Peter Pauls

Peter Pauls

Thursday, December 14th, 1933 - Wednesday, June 9th, 2021
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Peter M. Pauls (1933-2021)

With heavy hearts of grief we announce the passing of our father, friend, husband, brother and grandfather - Peter M. Pauls on June 9, 2021.

He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 63 years, Madeline May Pauls (nee Pries), his son Ken Pauls and Maria Steeds, his son Steven Pauls and Melody Driedger, along with his three grandchildren, Dylan, Haley and Adam Pauls, as well as his three step grandchildren, Christian, Julian and Gabriel Steeds. He is survived by his siblings, Rev. Jacob Pauls (Dorothy), Tinie Sawatzky (Eldon), Mary Giesbrecht (John), John Pauls (Norma), and Alvin Pauls (Judith). Peter was predeceased by his father Rev. Jacob M Pauls, his mother Maria Pauls (nee Funk) and his brother Harry Pauls (Elizabeth).

Peter was born on December 14th, 1933, on a farm northwest of Morden, Manitoba. He attended various local public and Mennonite schools, eventually landing at Winkler Collegiate in grade 12, where he met Madeline Pries, the woman who would become the love of his life and greatest inspiration. They were married on July 25th, 1957. With his bride and books in hand, Peter embarked on his academic journey, which would lead him to many institutions as both student and teacher, including local public schools, the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, as well as the University Wisconsin. His crowning achievement, which he often stated was owed to Madeline’s undying support, was his successful PhD defense in 1968.

As a family man and professor of English at the University of Winnipeg, Peter met many challenges in the coming decades. In the scholarly setting, he rose the ranks, developing his expertise as a researcher of Shakespeare, a respected translator of low German texts, and a lecturer. Indeed, his scholarly pursuits were various, everything from Chaucer to Milton, from poetry and Theatre to Mennonite Studies. Meantime, his church community at Charleswood Mennonite provided stimulation and support for which Peter expressed much gratitude. And during this time, Peter steadfastly encircled and protected his family. As a father, Peter loved his sons, Ken and Steven, helping them in their growth and development. Learning to balance the requirements of family and career was sometimes difficult but a rewarding challenge for our paterfamilias!

Peter had so many interests, from horses to hiking, from Einstein to Astronomy. These fascinations were on full display when Peter hit the road or boarded an airplane. They led him to libraries in California, to museums in Europe, to cathedrals in Britain and France, to cruises on the Rhine. He could be found clamoring up the Whistlers in Jasper (without a rope) as well as ascending the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Early on his ventures included his entire family (which only enhanced the educational agenda!), but later they were spent with Madeline alone, rekindling their passions and interests. At times, his travels were designed to support his sons who could be found now on their own journeys. Whether he ventured near or far, in an urban or rural setting, in a tent trailer or a B&B, he always seemed to have a good map, a guidebook and plenty of coffee - and Madeline.

The autumn years were perhaps the kindest of all. For Peter, the highlight was bonding time with his grandchildren, whom he loved so dearly, as he and Madeline were the sleepover hosts so many times. Peter could then be found taking down quips and quotes, binding books, bike riding to the park and skating. He had a penchant for promoting deep philosophical conversations, even with wee little ones, little debates that often ended in a funny way. With our dad and grandpa, hilarity always seemed to happen! Even near the end, a twinkle always formed in Peter’s eyes when the grandkids stopped in or even if their names were mentioned. Clearly, this is a man who loved to think and research, but more than that he loved to connect with us, to laugh, and to love us along the way!

When reflecting on Peter’s life at the end, his sons were most amazed by this especially, that despite the power of the man’s intellect, it was his compassion, warmth and non-judgemental attitude that prevailed. We are truly grateful for this.

Peter expressed his thanks to Cancer Care Manitoba, Dr. Alvin Schroeder who was both a mentor and a friend, and Dr. Joel Gingerich and Dr. Patrick Cho who provided superb support for him over the final years.

Donations in Peter’s memory can be made to Cancer Care Manitoba or Mennonite Central Committee.

Memorial service
Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 2:00 p.m.

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Private Condolence

Don Sawatzky

Posted at 09:33am
Dear Aunt Madeline, Ken & Steven,

We were so sorry to hear of Uncle Pete’s passing. This is such a difficult time to mourn a loved one, with no gatherings allowed. I have good memories of Christmas family gatherings at Grandma Pauls’ where the uncles would laugh and tell wonderful stories of their growing up years. I was always amazed how many questions they could answer while playing Trivial Pursuit. Praying for God’s peace and comfort during these very difficult days. We will be watching the livestream on Thursday, and know while we are not there physically, we are with you in spirit and prayer.

Don & Joyce Sawatzky

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