Spencer-Richard Daniel “Peter” passed away at home, suddenly, on December 22, 2004 after an eventful life rich in family, friends and admirers of all ages. He is survived by his wonderful wife and best friend of nearly 47 years, Lorraine; devoted children – Sharon (Ralph), Jack (Darlene), Sandra and Yvonne; grandchildren – Felicity, Tiffany, Desiree, Michael, James, Shannon, Erin, Nicholas, Dawson, Hali; great-grandchildren – Kael, Jessie, Ashley, Anik; sisters – Ann “Rosie” and Faith; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews in the Spencers, Cadwallader and Nicholson families.
Born on February 24, 1930 in Port Hardy to the late Dewey and Annie (Cadwallader) Spencer, Peter was raised among loving relatives and friends who, still recall their escapades with the freckle-faced redhead who became a man of prodigious capacities. After a stint as a student at Vancouver Tech, he came home to be a logger, carpenter, crane operator, truck-driver, tug-boat skipper, fisherman (the Diane S.) and volunteer fireman, for 21 years. One of the original ten founders in 1968 of the Port Hardy Volunteer Fire Department, he was Fire Chief from 1971 until his retirement in 1989. He oversaw its development into a modern institution, with thirty well-trained volunteer firefighters, and two fully structured fire halls, each equipped with pumper and rescue truck.
Peter was heroic in his determination to fight a lifelong asthma condition. Noted for his kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness, he was the best friend anyone could wish for, giving excellent advice when approached. His deep moral sense was matched by a wicked wit and a great talent for storytelling. The strong character of this tall, lovable, brilliant man, with his rollicking laugh, drew an outpouring of two hundred and thirty-seven persons for his memorial service at 11 o’clock on December 30th, conducted by the Reverend Dan Funnell at the St. Columba Church, and many who could not attend sent messages. A reception followed in the church basement with sumptuous refreshments provided by the churchwomen. Contributions in his memory may be made to: the Heart & Stroke Foundation or St. Columba Church.
The following poem by Peter’s daughter, Yvonne Spencer Lacquement was included in the program:
As a friend and a father, he had the sould of a saint
He had compassion for all, whether strong, weak or faint.
When our rowboats went drifting, he’d wade out to save us
We’ll never forget all the wisdom he gave us.
The trees grow their moss, on the side facing north
Don’t slip on the ice or run on the wharf.
Use a fork when Mom’s watching, put your plates in the sink
Don’t stand in the boat or you’ll fall in the drink.
Take a day off to play, to walk in the wood
Listen to nature, for all of its good.
Go digging for clams, when the tides off the beach
There’s joy on the shore, magic in reach.
Before cutting the wood, measure it twice
Use mom’s favourite fork for the catching of mice?
Bring fish home for dinner, to eat with mom’s bread
Have friends in to visit, think with your head.
Help out your family, and friends when they need it
And if the garden is big, teach your children to weed it.
Trees are for climbing, when the chores are all done
Birds are for watching, fishing is fun.
A father is for guidance, in morals and love
And for our Dear Dad Peter, we thank heaven above.
For his laughter and wit, to his friends young and old
We thank God that we had him, our memories are gold.