I learned this morning that Peter Hobkirk passed away last week after a brief battle with leukemia. His son Paul informed me that on Wednesday June 14, Peter “died courageously and peacefully with myself, my dear mum, and my lovely sister by his side.” Peter was a Yorkshireman, English through and through. With his loving wife Valerie, he moved his young family, their son Paul and their daughter Sally, to Canada to seek their fortune, but kept his ties to his homeland. He enjoyed watching football matches (soccer to North Americans) on television while sipping a pint. Peter and his family made regular trips back to Yorkshire. Here in Canada, he worked in the dairy business in the production and marketing of milk. Peter and I shared an interest in agriculture. I grew up in the country and worked on dairy farms as a teenager. I remember fondly an afternoon we spent together discussing his career in the dairy business and our favourite breeds of livestock.
Peter was a kind, generous and gregarious man. I met him and his wife Valerie through my friendship with their son Paul. Peter and Valerie made their home on an acreage outside Spencerville and graciously allowed me and my hunting buddies access to the property for hunting. Over the years I had great upland and big game hunting opportunities on their property. Peter was not a hunter himself, but he had a deep love of the natural world and understood the realities of life in the wild. The fish pond in their garden is home to frogs and other pond creatures. The bird feeders they maintain attract a myriad of songbird species. The property holds a variety of game and non-game species. I had a great time sharing news of sightings, particularly of the swans that frequent the area, with Peter and Val. I shot my first deer on the property in 2012. Peter was ever ready to bring his tractor out into the field to help recover a downed deer.
Peter and Val were a great help to me when I developed my English accent for the stage. I am an amateur actor and I was cast in roles where it was required that I perform using an English accent. They assured me my stage English accent was convincing, something I very much appreciate. Peter and Val never failed to offer hospitality. My hunting buddies and I were always welcomed into their home before and after a hunt. He and Val always offered refreshment and were interested in hearing about our adventures. My hunting buddies and I are happily mentoring Peter’s grandson, Adam, as he joins the hunting fraternity. We will see he becomes an ethical and safety conscious sportsman.
Peter Hobkirk was a good and decent man, the salt of the earth. I am blessed that I knew him and will cherish the memories I have of the time I had with him. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Geoffrey