Obituaries & Death Notices
Peter James George
Published:Apr 29, 2017
Event Date:Apr 27, 2017
Peter James George C.M. O. Ont. Born September 12, 1941 and died April 27, 2017 in the arms of his darling at home, leaving us all an incredible legacy of love and accomplishment. Peter lived bravely and beautifully with cancer, packing as much joy, fun and memories into the last 6 months as was humanly possible. He leaves his beloved wife Allison, their adored daughters Lily Rose and Gemma, his son Michael and daughter Jane from his family with much-loved late wife Gwen (Scharf). He was an enthusiastic Poppi to Kristen, Spencer, Matthew, Trevor, Tyler and Kira; cherished brother to Karen; wonderful father-in-law to Patti and Bruno; treasured brother-in-law to Joan, Liz, Dante, Jamie and Carole; loving uncle to Blythe, James, Laleah, Silvan, Winona and Yulia; and dear son-in-law to Petty and stepson to Mildred. He was also much-loved by members of the extended Barrett/George/Scharf families and was a great friend and colleague to so many in the McMaster, Hamilton and wider communities. Peter was a fourth generation Toronto Islander where his grandparents were the lighthouse keepers. He attended a three-room schoolhouse there, went on to high school at UTS and did his degrees at the University of Toronto. But it was at McMaster University that he really made his mark. He joined the faculty there in 1965, retired as President Emeritus in 2010 and was recently delighted to be awarded an honorary degree from his beloved university. Peter's work as an economist was essential in proving the economic value of the traditional indigenous way of life and he was called to testify for the James Bay Cree during their successful case against Hydro Ontario over sovereignty of their lands. As Dean of Social Sciences, he was instrumental in starting Women's Studies, Labour Studies and Indigenous Studies, among many other innovative programs. He was President of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) from 1990 to 1995, which he built into a strong advocacy group for higher education in the province. It was as President and Vice-Chancellor for an unprecedented three terms (1995-2010) that his visionary leadership and personal touch raised McMaster to new heights, expanding in size, budget, buildings, athletics, programs, innovation, fundraising and world ranking, while maintaining an enormous volunteer commitment to many, many causes. He was, as many have said, "The People's President" who knew every employee's name and lived and breathed all things McMaster. He did this all while being the most amazing husband, delightful father and grandfather, loyal friend and exemplary citizen. He was the Marauders' biggest fan and was also an ardent fly fisherman, and we were all thrilled that we were able to help him get to one last "Trout Opener" just four days before he died. In the past months, our admiration for him only grew exponentially as his illness progressed. He was astonishingly brave and kind, even to his last moments, giving us all so many gifts to treasure and kindnesses to hold. A Service of Remembrance and Celebration of Peter's extraordinary life and love will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Therese Quigley Sport Hall, David Braley Athletic Centre, McMaster University. Please come and share memories with the family beforehand from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Robert Fitzhenry Studio, 3rd floor of the David Braley Centre, before the service. Reception to follow immediately afterward. We can never fully express our gratitude for the extraordinarily kind "village" of people who helped us through this. In lieu of flowers, please go and tell your dear ones you love them and why, or live your love in acts of kindness and thoughtfulness every day the way Peter did. Donations to Wellwood Cancer Resource Centre or The Peter George Centre for Living and Learning at McMaster University will also be gratefully received. "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." - Shakespeare
Category: Obituaries & Death Notices
Newspaper(s): Hamilton Spectator
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