Belfast Telegraph

Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, Northern Ireland champion of the arts in Canada, has died

By Eamon Sweeney

A notable former alumnus of Royal Belfast Academical Institution has passed away in Vancouver, Canada.

The Rev Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles died on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 74.

Rev Wilhelm-Boyles was born in Belfast in 1943 and first went to Canada as a teenager because of his father's business connections to the Beldam asbestos engineering company.

The family returned to Ireland, Andrew completed his teacher training studies, and went back to Canada to pursue a career. He taught both English and drama in Newfoundland.

However, after a change of professional direction he was employed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and managed a television station in Churchill, Manitoba.

It was here that he had the scope to develop his true passion for music and the arts, becoming a national figure in the field, producing and hosting many network programmes from Winnipeg and Toronto.

Rev Wilhelm-Boyles went on to found the Yukon Arts Centre as well as holding positions with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Creative City Network of Canada.

He was also the executive director of the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture.

The passion he held for choral music and conducting was evident when he found the Whitehorse Community Choir in the 1990s, and he was also the choral director of Maple Ridge Choral Society.

Rev Wilhelm-Boyles developed a late vocation for religious service and in 2008 was ordained as a minister in the Anglican Church.

He was appointed Deacon at St Agnes' church in Vancouver, where he remained until 2012 before being attached to Christ Church Cathedral in the city. Around 18 months ago Rev Wilhelm-Boyles developed lung cancer and entered hospice care on July 21.

In his last days he was surrounded by his family and friends from across the Diocese and beyond.

Before his passing the Women's Schola of the Christ Cathedral Choir sang for him at his bedside.

He is survived by his wife Carrie, sister Hazle, brother Alastair, brother-in-law Stephen Richardson and sister-in-law Sally.

He will be laid to rest following a service at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver on Saturday, August 12.

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