884 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
… at a more personal level this is a story about one man’s life and
untimely death … . When we see Frank Paul’s photo we will think homeless,
chronic alcoholic and fail to see the man behind the photo … .
Who is Frank Paul? The sad truth is that, even now, we know very little
about Frank Paul—his hopes and dreams, his talents, and the traumatizing
experiences that led eventually to his living rough on the harsh
streets of Vancouver.
It is clear that Bill was a man of great gifts and an extraordinary Canadian.
He enjoyed immeasurable energy and success, but he never lost sight
of the profound common connection of all people. He cared for others and
recognized that life for all should be well lived with full opportunity for all,
not a privileged few. Grand Chief Ed John viewed the commission’s report
as a catalyst for change, and Bill would have been most pleased with the
continuing results of the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission
report and recommendations.
At a very practical level, Bill’s passion for the proper administration of
justice resulted in the government building a new Supreme Court courthouse
in Chilliwack. The old one was inadequate generally and especially
so when it came to empanelling juries. As a result, a local hall was routinely
used. On one occasion, Justice Davies required empanelled jurors to wait
in the washrooms. The event formed front page news in the Vancouver Sun
and the government of the day lost the luxury of delay. A point was made
and construction of a new courthouse soon followed.
Following the completion of the Frank Paul inquiry, Bill returned to practice
as senior associate counsel with his old firm. He generously provided
guidance and knowledge to the many lawyers of Baker Newby. Bill’s eventual
retirement from law was an opportunity to spend more time with Judy
and his family. He enjoyed their company, and that of his many friends,
both at Cultus Lake, where he and his beloved Judy resided for many years,
and also at their rustic cabin on Chain Lake near Princeton.
Bill left us on June 3, 2017 content with his life well lived. He had led a
long and honourable life full of contribution to the people of our land. When
appointed to the bench, Bill said, “I hope to assume my duties with compassion,
consideration and common sense.” This he did.
Bill lived by a code of conduct he had recorded in his address book to
remind himself of what was important. It is a code useful to all of us: “Life
is short. Forgive quickly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret
anything that made you smile.”
A favourite quip of Bill’s was that “it costs little more to go first class”. As
his daughter Jackie observed at Bill’s celebration of life, the Honourable
William H. Davies, Q.C., was undoubtedly first class all the way.
Martin Finch, Q.C.