Fulfilling the Vision
After years of hard work Lee had turned Weiller and Williams Co. Ltd. into a truly successful enterprise. The Edmonton office was doing great business and through his professional contacts Lee began investing in ranching operations. After getting involved with the Kamloops Livestock Company he also bought into several other ranches in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. For 21 years, he was a partner in the 87,000 acre “Q” Ranch in south eastern Alberta.
One of Lee’s former colleagues, Keith Sterling, remembers him saying: “Land will always be a good investment as there will never be any more of it, but there will always be more people.”
In 1973 Lee did have to sell some land near the Edmonton Stockyards when the city wanted it for development. The feedlot, fences, grain elevator and other buildings were all moved to a beautiful property near Namao that he had purchased two years earlier. Two houses on the Edmonton land were the homes of employees. Lee also moved those, along with Gordon Geislinger and his wife Doreen.
Gordon worked for Lee feeding the cattle, building and repairing fencing and generally minding the place. In return they had free rent, were paid $700 a month and had one dairy cow. Doreen remembers how Lee would just head out into the middle of a herd in his hat and trench coat and start pointing at the cattle he wanted. He had an amazing eye for livestock. After Lee passed away in 1982, his son Jack inherited the Weiller and Williams Ranch. It no longer has cattle but it still a beautiful piece of land.
Image Credits: Lee Williams with other ranchers, 1978, Musée Héritage Museum