|1 Oct 2019|
|Deaths & Obituaries|
|MASTERS, Peter Arthur |
Died on 16 September 2019, aged 96. The following obituary was written by his son, Tod Masters:
It is with much sadness that I must inform you of the passing of my father, Peter, on September 16th, 2019, in Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, six days short of his 97th birthday. It was a sunny day, his room was full of flowers and photos and music and my brother, his wife and I were with him as he moved on, free from any pain or discomfort.
He was a man with so many qualities that I admire: honesty, integrity, generosity, compassion, empathy, wit, intelligence, dignity and many more. A multitude of influences shape a man’s character, but I believe his time at Tonbridge reinforced these traits in my father. He always spoke fondly of his time at the school and remarked to us about it often.
He was a modest man and at times he said he thought he had led an unremarkable life, but nothing could be further from the truth. By the age of 35, he had done and seen more than many will in a lifetime, having played cricket at Lord’s, joined the Royal Navy, shelled Utah Beach on D-Day, sailed to the Pacific in the final months of WWII, journeyed to the Antarctic, graduated from Cambridge and migrated to Canada to start a new life.
One of my favourite photographs is of him striding onto the pitch at Lord’s for his first innings against Clifton in July 1941. The image is of a confident 18-year-old at his physical peak after spending the summer months working on a farm in Devon - a young man ready to take on the world. He and his Tonbridge classmates would go off to war the following year, a war from which many would not return.
After the war, in May 1950, he joined the crew of the British research ship RRS Discovery II and sailed to the Southern Oceans and Antarctica for 20 months. Back in the UK, he was accepted at Trinity College, Cambridge and earned his M.A. in the Classics: Ancient Greek and Roman literature. He was still reading and translating ancient Greek in the months before he passed.
It was in Montréal that he met my mother, who was working as cabin crew on Trans-Canada Airlines, the predecessor of Air Canada. They married in August 1959, my brother was born a year later, and I followed two years after that. Over the years, my parents must have come to a thousand ice hockey games (many outside in the frigid Montréal winters) and countless swim meets and rugby matches.
My brother and I left Montréal to study in other parts of Canada and as he approached retirement, he and my mother decided to leave the cold winters of Québec and relocate to Vancouver Island. Their home in Nanoose Bay backed onto a golf course and he enjoyed many rounds on the Fairwinds links well into his late 70s. Only my mother’s declining health forced them to leave the home they loved in 2015 and move into Nanaimo. After 58 years together, Hazel passed in January 2017 at the age of 87.
While I can only ever hope to be half the man my father was, I see in myself and my brother many of the qualities that defined him. We both inherited his sense of humour and many happy memories are of us enjoying a joke or slightly off-colour comment, usually about politics or politicians. We both share his love of art and classical music and I have been an aficionado of Shakespeare since my secondary school years.
He was one of the kindest men I have ever known, and he was anything but unremarkable. He was and always will be my hero. I am heartbroken to see him go and I will think about him always.