Hon. William "Bill" Rompkey

May 13, 1936 to March 21, 2017


A bright light has gone out. It is with broken hearts that we announce the death of the Hon. Bill Rompkey who passed away peacefully on March 21st at the age of 80.

Beloved husband to Carolyn (Pike), devoted father to Hilary (Joel) and Peter, and “awesome” grandfather to Max and Ana. Predeceased by his brother Ron, son of William and Margaret (Fudge). Bill was born in Belleoram, Fortune Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, grew up in St. John’s, attended Bishop Feild College and graduated from Memorial University, BA, MA.  He was awarded Alumnus of the Year at Memorial University in 1980 and later a Honourary Doctorate. Though he spent most of his life in parliament, he would tell you he was first and foremost an educator. He earned his teaching qualifications from the University of London, England, began teaching in St. John’s and soon after moved with Carolyn to Labrador where they both taught. He later became principal of the Yale School in North West River and then the first Superintendent of Education with the Labrador East Integrated School Board.

Labrador holds a special place in the hearts of Bill and Carolyn, as that’s where their adventures began, as they started their family and made lifelong friends. In 1972, while working on his PhD at the University of Toronto, he won the Liberal nomination for Grand Falls-White Bay-Labrador, representing Labrador in the House of Commons. First elected in 1972, he was undefeated in 6 subsequent elections and served in the cabinets of Rt. Hon. Pierre Trudeau and Rt. Hon. John Turner. Bill was a tireless advocate for Labrador, a land he held so dear.

Appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1995 by the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien representing Labrador, Bill served as Whip and Deputy Leader of the Government, as well as, Chair of the Fisheries Committee. In 2011 he retired at age 75, leaving Parliament Hill after almost 40 years of service. A true bipartisan parliamentarian, he was respected and admired by his colleagues.

He was the author of several books, including The Story of Labrador of which he was most proud. A dedicated member of the UNTD (Naval Reserve) Bill’s love of the sea is reflected in his book St. John’s and the Battle of the Atlantic. Equally his love of music was apparent at an early age as a bugler and a drummer in the Church Lads Brigade (CLB) band.

We imagine him contently sitting in front of the fireplace with a good book, surrounded by the sounds of family and music, his glasses perched on his nose, wearing his beloved hand knit wool socks, a faithful dog at his feet. He taught us about dedication, hard work, dignity and strength; how to form our own opinions, seek out the truth and forge friendships. He touched so many lives and has done so much for so many. We are very proud of his legacy.

Cremation has taken place.  Relatives and friends may visit the family at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, St. John’s on Thursday, March 30th from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9:30 p.m.  Funeral service will be held at the Anglican Cathedral on Friday, March 31st at 2:00 p.m. Interment at the Anglican Cemetery, Forest Road. Donations in his memory may be made to the Canadian Liver Cancer Foundation and Memorial University of NL.



2-4 p.m. on March 30, 2017

7 - 9:30 pm on March 30, 2017

Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
View on Map


2:00pm, Friday March 31st

Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Church Street, St. John's

Interment at the Anglican Cemetery, Forest Road


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Carolyn, I was very sad to hear of Bills passing. He was vibrant and funny and undoubtedly contributed so much to Labrador over a lifetime of service. A bright light has gone out. My thoughts are with you and your family. Liz Paddon, Connecticut.

Carolyn, my heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. May God give you the comfort and peace that you seek, and may the soul of your loved one rest in peace.

Bill was one of those people who make you feel good about the world. He was a great parliamentarian, and a highly effective representative of Labrador in both the House and Senate. His insight and his lively wit will be missed.

Sandra and I regret that we will not be able to get to the service at the cathedral in St. John’s on the 31st. We will be there in spirit. Carolyn has our deep sympathy for her loss.

David Anderson, Victoria, B.C.

