Bill Wah Sun Mah
August 23, 1933 – July 4, 2012
We are deeply saddened to announce that Bill – beloved husband, father, and grandfather – passed away suddenly on July 4, 2012 at Vancouver General Hospital. He had cancer and fought it very bravely and privately since 2005, but finally lost the battle not long after he and his wife Judy moved from Kitimat to Vancouver. He was surrounded by his family at the end.
Bill will be forever missed by his wife of 54 years, Judy; daughter Elizabeth (Michael Burton-Brown); son Peter; son Donald (Joyce); daughter Juliette (Paul Bowie), and grandchildren Megan and Emily Burton-Brown, Mitchell and Samantha Mah, and Amanda and Ryan Bowie. He also leaves behind many friends and family.
Bill came to Vancouver, Canada from Toisan, China in 1953 and in 1954 moved to Kitimat, BC. Kitimat was then a booming new community being built by Alcan, so he was a true pioneer working as a cook first at Helen’s Café, then in the construction camp. He married Judy in Hong Kong in 1958, and they brought up their family in Kitimat. He worked for years as chef at the Alcan guest house and met the corporate VIPs, then opened his own restaurant – the popular Kitimat Chop Suey Kitchen – which he operated for 36 years with Judy until they retired together in 2002. Over those many years, he and Judy were well-known and either employed or served most of the community.
Bill was devoted to family. From very hard beginnings, he worked to support his family and managed to put all his children through university. At the same time over decades, he supported family back in China, and helped sponsor many family members who are now living throughout Canada. Bill was extremely generous and loving, and enjoyed life, friends, and family above all. He loved to laugh and be amused, and near the end he reflected that in spite of the many hard years, he’d had a really good, successful life and was very happy with what he had.
There was a visitation at Mountain View Cemetery, 5455 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC. on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. A Celebration of Bill’s Life will take place on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 10:00 am, also at Mountain View Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to the BC Cancer Foundation at Bill’s “In Memory” page at
so that we may honour his memory and perhaps one day beat the terrible disease that took him from us too soon.
The family would like to thank the many caring doctors and staff who looked after Bill over the years, including those at the BC Cancer Agency and the Vancouver General Hospital.
Kearney Funeral Services 604-736-0268