William Preston Gilbride CBE DSO ED LLD was born at St. Alban's Vermont, USA, son of Roland Cecil Gordon Gilbride and Irene Jeffrey (Preston) Gilbride. He came to Canada in 1911 as an infant and was educated in Montreal Quebec. Gilbride served overseas in WW2 in England, France, Sicily, Italy and Northwest Europe. He was with the 1st Canadian Division during the invasion of Sicily and Italy.

In June 1944 Gilbride was a Brigadier with the 1st Canadian Corps and serving in Northwest Europe. He was "Mentioned in Despatches" and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). Gilbride was also made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and received the Canadian Forces Efficiency Decoration (ED). Gilbride was made an officer of the Legion of Merit (USA), a Commander, Order of Merit (Italy), and a Grand Officer, St. Mauritius and Lazarus (Italy).

After WW2 he continued his career in the insurance and investment business and rose to become Chairman of the Board, Grafton Group Limited and Chairman of the Board, Greywinds Investments Limited. In April 1960 Gilbride married Mrs. Elizabeth Louise Campbell Martin. They had a combined family of seven children; John Ernest Michael Rolph, Penelope Jane Rolph, Jill Martin, Campbell Ian Blackwood Martin, Eve Martin, Cynthia Ellis Gilbride and Gordon Slater Gilbride.