Peter Dyck

Peter Dyck

Tuesday, June 2nd, 1936 - Sunday, November 1st, 2020
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On the evening of November 1, 2020, at Seven Oaks Hospital, Peter Dyck, beloved husband to Aganetha; father to Richard (Tricia), Deborah, and Michael (Diane); beloved and loving member of his extended family, nieces, nephews; and friend to countless others, passed away at 84 years of age due to congestive heart failure. He is survived by his wife and children.

Peter was born in 1936 in Rosental, Ukraine. He was fond of relating his early years. For example, he described speeding over frozen, water-covered farm fields chasing fish dashing away beneath the ice. From memories of these years, he would defend strongly his assertion that white asparagus is the superior asparagus. He also described making small explosives from bullets discarded by Russian soldiers. In the latter years of World War II, at around 9 years of age, he with his mother fled from Stalinist revolutionaries. By then, men, including fathers, including his, had been “disappeared.” Families had broken apart and scattered in their run for safety. Peter could not relate much of that journey. When he tried, his face crumpled in grief and pain. While he said he encountered some kind, heroic people, at the core of that experience is a horrible event he could not bear risk recounting.

His mother and he arrived in Halifax by cattle ship. From there they travelled to Winnipeg, sponsored and aided by the established Winnipeg Mennonite community. His brother Hans and sister-in-law Lieschen, already in Winnipeg, took them into their home. Later his brother Gerhardt and sister-in-law Lena, along with their growing family, would arrive from Paraguay, to which they had fled. His two sisters, Margaret and Mary, settled in Vancouver.

Peter finished grade 11, then got a job as a stock boy at Eaton’s to help support him and his mother. He would work there 35+ years, being promoted regularly. His mother’s and his first house was 231 Lipton Street, where his and Aganetha’s first and second children, Richard then Deborah, were born. In the mid-1960s, Peter moved the family to a newly-built house at 26 Bering Avenue in the new Westwood neighbourhood of Winnipeg. That’s where Michael joined the family. In the early 70s, Peter was promoted to manager of the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Eaton’s store. Shortly after returning to Winnipeg for a promotion as buyer for Western Canada, Peter left Eaton’s to start his own businesses with others. Because of his expertise in inventory control, he travelled for CESO (Canadian Executive Service Organization). He visited Manitoba reserves, and travelled as far as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Moldova, and Volvgograd, Rostov on Don, Saratov in Russia, and Valijevo, Serbia to share his experiences and help entrepreneurs refine their businesses.

Peter was a very handy man. By himself and with the help of others, notably his kids and Aganetha’s brother Jack, he renovated each house to suit his family, building rec rooms, a cork-walled TV room; “secret” dens for the children under stairways; snazzy upper bed/lower carrels; sunrooms, including at the cottage he later bought at Falcon Lake (he did extensive renovations there); opened up family rooms by knocking down walls; built private bedrooms for his eldest son. Plumbing, electrical, electronics, carpentry—he was roundly skilled.

Life for Peter, before, and with Aganetha and family, was an adventure. They travelled several times to Vancouver to visit his sisters and see the mountains and coast. They travelled to Jasper and Banff to ski. They travelled south to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Badlands, Nevada, and the Grand Canyon. [Note to parents who travel with unruly kids, it does no harm to pull over on the highway and exhaust the kids by having them keep up with the car by running alongside in the ditch.] Almost every year, if not every year, Peter would arrange with his friends the consolidation of four or so camping sites either at West Hawk Lake in the Whiteshell or St. Ambroise on Lake Winnipeg. One of the group, which got together otherwise for beery evenings of song, would drive out a day early to arrange the reservations. After moving to Prince Albert, trips to the woods continued with new friends met through their church. There, on a small, meandering river, Peter and his children had a particularly trying adventure that involved RCMP and searches, but never mind.

The love, loyalty, and companionship of George, Vic, Peter, Ed, and Waldy, close friends and members of their bi-weekly singing group, and long-time friends Heinz, John, and Peter Sr., sustained Peter over the decades. David Zinger and Peter continued to be close friends after their business partnership was retired; in fact, right to Peter’s passing. (Please forgive any omissions; they are ours and accidental, not Peter’s, clearly.)

