I often think of him with his cigarettes, stand there pondering things philosophically, but he was always in the action. He was a man after God’s heart.” So does rescuer Linda Gibbons describe her former colleague William de Marois, who died Dec. 22, 1996 of complication from lung cancer at St. Michael’s Hospital Toronto. He was 71.
Born William Robert Fournier of Cregton Mines, Ont, Feb 6, 1925, the man who pro-lifers knew as Bill de Marios-his stage name-or the Professor, was an accomplished actor, poet Catholic intellectual and defender of unborn children. He was, in the words of American pro-life great Joe Wall, one of the pioneer rescuers in Canada” Bill rescued not only in Toronto, but in the U.S., including Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. He took part in Rescue Outreach, in American and Canadian rescuers traveled to Britain and Europe. In the late 80’s and early 90’s Bill was a member of the elite rescue group, the Lambs of Christ, founded and lead by Father Normal Westin.
Dr Ray Holmes, who was a number of pro-lifers spent time in jail with Bill, is the one who dubbed him the Professor; because of ‘his professional air’ and wife-ranging knowledge. Although his formal education did not exceed Grade 10 Bill knew five languages and was remarkably well read.
Bill used his splendid voice and diction for positive pro-life purposes. He narrated the video Rescue with Joan Andrews and recorded Campaign Life newsletters on audio tape. During his acting career, Bill had been on the Juliette Show several times, played Indian Joe in the Junior Forest Rangers, did work for CBC radio and television, and was involved in theatre in Montreal where he lived for many years before coming to Toronto.
His waning health in the last couple of years curtailed his pro-life activity, although his heart was always with the rescuers. Typical of his belief are words he wrote while in jail with the Lambs of Vermont: “We have taken the Christ at His word, when He told us that whatever we do for the least of our brothers, we do for Him.