Obituary of Warren Willis Wiley
Warren Willis Wiley (Jan. 19, 1928-Nov. 27, 2023)
Our Dad, Warren Wiley, died Nov. 27 at the age of 95. His dedication to his family, his integrity and kindness, and his leadership in politics and agriculture made this world a better place.
Warren was predeceased by his wife Catherine (January 2023), and brothers John, Keith, Clair, and Donald. He is survived by his youngest brother Bill. He also leaves behind his children Joan Wiley Storm (John Storm), Janice Wiley, Tom Wiley (Marlene d. 2020), and Doug Wiley (Genie), 14 grandchildren (Adam d. 2020) and six great-grandchildren, all of whom will miss him dearly.
Born in 1928, Dad left school early to help manage the family dairy farm and peach and pear orchards in west St. Catharines with his brothers. (Both their parents had passed by 1952.) In the ‘70s, they switched to growing grapes as a full-time focus, and Wiley Bros. grape processing was born.
He met Catherine on a double date (she was with the other guy), and they were married in 1952. Four children followed, and Dad was a great role model for all of us. Despite his many achievements, “family man” was the title of which he was most proud.
Dad always found something to drive or ride -- his motorcycle in his youth, tractors and a combine for his custom combining initiative, a golf cart to get around his son’s farm, and bicycles that he rode into his late 80s.
Dad was a farmer to the core, and when Alzheimer’s took hold it was no surprise that his mind transported him to his happiest place: the family farm past and present. There was nothing he loved better than to work in the vineyards or in his large vegetable garden. Ever curious and much to everyone’s amusement, Dad planted cannabis in the garden for a friend shortly after it was legalized.
Our father was always surrounded by dogs who knew that he was the very best human in the whole world. Greeting him on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge were more than a dozen dogs and a few sturdy workhorses that he loved in is lifetime.
Dad was a long-time advocate for farmers and a strong agricultural industry. He sat on the North Niagara Federation of Agriculture, and in 2005 the organization awarded him the lifetime achievement award for 50 years of dedicated service. Dad participated in a mid-‘70s protest in Ottawa to support the farmers’ right to farm. He fought the Ontario Waste Management Corporation when it proposed a toxic waste treatment plant in Lincoln, and was recognized with an award in 1995 from the Lincoln MPP for his efforts. Dad also sat on the Niagara Escarpment Commission for 20 years, helping to make land planning decisions.
Dad believed in giving back to his community. He served as a councillor and deputy-reeve of Louth Township council, a St. Catharines councillor on Niagara Region, and trustee on the former Lincoln County Board of Education (now the District School Board of Niagara). He was also a lifelong member of Rockway Presbyterian Church and served as an elder. He was forward-looking, recognizing that buying local and support for the elderly were important long before they became current economic and social concerns.
The family thanks the kind, attentive and supportive staff at Linhaven long-term residence for caring for Dad, and for sharing loving anecdotes about him with us.
A service celebrating Dad's memory will take place Thursday, Dec. 14 at Tallman Funeral Home in Vineland (3277 King St.). Visitation starts at 10am, a Celebration of Life begins at 11am, and light refreshments will follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Rockway Presbyterian Church, Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region, or a charity of your choice.