Dr. Peter James George, CM, O.Ont, age 75, the spouse of the Reverend Allison Barrett, died April 27, 2017, at home in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. He had lived fully in spite of his cancer, making memories for his family.
Peter was born September 12, 1941 into a family which once kept the lighthouse on Toronto Islands. He attended a three-room school there before earning his B.A, M.A. and PhD in Economics at the University of Toronto. His work as an economist helped prove the economic value of an indigenous way of life.
He joined the faculty of McMaster University in 1965 and rose to become the President and Vice-Chancellor, where he served three five-year terms. He was named President Emeritus when he retired in 2010. The university had grown and developed many new and innovative programs during his tenure, and he had raised almost a billion dollars for its support. Peter will be remembered in the residence and student centre built in his honour; “The Peter George Centre for Living and Learning.”
Peter was a member of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours. He was also honoured with the Order of Ontario.
Peter was widowed at age 55, but found new love with Allison. When they announced his proposal in church, he baked enough butter tarts for the entire congregation, to prove his commitment to being a great minister’s spouse. He remained a strong supporter and an inspiration to the end of his life.
Peter also welcomed with great joy their daughters, Lily Rose and Gemma who were adopted in China, and he participated enthusiastically in their care. He did everything for “his girls” including taking them around the world and introducing them to fly fishing and cottage life.
His memorial service at McMaster University on June 11, 2017 was a celebration of his life in words and music. The Governor General of Canada, the Honorable David Johnston, who had also been a university president and had observed Peter’s work, spoke as a friend and colleague.
Letters of condolence may be sent to the Reverend Allison Barrett at 20 Halson Street, Ancaster, Ontario L9G 2S3.