My deepest sympathies to you and your children and grandchildren, Carolyn,. I can only say thank you to you all for sharing this special man with Labrador. His impact has been felt in my own life for the past 54 years as teacher, principal, Superintendent-giving me my my first job, trusted and respected politician, and always my friend and mentor. He will be missed by all of you and so many more. May the many wonderful memories give you peace and courage as you move on. I can’t help but smile as I wonder who will watch out for the “dangling participles” as I write. Rest in Peace, Bill. Well deserved but still too soon. God Bless you and yours , Carolyn, as you say Farewell today. Patty

Carolyn, Hilary, Peter and families,
We were both so sorry to hear of Bill’s death. We are thinking of you and send our deepest sympathy.
So many memories of Memorial days, teaching at Upper Island Cove, visits to Brooklyn, his being best man at our wedding.
And of course, joining with many others in tribute to his decades of life in Canada’s public service.
Bill and Jessie Abraham

Peter, Carolyn, Hilary, Joel and kids. We wish we could be there to share your sorrow. Please accept our deepest condolences on Mr. Rompkey’s passing. What a wonderfully warm, caring and exuberant soul he was. Our thoughts are with you. As the wise poet Kahlil Gibran wrote: “You are not enclosed within your bodies, nor confined to houses or fields. That which is you dwells above the mountain and roves with the wind. It is not a thing that crawls into the sun for warmth or digs holes into darkness for safety, But a thing free, a spirit that envelops the earth and moves in the ether.” All our love, Didi and Darryl

Please accept my sincere condolences. I hold fond and respectful memories of my time as a student at Bishops College.

Carolyn & family,
So saddened to hear of Bill’s passing. We have very fond memories of Bill when he visited Springdale when we lived there, and Bill and Roy’s reminiscing of their school days together at Bishop Field. We are out of the Province at the present time and unable to attend the funeral service.
Be assured our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

Hi Caroline,

So sad to hear of Bill’s passing. He was a great man and I loved him as a dear friend. On behalf of my wife, my family and the Labrador Shrimp Company we want you to know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.
I am sure you will cherish your memories of a great man beloved by all but missed most by his family and loved ones. Trust that God’s Spirit will encourage and strengthen you and yours in the days ahead.

God Bless,

Peter & family,
Sincere sympathy on the passing of your father who had a well lived life. Treasure your memories!
Anna Power

My thoughts and prayers are with you Carolyn and your family at this time.

I had the pleasure to meet Senator Rompkey when I worked at the Ministers’ Regional Office in St. John’s, NL.. Sincerest condolences to his wife and family.

As one of Bill’s students in the earliest years of Bishop’ s College, he showed me how to develop many skills that have stayed with me for all these years. He was loved, respected and admired. He will be missed by all who knew him!
Jean McKinlay Muncy

Desr Carolyn: I sas so saddened to hear of Bill’s passing. My many fond memories of him stretch all the way back to our days at “MEMORIAL on Parade St.”. A life well lived indeed . Rest in peace, Bill. God bless. Since condolences. Neville

So sorry to hear this sad news. I always enjoyed seeing Bill and you, Carolyn, at events in Labrador. Always a warm greeting and a kind word. He will be so much missed.

My deepest condolences to Honorable Bill Rompkey’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Dear Carolyn and family. We send your our sincerest condolences as we remember a life well lived. Requiescat in Pace.

Peter and Hilary Neary, London, Ontario

To Carolyn and family

Please accept our sincere condolences. What a good run it has been…what a legacy……so much to be proud of. Don’t forget behind every good man is a great woman.. Our thoughts are with you

Phil and Ruth lake

To Carolyn and Family’
So sorry to learn of Bill’s passing.. We always enjoyed our meetings with you and Bill when we least expected it usually at musical events in Newfoundland. Please accept our sincere condolences as we share in your loss.
Love and Prayers
Dorothy & Bob MacLeod

To Carolyn and family:

Please accept my deepest sympathy. He was a wonderful man and I always enjoyed our conversations.
Treasure your memories.

Maxine Powers Stanley

To Carolyn and Family:

Our sincere condolences for your sad loss. You were my gym teacher at Macpherson Academy 1959-60. God Bless.
Josephine (Wicks) & Harry Hayden