REVEREND William R Pearson, known to Brisbane’s maritime community as Father Bill, has passed away this week following a stroke. He died on Tuesday evening with family and friends by his side.

His 62 years of service to seafarers began in Townsville in 1959 as a chaplain with what was, at the time, the Mission to Seamen.

Today, his service is epitomised by his role as chaplain at Mission to Seafarers in the Port of Brisbane, where he worked from 1996 to 2006, and from 2012 to 2016.

He was also known for another chaplaincy role in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve, where he worked for 28 years.

Captain Ross Nicholls, president of Mission to Seafarers Brisbane, described Mr Pearson as forthright, cheeky, and “a bit of a character”.   

Mr Nicholls said the community will remember Mr Pearson for his hard work for the mission and for the Anglican church, and his heart for seafarers.

“He was well known, well liked, and fully expected to say what other people might have been thinking but weren’t prepared to say. That was just part of his character.

Mr Nicholls said it was this character which helped him stand out in the port community. When asked how he was, his usual retort was “fit and dangerous.”

“He was a massive advocate for the mission. He would be at every social function because he was a bit of a socialite.

“When we would say grace, he would come out with a whole range of different graces, like ‘bless these sinners for their dinners’. I still use that to this day.”

Mr Pearson will be remembered by the many seafarers he served over the years.