Jack Peter Williams. For those who knew him, I hope these few photos bring back a lot of wonderful memories. For those who didn’t, I hope the words below introduce you to the wonderful, resourceful, brilliant and terribly focused man that he was.
The world was a better place because he was in it. He was a beloved father, son, brother, friend, uncle and mentor to so many.
He was a lot of other things as well.
He was strong. He once wrestled a wild squirrel that was trapped in the fireplace. For any of you that have never done that, it’s not easy. They are small but strong, and vicious when scared. It took thick work gloves, a heavy blanket and a lot of swearing, but he did it.
He was gentle. He once force fed a meal worm to an abandoned baby bird, speaking gently to it, encouraging it to swallow it. The baby bird didn’t make it, but the memories of the gentleness he displayed will last forever.
He was a wee bit vain; he did try one of those hair growing creams for the balding patch on his head. It didn’t last long; by time the 30 day supply was gone, he’d thankfully decided balding was better.
He was bold. On a Puerto Rican beach, he interrupted a Body Building Magazine’s photo shoot to take his own photos of the bikini clad ladies; he thought my father would enjoy them. The pro’s stepped aside, actually moved their equipment to let him take his shots.
He was funnily foolish. After finally getting his brand new BMW in England 3 days earlier, he took my visiting parents to a safari park. Riding through the monkey enclosures, he stopped, surrounded by a colony of the little guys. One lone cutie jumped on the car roof, leaning over playing peak a boo with baby Jordan in the backseat through the rear window. He suddenly jumped off the car, with the chrome rim from the back window firmly in his hand. While he’d been keeping everyone amused, his little hands had been busy peeling the chrome. He took off, his prize in his hand, coming totally off of the car. Peter jumped from the car and ran after him, into the hundreds of his little friends. I don’t know which was more foolish, entering the field of monkeys on foot, or taking a brand new BMW into the enclosure. He laughed about it afterwards, but it took a while.
Peter was adventurous. He loved boats and sailed as a young man. He loved flying and was once pretty close to having his small aircraft pilots license. He loved hiking, exploring, camping and climbing.
He was a world traveler and comfortable any place. He spent many months working in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He was once invited to dine in a Saudi Sheik’s home, a terrific honor. At dinner, a silver tray was presented with two sheep’s eyes; a delicacy. Peter struggled, but accepted, knowing it would greatly offend his host to decline. For those of you who wonder, you cannot swallow an eyeball like a pill, it’s big! He tells of crossing the desert in Saudi once, and hitting a large vulture with his vehicle. Stopping to take a look, he felt thunder underground and looked up to see a Bedouin fast approaching on horse. Without missing a beat or slowing down, the Bedouin swooped in, leaned over and picked up the dead bird, and kept on going; obviously dinner for that night.
He told stories of walking in the water on the beach in Jeddah and feeling the sands move under his feet. He had stepped on the back of a huge stingray and for a moment was surfing along before losing his balance. Fortunately the stingray went one way and he the other.
He was patient. He had scouted out a dark spot for star gazing in Canada and armed with lawn chair and blanket, he would lay back for hours watching meteor showers, the northern lights or on the couch, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He was a natural leader. He could form a group, have it coordinated, organized and the goal well in sight faster than you can blink. He pulled together the Boy Scout movement in Munster as Group Chair and rejuvenated it. He joined the RASC in Ottawa and with his fresh ideas and skills, in a few months, had increased membership and rejuvenated their special program events for the public, including spear-heading the SmartScope project. He championed and coordinated the Emergency Field Day event for the local amateur radio club for many years. He then co-partnered the event with the Scouts to encourage the on-going interest in amateur radio for the future. Every year for 10 years, the third week of June saw him camping, building amateur antenna towers, climbing to secure them, and sending out the message “CQ CQ, this is G8DBX mobile”. He led by example!
He was a diverse music lover, a big Booker T fan, Hank Marvin from the Shadows, and particularly loved Holst’s The Planet Suite. He was a huge Sarah Brightman fan, beginning with her days as a dancer with Pan’s People and Hot Gossip to Pie Jesus from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Requiem Mass.
Peter had the strongest will power of anyone I know, especially when it came to food. He may love something, but when he decided it was time to let it go, it was gone. He adored white bread and butter, but passed it by for brown bread and margarine. He loved Super Sugar Crisp cereal, called Smacks in England. He then decided it was time to move on to healthier Shredded Wheat, which then gave way to Raisin Bran.
He loved to cook. He invented a dish in England that he called White and Green Fish. It consisted of cod, sugar, peas and onion; it was never the same twice, but always delicious. During that time, he made the worlds best spaghetti sauce from scratch, sometimes so hot that it was named two-hankie sauce.
He was a pack rat. When he moved from England, he brought with him 6 garbage bags of various left-over diodes, transistors, led’s, and other electronic bits. When Jaye was born, and a baby monitor was needed, Peter built one; he didn’t have to buy one single component… right down to the plain gray box to house the components, he had all the parts.
He loved to barter. When he wanted a newer model amateur radio, he started the trade chain with an old Selectric typewriter and within six steps, had his rig!
He was very good with his hands; whether it was building a doll house for Jaye, including carving tiny decorative curtain rods, plumbing, building a rope bridge, designing furniture, tying a bow-line or a necktie!
He was a teacher. When Jordan asked how electricity was made, a small scale power plant was built with construx, magnets and lots of wire. The back of an envelope or a napkin was often his “chalkboard” as he illustrated his lesson over the dinner table or lunch at Tim Horton’s.
He was blessed. Three beautiful wonderful children, Andrew, Jordan and Jaye; each unique but spend some time with them, you’ll see Peter pop out in each one of them!
Jaye in her focus, her natural mathematical abilities, her interest in astronomy, her drive and her sense of humour. Jordan in his loyalty, his mental quickness, his natural talents in the computer and engineering area, his ability to adapt and his love to push buttons and turn knobs. And Andrew, the love of outdoor adventures whether it was on water, up mountains or down caves.
He was lucky. He once found a very expensive camera in a Cairo taxi cab. He found a $100 bill on the closet floor in a Paris hotel room and he found hope when most gave up.
He was needed somewhere more than he was needed here now. I know he’s doing something wonderful, organizing, co-ordinating some grand idea as God’s right hand.
He was loved, by so many who have passed before him, by everyone here and many more who couldn’t join us today.
He is missed.