September 21, 1935 – October 24, 2021
In loving memory ~
Born in Dunedin, New Zealand, Neville “Peter” Sinclair was a staunch All Blacks supporter, metaphorically born with a rugby ball in his hands. This passion for his team and for his home country never changed throughout his life, though he was also deeply proud of his Scottish heritage and being Canadian (depending on the waxing and waning fortunes of the Vancouver Whitecaps). In 1960, he left his home country seeking novelty and adventure, first moving to London, England, where he met his (since long divorced) wife Daphne Sinclair (nee Bowles, now McCormack) before moving to Canada and the wilds of the West Kootenays in 1963, settling in Rossland, BC, where he fathered three children (Jacqueline 1964; Fiona,1966; Craig, 1970), whom he deeply loved and proudly and generously supported until his end. Ask and his children will tell you without hesitation that he was always in their corner.
Before leaving Rossland and moving to Sooke on Vancouver Island in 1993, and eventually to North Vancouver, he left an indelible mark on the Rossland community and on the greater region as a renowned teacher of English literature at Rossland Senior Secondary School, as one of the founders of the Trail Colonials Rugby Club, and as a coach and creator of an incredibly successful field hockey program, taking his teams to the Provincials many, many times. In his younger years, he was also an avid fisherman, golfer, explorer, camper, and always a prolific reader until later eye troubles made this difficult. For him, teaching and coaching were sources of life-long pride and invigoration. In his later years, he resumed coaching, working with his daughter Fiona’s field hockey team, The Fury, touching even more lives and on occasion speeding them on to victory.
Upon learning of his death, hundreds of former students, friends, past colleagues, and former field hockey players shared unique remembrances of how he had positively changed their lives, sometimes in profound, life-altering ways. Indeed, the sheer volume of outpourings testifies to his widespread mark on the lives of others. With a ubiquitous pipe in his mouth and the lingering sweet sherry smell of pipe tobacco wreathed about him, with tales of adventure and impromptu historical exegeses, and with an ability to aptly and fluently quote poetry, military history, and literature, it is true, as one of his surviving friends said, “You don’t forget Peter.”
Shortly before dying, he was fond of quoting Macbeth, lamenting, “I have lived long enough. My way of life is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf.” For his family, autumn came too quickly; winter, even more so.
Neville Patterson Sinclair (1935-2021) will be sorely missed.
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