Starr Mercer

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I'm here to tell your story...the joy, the laughs, the tears, and the memories along the way.



March 17, 2015

A Tribute to Dad

Time doesn’t heal….It just teaches us how to live with the pain…..

Honouring a life with a good word is a very difficult task as we learned preparing this summation of Dad’s life. I wanted to share his eulogy as an expression of my grief and a celebration of his life. I have to commend my sister Christa for being brave enough to read this during the service, she did a wonderful job and made us so proud.  Thank you for taking the time to read the memories of a wonderful Father, Husband, Brother, Uncle, Papa, Friend & Boss.

photo of funeral table at front of united church for bill snider celebration of life service in Oxbow Saskatchewan

(iPhone photo of my sister Christa delivering the eulogy at Dad’s funeral)


“It ain’t so bad” to be here today to celebrate the life of one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, my DAD!! It is a very difficult task to capture someone in a speech, as words often fall short of capturing someone’s true essence. Independent, Courageous, Determined, Persistent, Mysterious, Strong, Generous: these are all qualities that my father not only held in high esteem, but practiced every day during his time on this earth. He was a disciplined, hard workingman, but always knew how to have a good time. When the work was all done we found out he was quite the prankster, either playing the prank himself or being the master mind behind all the tricks; he sure knew how to have a good time. Each one of us has our own set of memories to remember our dad.

Bill was born in Estevan on December 15, 1951 to Douglas and Marjorie Snider. Growing up 1 of 6 children, there were many hand me downs and we often joked that this explained his obsession with buying new jackets and shoes later on in life. In the winter dad and his siblings would spent many hours after school tobogganing down the hills beside their house. Their father used to bring home large pieces of cardboard that windshields were sent in to use as toboggans…slickest stuff ever, they even worked awesome in the summer. Another memory was when dad and brother George set the east end of Oxbow on fire. He was so scared! Their parents were not impressed when the fire truck had to be called, but in hindsight it was pretty funny. Sister Susan remembers playing many card games and getting side splitting laugh attacks from all the fun they shared.

Bill met Adelle Kreiger and they were married in Alameda on July 20th 1974. They bought their first house in Oxbow, a blue and white trailer on Boscurvis Avenue. Bill worked for Widney Well Servicing at the time and would often tell the story of the night a tornado went through town while Adelle was at a bridal shower and he saught safety lying in the bathtub while the trailer rocked back and forth.

“It aint so bad” owning a shack for your first home, hiding in the tub rocking in a tornado cuz then you’ll know what you want in your dream home. And you’ll build it with the same determination and passion you’ve learned in a tough life.

Starr was born and shortly after, Bill and Adelle built their next home on Coldridge Road. Bill proved to be very handy and built the house with help from friends and family. He ran the hot oiler for Widney while the patch was slow so he would go back and forth from work to building the house. Shortly after moving in, Christa was born seven days after Bill’s birthday. Amber came along in 1985 making him outnumbered in a house full of girls. A few years later, Bill and Adelle built their 3rd home, which became their dream home. It was a labour of love, which they were very passionate about.

All three of us girls have very fond memories of our Dad. We have wonderful memories of all day skidoo trips at the lake, boating and weekends at the cabin in White Bear, camping in the motorhome, holidays to Minot for the weekend or trips to the Black Hills. Our Dad really never sat still, so these family trips are special to us.

Every summer we would go to the Minot State Fair – dad was determined to win Amber the “biggest” stuffed animal on the midway. We went home for a couple days, only to return to the fair on the following weekend. One year dad built the carnival game in the garage to its exactness. He even ‘borrowed’ the little red ring to build this contraption; and then he practiced the game for hours!! When we went back to the fair that following weekend dad won 3 “enormous” stuffed animals one for each of us. You should have seen us driving home – we could hardly see out the windows.

Starr admits she didn’t know her Dad well until he helped her and Cory build their home when they moved back to Oxbow in 2008. Each day, Cory, Starr, Bill and Rich would show up for work on the house. It didn’t matter what task they were doing that day, whether Bill had done it before or if it was brand new to him, he was in there getting his hands dirty. He loved to tell Starr around 3 o’clock that he was taking off, like it or not because the pay wasn’t great…they paid him in smiles and Mick’s coffee. Dad and Starr began painting the house themselves as they waited for the professional painter to arrive. They ended up being a great painting team, Starr doing the cutting-in and Dad doing the rolling. They talked about everything under the sun during those times. He often joked about the fact that he would send them his bill at the end of the job, but they are still waiting on it. Starr’s family is so so grateful for Dad’s work on the house and will forever have a connection and memories of those times in every corner of their home.

