Beautiful Nature

HARRY CHARLES PETERS

It is with much shock and grief that I announce Harry Charles Peters passed away suddenly but peacefully in his sleep on April 23, 2021. His last day was spent going for a long bike ride, napping with his dog, Harpo, and enjoying laughs and wine and pizza with friends well into the evening, followed by watching the Jets game in his mancave.

He was predeceased by his parents John and Doris Peters and is survived by his loving wife Bonnie Cheadle, brothers Robert (Mary White) of Fredericton, David  (Rhonda Rubinstein) and nephew Dashel of San Francisco, and Alan (Donna) and nephews Jesse (Michelle) and children Harper and Sawyer , Aaron (Lyndsey) and children Jai, Jager and Jones, and Brett(Michelle) and son Seth, and his stepsons Walter and Jesse Spooner, all of Winnipeg.

Harry was born March 23, 1951 In Fredericton, NB and the family moved to Winnipeg 6 months later. He was raised in Silver Heights where he graduated from Silver Heights Collegiate, followed by earning a degree in English from the University of Winnipeg and studying Law at the University of Manitoba. He articled with Legal Aid Manitoba and remained there for his entire career. (He was the lawyer with the toaster collection in his office.)

He will be greatly missed by his family and friends,  his congregation at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, his golfing friends in the Garden City Seniors golf club, his fellow craft beer aficionados at the Winnipeg Brew Bombers and his neighbours and fellow dog walkers in the community.

If so desired, a donation in his name would be welcome at the Canadian Hemophilia Society - Manitoba Chapter, Jocelyn House or the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

It is very distressing for all of us that we cannot gather in our shared grief. When Covid restrictions allow, a memorial service will be held at his church. The date and time will be announced at that time.

 

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Harry was full of life. He loved to laugh and joke and look on the bright side of life. He was an avid collector of vintage goods. He was delighted when he found old school textbooks that were from his early years and just as happy with Hycroft pottery, Fiestaware, Pyrex, concert posters, lamps,  and the like. As much as he loved the things from the past he looked to the future. He was always up on the news of the day, the stock market, technological advances and was open to any discussion on any topic. He was a longtime fan of the Bombers and the Jets and could be heard cheering (or groaning) exuberantly as their games progressed.

His brother Alan recalled that despite living with Hemophilia and the attending daily issues that came with it, he never heard him complain. He was extremely generous in helping others and in causes of those less fortunate and felt his career in Legal Aid was so right for him.

When he found an appreciation for the NBA, he followed the career of Steve Nash avidly on any team he played for. His loyalty transferred to the Toronto Raptors after Steve's retirement.  After he was cured of Hepatitis C, he took up golf in his 60's and found a love for that game.

He said Harry lived in a Rainbow world before the Rainbow became the symbol for so many. His life was often like a scene from the play Rent.

His brother David wrote:

Six (of many) things that my brother Harry taught me about living

Harry liked being obviously different.  Being extra-large and a hemophiliac made him by nature a non-conformist and he realized that opened up a world of freedoms.  He would be his own person, keen to share his bright mind, droll wit, and intensely-relished indulgences.  He was protective of me, our family, and all those around him whom he knew to be different by kind and degree.  He taught me to be and love who I was, even when I didn’t know how.

Harry was a teacher though he bluntly disputed the way he was taught.  Why memorize facts when what you needed to know was where to look for them?  More important to Harry was to know whose facts were being claimed, and were they the ones that mattered most?  He taught me to always question authority.  

Harry taught me to wake up to the world.  His enthusiasm for life was genuine and infectious.   As boys growing up he observed my reluctance in the morning, my weary view of life.  For an entire summer, he took it on himself to share what excited him about the day to come.  To notice what was happening around me, to rise up.  He changed my outlook forever.

Harry taught me about giving.  He never lost his hippie-heart of sharing what you had with those around you.  When he worked at Legal Aid up on Main Street, he’d come upon a throng of street beggars as he walked to work each day.  His response was to choose one and always give to that person whenever he saw them.  The effect was that Harry got to know this person, and that the others in this street community made it their business to always know where that person was so that Harry could offer his gift.  He invented ways to be generous.  Harry taught me that giving is personal, a choice, to be done with dignity and without attitude or expectation of return.

Being smart and informed appeared to come easily to Harry.  But he did work at it.  He was always reading something, whole volumes of encyclopedia, scouring newspapers, savoring issues of Rolling Stone, Mad, Ramparts, and Esquire (the magazines of our youth).  Later in life, he collected every textbook that he could remember having studied in grade school, to understand the influence they had on his life.  He loved to argue, mostly to see what logic or stories would emerge from thinking aloud.  Harry taught me that argument was about thinking and ethics, not just winning.  

And now Harry is teaching me about gratitude, loss and letting go.  This is the hardest of all his lessons.  I miss his cheery “Oh-hi-Dave!” hello, his updates on the minutiae of his life, his guffaws when hearing a story, his urgings to talk again soon.  I look up to all my brothers, and Harry especially — due to his size and extroverted character and crazy love of life.  Farewell Harry, I’ll leave the light on for you.  

 

His brother Robert wrote:

Harry travelled frequently to New Brunswick over the years to spend a few weeks with our mother (until she passed in 2016) and with Mary and I. He went with Mum to a few tai chi classes.  I recall his taking Mum to Unitarian church services a few times which she enjoyed.

Harry really enjoyed assisting Wilmot United Church here with their semi-annual rummage sales. He would often try to coordinate his spring or fall visits to coincide with the sale dates so he could help them out. The aging male workers really appreciated his help with the heavy lifting and set up.

We enjoyed his visits immensely. He would often take mother on a short vacation to PEI to visit the relatives there, or to Nova Scotia to see mum’s brother and his name sake, Harry Pridham, then hang out with us for the remainder of his visit. Many evenings were whiled away watching Raptors games and sampling New Brunswick’s finest craft IPA's. While Harry’s beverage of choice was beer, I was able to introduce him to scotch which he seemed to enjoy (or maybe just tolerate).

Harry was an inveterate collector of the unusual and I remember many trips to Value Village to see what item might be worth acquiring. Golfing was another of Harry's passions. I gladly stored a set of clubs for him here in Fredericton, and he really enjoyed getting out on our local courses, weather permitting. 

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