Peter was the youngest child to be born to Ukrainian immigrant parents, Alexander and Nellie Mulla on the family farm in Stead, Manitoba. Alexander immigrated in 1909, and then was followed a year later by Nellie and son Steve, first to Williamstown PA in the US before immigrating to Canada in 1914. Sister Marge was born at that time while living in the US. After coming to Manitoba, Peter’s other siblings, Joseph and Ann, were born in Stead before his own birth.
The hard times of pioneering the wilderness had gotten a little bit easier by the time Peter came into the world, the economy of the Stead area had really sprung up. He still grew up with lots of hard farm work in the spring, summer and fall. Winters were a different type of hard work as he became part of making bush camps, clear-cutting and hauling pulp wood for the mill in Pine Falls. Peter was born at the time when the school was already operating. It was a hard and scary journey to walk the 3 miles each way to the school in all kinds severe weather and through wilderness. Marge at that time asked for the dog to accompany them to school to ward off the wolves and the parents agreed. The kids at school loved this and so did the dog because of all the extra feeding. Then, when Peter was going on his own in the winter, he would hook the dog up to a sled and get the dog to pull him to school. It was great and fast, only a half an hour journey when the road was packed hard, however, if the road was blown over with drifting snow, Peter would have to pull the sled with the dog trailing behind. This caused him to be late on many occasions instead of early! He often reminisced about those school days with the kind and strict teachers which made a lasting impression on him.
Peter was the last remaining child on the farm. In 1945 he purchased the adjacent farm to expand their existing farm. In 1948, Alex, Nellie and Peter sold their expanded farm and moved to Toronto for a new adventure. Somewhere in the prior years Peter had learned to operate a dragline, so when they first moved to Toronto, Peter went to Quebec and elsewhere for dragline jobs for a short period of time. Alex worked at a dry cleaner company and then later, Peter together with his brother Joe, started a Ukrainian Food type restaurant. Joe waiting on tables and Peter doing much of the cooking along side their chef, they ran it very successfully for 2 years.
In 1950 they sold the restaurant and Peter went to work learning the autobody trade at Robertson Motors, a GM dealer. He never got into the hands on trade much because in 1955 he landed a job as Autobody Shop Manager at Modern Motors, a Chrysler dealership. During this time a lovely young lady named Sophie, originally from Manitoba as well, hit a milk truck with her car. Modern Motors was where she ended up for her repair, and a new relationship blossomed that subsequently led to their marriage in 1953. After the wedding they honeymooned in Florida all the way down to Key West which was just subtropical wilderness in those days.
During those years in Toronto their 3 children were born; Gregory Victor, 1954 in Weston, Mark Andrew, 1956 in Weston, Elaine Marie, 1959 in Scarborough.
In 1962 he left Modern Motors to start a new career as Collision Appraiser for Collision Appraisal Services Toronto and was then in 1963 transferred to their office in Ottawa. They sold all property in Toronto, and cottage at Nottawasaga, packed up and bought a house in the Nepean suburb of Ottawa called Crystal Beach. Meanwhile in Toronto, Peter’s father passed away in 1964.
The Mulla family spent quite a few happy years living in Ottawa. Peter was very successful at his job and became the only Appraiser of heavy equipment in the Ottawa Valley. He spent many days on the road going from town to town appraising semi trucks, road building/repair equipment such as, Caterpillars and the like. When living in Ontario, Peter would really like taking the family on trips in the ‘60s. He took them to all kinds of places in Ontario and Quebec like the Toronto or Ottawa Ex, Niagara Falls on occasion, Expo 67 in Montreal twice, boating in the summers on lakes and rivers, snowmobiling on frozen lakes in the winters. Farther afield as well, like Vancouver, BC and New York City, not to forget some summers to Manitoba to see family. The hockey/skating arena was a very frequently visited place in those days too.
A drastic change of events took place in 1969 when Peter had a very serious health issue happen. It took the doctors months to actually figure out what was wrong with him. Determining that this health problem arouse from too much stress, Peter and Sophie packed up their life once again and made the decision to start fresh in back in Manitoba. They settled on a two acre piece of land in Dauphin near Sophie’s family who were in Winnipegosis.
Here, in Dauphin, Peter was onto another new career as he went back to school to get his Power Engineering Certification. With that he worked for the Dauphin School Division as head of maintance at the new multi million dollar Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School. He stayed in that job until his retirement in 1990 at 64 years old.
The kids were raised in Dauphin from that time until they left home.
Peter was a very busy man, always renovating, fixing and building, running a hobby farm, hunting, fishing, water skiing, spending time at their cottage at Waterhen, travelling with Sophie seeing Canada from coast to coast, sometimes to different States in the US, a trip to visit different islands in Hawaii and also to the Czech Republic. Building a new house was a major project that him and Sophie undertook. They lived in that beautiful house from 1978 to 1993. What he loved the most though was incorporating the kids and the grandkids as much as he could in all his activities.
After retirement and more freedom, Peter and Sophie travelled on an extended trip to Australia and four trips to the Netherlands where daughter Elaine and family were living. While in Europe they went to Spain, Germany and back to the Czech Republic.
In 1993, due to Sophie having health issues, they decided to move to Winnipeg where there were more amenities.
This is where they became members of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, a wonderful place to worship God and meet and make some very special friends. Of course, they still made many trips back to Dauphin to visit their son Mark and see old friends.
A family tragedy arose in Toronto in 2002 when Peter and Sophie’s oldest son Gregory passed away but was revived and then went on to live until 2006. These were the hardest years of Peter’s life as he travelled many times to Toronto to visit Greg who could not respond to people. Peter’s life line was his faith in Jesus that helped him to endure this extremely sad time and the years following his death.
As the years went on Sophie became more and more ill. For eight years Peter dedicated his life to Sophie’s care and even during the two subsequent years while she was in a nursing home. He would visit her there almost everyday advocating for her care. Sophie passed away in 2018.
Peter continued to live alone in their apartment on Westwood Drive in Winnipeg, still walking a couple of kilometers to buy groceries and carry them up four flights of stairs just for exercise. In 2019 he was a passenger in a car where he was badly injured, his health deteriorated from there. Daughter Elaine and husband Kai decided to retire and come back to Canada to look after him. Kai and Elaine were desiring to live in Nanaimo BC near their daughter and family so Peter willingly said that they should all move. The last year of his life he had a new adventure, living in another province and experiencing new things.
His final resting place was ready and waiting for him at Chapel Lawn in Winnipeg next to Sophie, so off he went, on the last journey back to his beloved Manitoba. He is greatly missed by all who knew him for his sharp wit, caring, loving nature and a real gift of hospitality. We are rest assured that he is safe in the arms of Jesus.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
Please share a story, memory or condolences for the family by completing the form below and click "comment".
Feel free to share as many memories and stories as you like. There is plenty of room so don't worry about running out of space. All messages are approved by our staff before publishing.