“It aint so bad” being just like my dad cuz I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun!!
Dad was really stern with me. I was always his sidekick and he wanted me to do everything well, as he did. I always strived to make him proud and seemed to be by his side working, picking the weeds, mowing the grass and the list goes on. I had way more shenanigans than my sisters and I know I came by it honestly. I can remember telling dad I was dating Corey Widenmaier…he didn’t receive the news well, but not long after he became like a son to him. Dad and I were very similar. We both had oil in our blood. I started school in Calgary for Petroleum Engineering with the quest to out do my dad in the patch. During summer break, dad insisted that I work with him on his rig because I would receive the best training. I wasn’t going to become another Alberta know it all who hasn’t even seen a rig let alone worked on one. Dad felt that experience was more important than a piece of paper, and he was right. There are tonnes of things I learned on location and on the ride home in the crew truck, but we won’t get into that.

“It aint so bad” being the baby cuz then you’re the apple of daddy’s eye.
Unlike Starr and I, when Amber came along Dad was able to be home more, so this lead to Amber never wanting her dad to leave her sight! At a very young age Dad was a hero in her eyes. If anyone in her life ever steered her wrong, Dad would be right there to pick up the pieces. Dad was a very tough guy but when it came to his girls, he melted. Once Starr and I moved away, Amber was like an only child. She will remember all of the adventures that they had together. Amber will cherish all the little projects Dad did for her and Chris in their home. His hard work and dedication will forever be instilled in her and her future children.

“It aint so bad” to grow up and move away cuz then you get to see your dad in a new way. When Starr, Amber and I moved away from home and started lives of our own, we began to understand Dad. Gentle, knowledgable and relaxed. We were able to find time to sit and visit, he would often drop by in the middle of the day just to see what we were up to. Dad gave valuable clever advice and was always able to reassure us during difficult times. Not once did my father lecture my siblings and I about the importance of hard work, integrity and not giving up. Instead, he demonstrated these important values to us through his own examples. All three of us were blessed to inheret Dad’s ‘life of the party’ attitude and work ethic.

It’s hard to imagine grandpa not being around to flip our burgers on Saturday nights. Burger night has been a family tradition we will continue even though we are missing our chef, one of the three son-in-laws will have to pick up the flipper.

Kyra, Kelby and Ace will always cherish their memories of seeing Grandpa in the bleachers cheering them on. The Grandchildren were a soft spot in his eyes and they will always remember kabota rides and other special adventures they had together.

He loved a good gamble, a trait of a true entrepreneur. He continuously played the 649, scratch bingo tickets, and enjoyed trips to Vegas. He loved Vegas so much – mom & dad would get free night vouchers.

Our Dad enjoyed living in this community and area. When telling others about the place he lived, he was sure there wasn’t a more beautiful place on earth…he called it Gods country.

It aint so bad fishing with your buddies.
It aint so bad when you’re a mcgoyver and you can jimmy rig anything.
It aint so bad when on a Friday night you can drive to Estevan’s A & W with a good looking woman like Adelle during the era when the waitress would bring your order out to your vehicle window.
It aint so bad when you enjoy movies over and over like Grand Tereno, The Great Outdoors & Dances With Wolves
It aint so bad when your game for a good discussion and it often ending in a finger tapping, heated debate.
It aint so bad planting a large garden. Starr promised dad she would pick the weeds this summer and Amber and I are holding her to it!!
It aint so bad when you end up with all the best treasures in life.

STRONG’ – Will Hoge

In June of 1994 I was able to get hired onto Plains Well Servicing which was ran by Bill Snider and Russ Kerr. This allowed me to work side by side with Bill for 12 years (a length of time only topped by Russ Kerr). During that time Bill taught me lots about the oilfield, work ethic, and life in general. Bill was the first to teach me in detail about well formations. I became a sponge and tried sucking ever piece of knowledge I could out of Bill and it is because of Bills teaching that I am where I am today in the oilfield. It is because of Bill that I was allowed to explore another side of the oilfield and become a shareholder in Plains. Then later a greater opportunity came about as Bill, Russ, and I started our own company. Action Well. After a few years we sold Action but Bill and I remained with company. I had told Bill I was thinking of moving on but Bill expressed interest in working for another 2 – 3 years but only if I remained with him. I could not turn down an opportunity to suck more knowledge out of Bill plus work with the man who had become such a good friend. We had many laughs during this time. One I remember best is the time when we pulled one of the lines in from the rig and someone would grab the line, the other 3 would be at the end of line, then run as hard as they could to tighten line lifting worker off the ground, then bring him back down quickly. It was a good rush. Bill thought this looked fun. So Bill grabbed the line and 4 of us ran as hard as we could tightening the line even quicker which shot Bill into the air. Bill screamed like a little girl the whole way up. Then in good boss to employee fashion we stopped and let Bill hang there for about 30 seconds and the while Bill was cussing us out to let him down. Good times. After that we were never allowed to play that game again.

