BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
“If he laughs well, he is a good man.” – one of the many ‘Peckisms’ by Prince George resident Wilf Peckham
Wilf Peckham was not like most people. As many in the Prince George community know, Wilf Peckham lived a life so full that it spilled over and all who came into contact with him are the better for it.
Wilf Peckham, an icon in the Prince George community, passed away on March 2 at the age of 94.
Wilf lived most of his life in Prince George, from 1930 until the day he died. He was a WWII veteran (he served in France, receiving the French Legion d’Honneur medal in 2014), a local curling legend (68 straight years playing in the Kelly Cup tournament, which he won three times), and an active member of the community.
A perfect example of just how he lived his life can be found in the photo that was featured on his Celebration of Life program, which showed Wilf cross-country skiing at Huble Farm just this past January.
I had the honour of attending Wilf’s Celebration of Life on March 17, and those in attendance got to hear from family and friends about how he touched their lives.
There was the story from his son Gerry about the love he had for his wife Mae, who passed away in 2014, and how he wasn’t happy with her doctor while she was in hospital. I’d like to share a quote from his story that appeared in the Prince George Citizen:
“After the doctor had left the ward, Dad went to the nurse’s station and told one of the nurses: ‘I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there’s a guy here wearing a white coat pretending to be a doctor. I can assure he’s not a doctor.”
Wilf’s grandson Darrin spoke of the time he got to spend with him and their shared love of the outdoors and his friend John Warner told stories of his love of curling.
The theme that resonated throughout these stories was the fact that Wilf didn’t just live his life for himself, but for those around him. He didn’t just curl for personal achievement; he was also a long-time coach and mentor. He didn’t just enjoy getting outside and being active, he enjoyed doing the things he loved with the people he loved, especially his beloved Mae. He didn’t volunteer for a number of local charities for the pats on the back, but because he felt an obligation to give back to his community.
Wilf meant so much to so many, and that is what made him special. As a Member of Parliament, meeting and representing men like Wilf is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job, and I want to once again offer my condolences to the Peckham family. The entire Prince George community is feeling this loss alongside you.
As Wilf himself said in a Seniors’ Scene column by Kathy Nadalin featuring Wilf and Mae, “We both love Prince George. We have made many great friends over the years.”
I thought I would finish this with another great ‘Peckism’: “If you want to live 100 per cent, you have to give 100 per cent.”
Well, Wilf, we will do our best, but you’re certainly a tough act to follow.