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Brief Biography

I was born in 1947 and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My first experience with trees was enjoying the shade of the elms in the older Nutana area where I grew up. As a youngster, I also used to spend many hours climbing around in the limbs of a large mountain-ash tree in the front yard of my home.

After receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology at the University of Saskatchewan in 1969, I lived in Vancouver and enrolled in the post-degree education program at Simon Fraser University. From 1971 to 1972, I taught in a one room school in Michel Village in northern Saskatchewan. I eventually wound up living in northern Saskatchewan on a mostly forested piece of land, near a town called Makwa in the Meadow Lake area. In 1974 I taught grade 4 at the Onion Lake, Sask. Reserve school. It is during this time that my interest in woody plants began to grow. I returned to the University of Saskatchewan where I received a Ph.D. in Botany studying the development and architecture of a low-growing, native shrub called Bearberry that is found on sand dunes and in forested areas. Following this, I spent two years in the Forest Resources Department at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton studying the growth, development and architecture of Tamarack, a tree species also found in forested areas of the Prairie Provinces.

In 1985, I joined the Plant Science Department at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg where I taught horticulture courses and conducted research on woody plants of horticultural interest. In 2006, I retired from the Plant Science Department and moved with my partner Adele to Salmon Arm, British Columbia. I am currently involved in teaching a distance education course in the Prairie Horticulture Certificate Program for the University of Manitoba entitled Woody Landscape Plants.

My son, Joel, lives in Eureka, California.

Me in 2005

My sister Deanna and me in 1953

Me in 1970

Other Interests  

While living in the Makwa area I built a geodesic dome house and since that time I have maintained an interest in building and fixing up places.



Over the years I have become interested in playing folk and bluegrass music. In the early 1980s I played in a Folk Band in Saskatoon called 'Wolf Willow'. Here is the band - from left to right Darryl Wurtz, Bill Remphrey, Len Hogan.

In Winnipeg, I played for many years in a band called Caragana. In addition, from time to time we formed the 'Mouse House Band' at the university that consisted of mostly graduate students and staff. Since moving to Salmon Arm, I have been fortunate to continue playing through contacts made at the Sunnybrae Coffee House across Shuswap Lake from Salmon Arm and Cliff's Cafe Open Mic in Enderby.

Performance of 'Caragana' at the Canadian Botanical Annual Conference Mixer held in Winnipeg, June, 2004. From left to right: Haley Catton (M.Sc. graduate student in Plant Science), Bill Remphrey, Teresa Rempel and Tim Groening.


The Mouse House Band performing at the wedding of Quinn and Bonny Holtslag in 2003. Quinn was a former Ph.D. student in my lab. Left to right Brandy Catton, Glenn Friesen, Bill Remphrey, Tony Szumigalski, and Haley Catton.


The Backporch Backup Pickin' Band peforming at the Sunnybrae Coffee House near Salmon Arm, BC - December 8, 2007. This great venue features local musicians who get to play 3 songs each. From left to right, Bill Remphrey, Heather Sawyer, Jake Jacobson.


After 20 years I was fortunate enough to reunite with Wolf Willow and play lots of music and catch up on old times. From the left, Darryl Wurtz, Bill Remphrey and Len Hogan. Compare us to the poster above.


While picking up my re-fretted mandolin in Armstrong BC, I ended up playing a few tunes at the open mic at the Junction Cafe with Rod (bass), Rory (guitar) and Kerry (dobro). January, 2011


'Runaway Lane' performing at the Mara Hall Benefit Coffee House February 12, 2011. From the left, Bill Remphrey, Miranda McLaws, Ellie Young, Ed Beggs.




Contact: Bill Remphrey

Last Updated: February 13, 2011
University of Manitoba AFS