Leonard Joseph McPeek

Nov. 8, 1935 – Feb. 16, 2011

Lived Life Fully

Joe died at age 75 in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, surrounded by his loving family, when five years’ courageous life with cancer ended abruptly. He lived life fully, generously sharing his enthusiasm for life and unconditional love with his family and many friends.

Joe was born in Mazenod, Sask., and moved to Trail, B.C. in early childhood. He met his future wife, Berit (of Norway) when they were both students at UBC; they were married in Trail in 1959. They lived in Vancouver and Missoula, Montana, before settling in Nanaimo in 1969. Summers were spent at “the cabin” on Christina Lake.

Joe studied mathematics at UBC and the University of Montana, leading him to become a founding member of the Malaspina College math department in 1969. He was an enthusiastic and conscientious instructor, well-known for his humor and his demanding classes. Joe chose early retirement in 1993 to help care for his wife through her extended illness.

Joe’s passions were wide-ranging. As a talented lifelong musician, he played both professionally and for his own enjoyment. As a 5th-degree black belt, Joe helped run the Nanaimo Judo Club, conducted kata clinics, and coached children in the sport for 40 years. He was an early computer science devotee and an amateur astronomer. Joe loved collecting chess sets and exotic hardwoods, growing roses, acquiring instruments, and driving his RX-8. Later in life, he discovered a new passion, latin and ballroom dancing. Some of his fulfilled dreams came in the form of a grand piano, a telescope, a wooden boat, and his newest saxophone. He loved a challenge and would tackle anything with determination.

More than anything, Joe loved his grandchildren. He always had time to play with them and share his many passions with them.

Survived by children Mike (Jessica) of Victoria, Nina (Kevin) of Ladner, and Kristin (John) of Nanoose Bay, grandchildren Jackson, John, Hannah, Grace, Robin, Jesse, Beverley, and Andrew, and sister Sharon McMillan (Toronto). Predeceased by his wife Berit, brother Ben (Toronto), and parents Ben and Helen McPeek (Trail).

A celebration of Joe’s life will be held Sat., March 12, 1:00, at the Nanaimo Golf Club. Instead of flowers, please donate to the Canadian Cancer Society.

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