In Memory of Bill Szkotnicki

Posted on Thursday, October 10th, 2019

The Ontario Agricultural College and Department of Animal Biosciences extends sincere sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Bill Szkotnicki, who passed away on September, 18 2019. Bill was the Manager of IT and Computing in the Department of Animal Biosciences and his loss will be deeply felt by all those who knew him.

A long-standing professional staff member of the department, Bill first came to the University of Guelph in 1974 after graduating with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.

When I graduated from math/compsci in 1974 from Waterloo I scattered a few resumes around and landed a computational/statistical support job in the department working with George Smith and various other staff and faculty members. Within the first year I met, got to know, and started working with an up-and-coming post-doc named Larry Schaeffer! A bit later I also met my wife Jean who has a great passion for agriculture involving animals and was a grad student in the department. I remember thinking to myself how lucky I was to actually be doing something useful with my education, supporting research and teaching in agricultural animal production systems.

Bill was always generous with his time and helped nearly everyone in the department. Not only was he responsible for building and managing the large computing infrastructure of the department but Bill was also a key contributor to countless research projects. From solving complex statistical problems to applying his extensive knowledge of programming languages towards software creation, Bill was integral to the everyday functioning of ABSc.

I have greatly enjoyed my career in the department and hope that ABSc will continue to lead the way with its research and teaching activities and I have been very proud to be a small part of this great ship. I am confident that the future will be bright in all of our disciplines and species. Keep ABSc strong and great!

Bill passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and friends while classical music played in the background. Just prior to his passing he received over 100 emails from past members of the department from New Zealand to Europe. Bill will be remembered by work colleagues for his deep dedication and devotion to family and friends, his love of gardening, contributions to United Way events and the hamburgers he used to cook after the annual ABSc soccer match. 

A private Celebration of Life for family and friends will held in late October. In memory of Bill, donations to the Peter Szkotnicki Legacy Fund (Guelph Community Foundation) would be appreciated. Peter was the beloved son of Bill and Jean and passed away in 2011. The Peter Szkotnicki Legacy Fund provides support for charitable activities or organizations that are dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Guelph community, and more specifically, in support of mental health programs targeting youth.

Memories of Bill Szkotnicki can be sent to

and viewed at

News Archive