as “super creative” and “very spontaneous.”
“We spent a lot of time with nature. We learned a lot about the circle of life, how we are all connected, and about the delicate balances.”
He also spoke about what his childhood was like having Bill Lishman as a father.
“It was a blessing and a curse. We wanted to fit in with the kids in school, which was never going to happen,” Geordie said. “I wanted to be normal and have what the other kids had. We never had that. It was difficult, but in retrospect, it was a really good thing.”
He said his favourite memories of his time with his father were of flying with him in his plane, stating it was “always amazing.”
Jeff Daniels, who played Bill Lishman in the movie titled ‘Fly Away Home’, said Mr. Lishman taught him “a lot about what it means to be a true artist.”
Mr. Lishman’s sculptures are located in several cities in Ontario, including London, Toronto and Ottawa and also in places beyond Canada, such as Oklahoma.