Floyd Bennett Williston
Born In: Sydney
Born: January 12th, 1931
Passed on: December 28th, 2015
He was born on Jan. 12, 1931, he lived; he died on Dec. 28, 2015.
After a brief illness, Floyd passed away peacefully.
Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Floyd came west in 1954. Ever the traveller he was the Canadian representative for the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and was involved in the planning for the two World Youth Festivals, in Moscow in 1959, and Vienna two years later. The World Youth Festivals for Peace and Friendship, Mir I Druzhba, Rauha ya Ustivis. The festivals were occurring in Europe every two years at that time.
In Budapest he married his Winnipeg sweetheart, Elsie Sawiuk, his lifelong partner, and when they returned to Winnipeg with infant son Donny he became manager of the Co-op Book Shop in which capacity he also became the impresario for the Co-op Folk Concerts, bringing in such notables as Pete Seeger, for whom he was Canadian agent, Guy Carawan, Odetta, Ewan MacColl, the Mitchell Trio, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and even had a contract with Bob Dylan (who never showed up), as well as many other luminaries in the field of folk music field at the time and played an important role in the Canadian folk song revival of the '60s and '70s.
Over his lifetime Floyd’s career included: A founding member of the Winnipeg Folk Singers and the Winnipeg Folk Festival; New FACESS: Child and Family Services: General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres: Director of the Provincial Job Office (SNNEP); a member of the Manitoba Peace Council; freelance correspondent for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick newspapers; partner in Galleria Travel, Manitoba Maritimers Association; and in the last few years he was a member of the Boards of the Seven Oaks Historical Society and the North East Winnipeg Historical Society.
Despite all these activities Floyd also found time to write. He authored the first biography "Johnny Miles, Nova Scotia’s Marathon King,” Boston marathon runner and two-time winner, with whom he formed a lifetime friendship and then “Through Footless Halls of Air," the stories of several RCAF pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain in which two of his brothers died, David and Albert.
Floyd is survived by his wife Elsie, sisters-in-law Phyllis and Mary, cousin Jean Buck and many nieces and nephews in Nova Scotia and Ontario.
Floyd was predeceased by his two sons Donald and David, his brother-in-law William (Sawiuk) and by his in-laws, Peter and Irene Sawiuk. He was also predeceased by his mother Katherine (McLeod) Williston and father, John Henry Williston; brothers and sisters, Malcolm, Royce, David, Albert, Art, Harry and Dr. Johnny, Isabelle, and Mary; his nephews, Jack, Jimmy Billy MacDonald; and his uncle A.A. McLeod, (Ginny).
A special thank you to Dr. Harvey Lee and Dr. Pilat and the caring staff at the North 332a Concordia hospital for making him as comfortable as they were able.