Harms, William “Bill”

May 5, 1924 – October 31, 2023
at the age of 99 years:

         With heavy hearts we announce that during the night of October 30th, William (Bill) Harms was called home by his beloved Lord and Savior.  He was 99 years old.  Bill’s passing was peaceful and he welcomed it.  His faith in his heavenly father was as sure as the sunrise.

Bill is survived by his dear wife of 71 years, Jeanette and his children Faith (Terry) Hayman, Grant (Laurie) Harms, Sharon (Norm) Miller, and Stephen (Michelle) Harms.  He was the cherished grandfather of Melody and Lief Hayman, Kirsten and Bridget Harms, Travis, Andrew, Carl, Janae and Brady Miller, and Carter, Celeste and Chantelle Harms, as well as seven great grandchildren.  Bill was predeceased by his sisters Mary and Eileen, and his brothers Abe, Sam, Art and Ed. 

Bill was born on 5th May, 1924, in Drake, Saskatchewan, the third of seven children of William and Helena Harms.  When Bill was three, he contracted polio which resulted in his left side being weakened for the rest of his life.  He credited his recovery to the extraordinary efforts of his mother and God’s healing power.  As a result of this impairment, Bill worked hard and sought God’s help and grace his whole life to achieve physical goals that others accept as routine.  Even in his 99th year he would dutifully maintain his in-house walking routine with his walker.

Bill’s family moved to Rosthern where they lived and schooled until 1941 when the family moved to New Westminster, BC.  Though Bill grew up in a Mennonite family and church, while in New Westminster he attended a meeting featuring L.E. Maxwell of Prairie Bible Institute which inspired him to attend Prairie Bible Institute, which he did from 1943-47.

In 1950, Bill answered a calling to become a missionary with TEAM to Japan, learning the language and ministering to the people of a country still suffering from the ravages of the Second World War.  While there he met and married his beloved wife of 71 years, Jeanette, and together they had the first three of their four children.  For 12 years Bill and Jeanette shared God’s love, built churches, saw the work of the Holy Spirit and made many close friends.

In 1962 Bill and Jeanette and their family came back to Canada and began work in the Japanese United Church of Canada, building and pastoring churches in Kelowna (where #4 Stephen was born), Lethbridge, Hamilton, Surrey and Vancouver, in each location making new friends and seeing many touched by the good news of God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus.

Bill officially retired in 1984, the same year he moved to Salmon Arm, BC though he never stopped working to support the local Christian community as well as continuing to minister to Japanese congregations in cities and towns in the region.  “Grandpa’s Beautiful Garden” was a source of pride as well as edible treasures for children and grandchildren.

Bill is remembered as being a man of immense faith, constant grace and selfless dedication to the work of God wherever he went.  His powerful prayers brought God’s healing, comfort and protection to many.  His sense of humour, his wisdom and his kindness will be greatly missed.  He was a dearly beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather who made the world a better place.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7,8.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to The Canadian Bible Society, https://biblesociety.ca/.

A celebration of life will be held in March 2024.  


  1. My deepest condolences to Janette and family. Bill was always a pleasure to be around and you never left their home without a kind word and a prayer for safe travels in your day. It was a great pleasure to have worked with him

  2. I’m so sorry to hear of Pastor Harms passing. I have many fond memories of him and his wife, They were always so kind to my family.
    I enjoyed our visit with them in Salmon Arm too.My condolences to Jeanette and all her family. My thoughts and prayers are with them during these difficult times

    Dorothy Yamamoto

  3. Our sincere condolences to Mrs. Jeanette Harms and family.

    Pastor Harms contributed to the Japanese United Church tremendously in the renovation of the old Hungarian Hall. Southern Alberta Japanese United Church continues to worship in the same building. Pastor Harms is remembered for his work and service to this

  4. It was a pleasure working with Bill . My condolences to the family .

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