Bill Runge was a long-time part of the Whistler fabric. A good friend, boyfriend, and employee, 63-year-old Runge passed away suddenly on Saturday, April 30 leaving those close to him with the memory of a reliable and kind-hearted man with a lust for life.
"He was an avid, mad, crazy sports fan and really enjoyed watching the hockey games and golf tournaments and really loved to get together with his buddies on hockey night to watch the game down at Tapley's," said girlfriend Denise Brown, adding that Runge was looking forward to watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. "Everybody knew that if he wasn't watching his sports he was doing his chores - he loved to putter around doing his garden and being outside."
A 32-year resident of Whistler, Runge knew more than just a little about the local scene. Brown refers to him as a walking history book who was always ready to tell a tale about the people he had met or things that had had an impact on his life.
Determined to attend every festival and event that came to town, Runge would schedule time off only once he had confirmed nothing else was going on in Whistler.
"We did attend every evening of the Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival together two weeks ago, and we were out and about every night participating in everything and he liked to do that - he wouldn't go on vacation during any of the festivals, he liked to be here for them," continued Brown. "And on regular nights he'd walk down the street and know 10 people. We'd just walk around the village arm in arm enjoying the ambience because he liked to do that, just to see what the visitors are doing and how much he thought they were enjoying themselves."
Runge was a 31-year employee of the Whistler Sign Shop, where he developed close relationships with his team.
"I think they appreciated his steady nature and his organizing ability, they knew they could give it to him and he would do the job, he was reliable and a good person to have around," said Brown.