WR Arthurs Obituary

Bill was the creator of this website.

Peacefully on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at his home in Ottawa.  William Rupert Arthurs, son of John and Vera (Titus) Arthurs, was born on October 1, 1930, at Westport, Brier Island, Nova Scotia.  Raised at South Bay, Saint John, New Brunswick, Bill first joined the Air Cadets, and then the RCAF as a fighter pilot flying Sabres and Starfighters.

In the 1950’s while serving at the Canadian NATO air force base at Gros Tenquin, France, he met his wife, Jeanette (Rigg).  She was a schoolteacher on the base, and upon returning to Canada, they married on December 31, 1957.

A graduate of Sir George Williams University, Montreal, Bill continued to study things of interest to him.  He knew most of what could be known about both ferns and orchids.  He developed an authoritative database of the genealogy of the Titus family (his mother’s line) that extends back 400 years and contains almost 200,000 names.  Never one to do anything superficially, he developed expertise in the application of DNA analysis to genealogy and discovered that he is related (by marriage) to John Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

After his first retirement, he began a second career as an Investment Advisor with Davidson Partners Ltd. in Ottawa.  After exits, mergers and takeovers, Bill retired a second time, from Nesbitt Burns.

He will be remembered with love and respect by his son, David Arthurs (Erin Cassidy) and daughter, Sue Anderson (Brian), as well as his grandson, Peter Anderson. He is survived by his brother, Robert (Sandie Good) of Mount Hope.  Predeceased in 2009 by brothers Allan of Grand Manan, NB, and Ralph of Saint John, NB.

Bill died three years to the day after his beloved wife, Jeanette. 


My motivation for research into the Titus family stemmed initially from the fact that my mother, Vera (nee Titus), was part of the lineage. However, once I became more involved in the research, and the various historical, political and social elements began to unfold over the 350-plus years of living history covered in my search, I became more fascinated, more involved, with the numerous and varied cast of characters.

These people, particularly the descendants of Robert Titus, are my relatives and my ancestors. They are, and were, simple, hard-working and God-fearing folk. They are mainly farmers and labourers, with a sprinkling of shopkeepers, school teachers and clergymen. They have remained in that humble social status for much of the 350 years that they have contributed to and woven the fabric of North America. Only in the past 70 or 80 years do we find significant representation in the sciences, the arts or the senior ranks of the military. In religion, they are mostly Protestants, with the Baptist, Quaker and Methodist Churches being their preferred houses of worship.

Genealogical research is really detective work; a fascinating exercise in solving mystery after mystery, each answered question raising several more, producing moods in the researcher alternating between elation and frustration. As the data is collected, sorted and analysed, and as pieces of the framework fall into place, a mosaic of historical and social evolution gradually emerges and imposes itself over the entire work. In my case, not only did I gain an appreciation of the ebb and flow of history over that immense time-frame, but I began to realize that I might be the only means by which many of those people might achieve some measure of future recognition. With that realization comes a certain sense of awe and responsibility.

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