Bill always would say “you have to love what you do” and he loved what he did – every day was a new challenge. He enjoyed teaching others everything he knew.

In talking with several people this past week, who have worked with Bill over the years, we heard so many stories about him. He was referred to as a Star Player in the oilfield, a legend and a great Boss. A former co-worker said he taught all his guys well and the most fun they had was working with Bill; he set the standard and was a great role model to all. Over the years, he has employed many young inexperienced guys who looked up to him for knowledge. Some have ended up very successful themselves today.

It aint so bad growing up in a hard knock life cuz then you know what you’ve got when you earn it. And earned it he did.
He started his oilfield career rough necking for Widney Well Servicing when he was 16 years old. He worked himself up from the very bottom. His lifetime GOAL was to own a service rig company of his own. This DREAM came true in1980, with the birth of Anchor Well Servicing. Bill was the first company around to have a double, triple rig. This was only the beginning, Bill’s hunger for continued success in the oil patch carried on when he started the following companies:
Red Hawk Well Servicing
Plains Well Servicing
Action Well Servicing
In the early 80’s Bill and Adelle started K & S Investments which is an oil production, consulting and investment company. In the early 2000s Bill drilled and made his own little oilfield south of Oxbow. It was kindly referred to as Bills casino and Bill gained a new nickname “Ching Ching” because evertime the pumpjack went up and down it was like a slot machine paying “Ching Ching”.

Through chats with Bill, you may have heard some of his famous one-liners:
“A computer never made me any money”
“Because you can run a computer does not mean you should be a consultant”
“I won’t get mad, I will get even”
“If your going to do something, make sure you do it right the first time.”

Things Bill was known for:
– Twisting wrists – he rarely lost
– Painting – from oilfield equipment to houses or to Christine Kerr’s front door
– His snoring…his co-workers in his Waskada days remember folding Bill up in the bed and moving him to the hallway cuz he snored so dam loud.
– Falling asleep in his chair watching tv.
– Bringing pizza and beer to the dog house – more often than not.
– Something we will always remember about Bill, is the fact that he was admired & respected. His 48-year career in the oil industry is something we are all so proud of him for. He experienced the oilfield in the 60’s 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and into the 2000’s. Wherever he went, he was known for his work in the industry. His memory about each lease he worked on was impeccable. He would remember exactly what was done the last time he worked on that specific well and what was down hole from the Manitoba border to south-central Saskatchewan.

ROUGHNECK‘ – Corb Lund

It aint so bad working rig life cuz then you make friends like myself, Russ Kerr for life.
We couldn’t go about today without sharing some of Bill’s all time favourite oilfield prank stories…
Gorilla Suit
Pipe Dope
Electrifying Workboots
We are pretty sure fireproof coveralls were invented because of Bill’s fetish with lighting co-workers on fire at the job-site.
Bill had the best poker face while all of this was going on so it took a while to find out he was behind all the pranks.

It aint so bad being a riggers wife. Look at the love Adelle has known.
Behind every successful man – there is an amazing woman…. Adelle has the most treasured memories of any of us, but they belong to her alone. None of us knew, loved or treasured Bill in the way that she did and so we give you your memories to hold in the privacy of your heart, Adelle.

To the end Bill was a wholesome and proud man who provided only the BEST for his family. Silent, kind with the best smile, Bill’s sweet and giving soul lives on in our memories. He offered more to us that he ever knew. On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for taking the time to honour our Bill today!!

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal
Love leaves a memory no one can steal

The moment that you died
My heart was torn in two
One side filled with heartache
The other died with you.

I often lie awake at night
When the world is fast asleep and
Take a walk down memory lane
With tears upon my cheek.

Remembering you is easy
I do it everyday
But missing you is heartache
That never goes away.

I hold you tightly within my heart
And there you will remain
Until the joyous day arrives
That we will meet again.

‘STAY WITH ME’ – Sam Smith



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