Mr. Bruce Petersen (July 24, 1934- June 18, 2018) has passed away in the Christian hope of entering the presence of Jesus there to await the resurrection in the new heaven and earth.
He will be greatly missed by his loving and closely knit family: Helen, his wife of 61 years; daughter Barb Matousek and her husband Paul and granddaughters Emily and Allie; daughter Carey and her partner Colin McNicol with her Golden Retrievers Ember, Cedar and Autumn; and son Tom and his partner Angela Casullo and her daughters Alexia and Samantha.
Bruce was born in Hamilton and brought up by mother Grace and father Jim, in Winnipeg. He achieved his BA at United College, now the University of Winnipeg, and his Bachelor of Pedagogy (BEd) at the University of Manitoba. He completed his Honours English at the University of Western Ontario became an English Specialist at the College of Education in Toronto.
Helen and Bruce met at Manitoba Pioneer Camp when they were teens. Helen went to teach in Fort William in 1954 and in 1956 Bruce arrived to teach at the Vocational School. They were married in Fort Frances July 13, 1957. Bruce spent four years at Selkirk High School and 28 years as Head of English at Westgate CVI. He was fortunate to retire early in 1989. He loved teaching English, enjoyed his colleagues – many of whom are still great friends today, loved his students and missed them the most when he retired. Bruce was also involved in ISCF (Interschool Christian Fellowship) and led many school activities over the years. The friendships that arose from the early days of teaching and church also still remain strong. He is lucky in the wonderful people that were part of his life.
Bruce passed on his love of camping and of nature to his family through tenting, canoe tripping and tent trailering together in the summers. Trips were made to both of Canada’s east and west coasts.
Helen and Bruce spent hours together many in a canoe, watching for wildlife, identifying warblers and discovering orchids in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.
In the early 60s Bruce became a member of the Fort William Library Board and served both as its Chair and as an establisher of the Thunder Bay Library Board during amalgamation in 1970. He also served on the Northwestern Ontario Regional Library Board.
In 1974 Bruce became the Chief Negotiator of the Secondary Teachers’ Negotiating Team. During the subsequent strike, Bruce was the first local teacher to serve on an OSSTF takeover team and assure that local teachers’ concerns were kept prominent. The eventual outcome was constructive and established progressive teacher-board relationships that promoted student benefits in the classroom.
In 1983 Bruce became Chair of the MNR Wabakimi Park Boundary Committee which oversaw the expansion of the park to some five times its original size for the possible long-term survival of Woodland Caribou in Ontario’s Boreal Forest. Bruce became contracted with the World Wildlife Fund(WWF) as a member of their Endangered Spaces Canada-wide team. As a representative of the local environmental group Environment North, Bruce served on the MNR Lands for Life NW Ontario. This round-table undertaking had as its objective the province’s commitment to preserving 10% of its distinctive ecological features. As a WWF advocate, Bruce promoted the successful establishment of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.
Bruce had also had many passions and hobbies. With carpentry he spent much time and energy in creating a distinctive and artistic mark on the family home. He and Helen created art pieces and called it “Sticks and Stones”. His photography business became a serious venture resulting in published pictures in calendars and books. He had been an active member of St. Thomas Anglican Church.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday June 23, 2018 at St. Thomas Anglican Church officiated by Rev. Jonathan Blanchard. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Canadian Cancer Society, St. Thomas Anglican Church or a charity of your choice.
Bruce Petersen will be remembered in the Blake Funeral Chapel Memorial Grove. Annual dedication service Sunday, June 9, 2019.
Canadian Cancer Society
1093 Barton Street, Thunder Bay ON P7B 5N3