Peter was a long time volunteer at First Mennonite Church, including as Sunday School Choir leader. His faith never left him.

Nothing was more important to Peter than family, who he loved unconditionally, especially Aganetha and his children. As Aganetha’s career as artist grew, Peter came to support her 100%. This was not an entirely easy transition, given traditional roles expected of Mennonite wives. Because he loved her so dearly, he became her main photographer and assistant and accompanied Aganetha on many of her international artist residencies and to her many exhibitions.

It needs to be mentioned that, with close friends, he and Aganetha, later in life, went on an ocean cruise. This was very brave on Peter’s part, given the ordeal of arriving to Canada via cattle ship. The thought of returning to the open ocean was terrifying. But he went along, and then went again on a second and third cruise. Peter showed strength and bravery his entire life.

Deep appreciation for the excellent care Peter received at Grace and Seven Oaks Hospitals and from the kind home care workers who visited him nearly daily.

The family requests no flowers be sent. Instead, if you wish, please donate to a charity of your choice. That would have pleased Peter.

Due to COVID-19 no funeral will be held.
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Private Condolence

Henry J Rempel

Posted at 08:49pm
Deborah and Aganetha. Very sorry to hear of the passing of Peter. I still maintain that Peter was one of the most handsome men I have ever seen. I met him on neighbourhood walks. This dignified man looking like he could be the president of some country. He would offer a big smile and was very friendly. May the memories hold you. Henry J Rempel and family

Paulette Bourgeois

Posted at 05:00pm
I am so sorry to learn to Peter has died and this is truly one of the most poignant tributes I've read-- and lately, at this age, I read a lot of them. Peter was one of my Mother, Freda Rempel Bourgeois' absolute favourites and I remember well his storytelling, that twinkle in his eye and a warm, knowing smile that can only come from deep inside a person of great strength, humanity, intelligence and humour. He was a wonderful support to his family's passions and open to every adventure ( glad he tried the cruise!). Thank you for bringing back some memories. He will be greatly missed by a great many.


Posted at 12:36pm
Dear Aganetha and family; We were heartbroken to hear of Peter's passing. May he rest in peace and may your warm memories comfort you in your grief. We are thinking of you and holding you in our hearts. Love, Michael & Diana

Louise Bloomfield

Posted at 08:24am
My deepest condolences to Nettie, Richard (Tricia), Debbie, Michael (Diane). I have many fond memories of Peter especially being at Oma and Opa's farm. He always brightened a family gathering with his intellect and sense of humour. I loved him dearly and he will always remain in my memory.

Heather Elaine Hayward (nee Dyck)

Posted at 10:52pm
Dear "Aunt" Aganetha and family (Richard (Tricia), Deborah, and Michael (Diane)): very saddened to hear of Uncle Peter's recent passing - I remember him so well, as kind, caring, and incredibly enthusiastic whenever we spoke to him. When I was in highschool, I worked on some sort of project, where I was required to "interview," a manager, and at the time, Uncle Peter was a manager at Eatons. He graciously met with me (and my handheld cassette deck tape recorder), and answered a whole host of questions to help me with my project. So considerate! And when I see his photo above, I will say that he is exactly as I remembered him (with only a few more gray hairs). And in my memories too, are the bus trip that Uncle Peter and his cousin/our Dad (Jacob Dyck) took down to Amish country in Pennsylvania (if I have this right), in the late 90's, where Dad got re-acquainted with Emily, a long lost love from 50 or so years earlier. Uncle Peter was instrumental in getting Dad back into life after (our) Mom passed away, and they had quite an interesting bus trip together. Well, Uncle Peter and Dad are up in heaven, likely doing some major reminiscing once again. Uncle Peter will of course be greatly missed, and thought of very very fondly by all. Sending love and sympathies from British Columbia, from the Haywards (Heather - nee Dyck), Russell, Michael, Katelyn (Cody)).

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