ENDICOTT email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-10-10 published
William W. SMALL
By John SMALL and Stephen ENDICOTT, page A24
Husband, father, grandfather, athlete, academic, administrator, sinophile, Christian. Born September 5, 1917, in Chengdu, China. Died February 4, 2003, in Alliston, Ontario of a heart attack, aged 85.
Bill was born to United Church of Canada missionaries in Western China, in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Although he left China at the age of 16, he later returned to work there for another 13 years. Even after his final return to Canada in 1952, China was never far from his thoughts.
Bill earned his B.A. in business administration at the University of Toronto and his M.A. from Columbia University in New York City. Then he was seconded by the United Church to the West China Union University, he held the position of bursar until the Communist government in China moved into Sichuan in 1950. Under the new dispensation, foreigners were not permitted to handle institutional funds. But, liked and respected by students, colleagues and local authorities, Bill was invited to remain with the university as a professor of English and athletics. Luckily he was well-qualified, having starred on the U of T's senior soccer and tennis teams. He had also excelled at track and field in high school and had an uncanny ability with golf acquired as a caddy in Vancouver.
Returning to Toronto in 1952 without influential contacts or job prospects, Bill soon found employment in the U of T's bursar's office. Intrigued by the challenge posed by the establishment of a new institution, he moved to the just-established York University, and eventually became its vice-president of administration. The late 1960s and early 1970s were turbulent years on campuses across North America; Bill played a crucial role in helping to guide York through its share of crises. While handling his financial duties, he expressed his continuing attachment to China by teaching courses in Chinese cultural history.
Bill was closely involved in the creation and operation of the Canada China Friendship Society at both the national and local levels, and for years served as its president. It was a rare visiting Chinese personality or delegation that did not benefit from Bill's Friendship and hospitality.
He spoke Chinese fluently, with a decided Sichuanese accent. He was also a dab hand at Chinese cooking and liked nothing better than to whip up delicious mapo tofu at short notice. By visiting China at regular intervals, he maintained his numerous Friendships and kept up-to-date with China's progress.
He was a devoted family man; he and his first wife, Betty, who accompanied and supported him in China, raised three charming daughters. They, in due course, provided him with eight grandchildren on whom he doted. When Betty was dying of cancer at the very time crises at York University were demanding his attention, Bill showed remarkable stamina and integrity.
He later married Shirley Jane ENDICOTT, uniting two long-time China missionary families and acquiring two more children and their offspring.
After retirement, Bill devoted much time and energy to Trinity-St. Paul's United Church in Toronto. He also conducted a survey of United Church educational institutions across Canada, and contributed his knowledge and expertise to the Donner and Max Bell Foundations.
Bill died on February 4, doing what he loved to do: playing tennis, a game at which he excelled and to which he devoted the same passion and energy he gave to everything he undertook. On August 11, 2003, to honour Bill's contributions to York University and Canada-China relations, York dedicated a new administration and computing commons building: the William Small Centre.
John SMALL and Stephen ENDICOTT are Bill's brother and brother-in-law.
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