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PETER (PETE) VANDER GRAAF (published on March 24, 2010)

PETER (PETE) VANDER GRAAF With great sadness, the Vander Graaf family announces the passing of Peter Vander Graaf at the Deer Lodge Centre on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Remaining to forever cherish Peter's memory are his wife Patricia, of 21 years of marriage; sons Larry (Sharron), Donald (Gloria); daughter Nancy (Mike) Roach; five grandchildren, Janice, Daria, Sandi, Kelli, and Jeffrey who always had a special place in his heart; great-grandchildren Kai, Daisy, Dylan and Jaida who put a special smile on his face; brother Frederick; sisters Anne (Gordon) Bryden, Betty McMullan, Marjorie Atkinson. He was predeceased by his first wife of 40 years, Dorothy Beatrice Vander Graaf; brother Arthur; father and mother William and Bertha Vander Graaf who immigrated to Canada from Holland, married in 1919 and had six children. Peter was born in Winnipeg, MB on October 13, 1923. The Vander Graaf family was very active in the church and lived most of their lives in Elmwood. He attended Lord Selkirk and Sir Sam Steel Schools in his formative years. One of Peter's fondest memories as a boy was of him riding on the handlebars of his father's bike to go fishing at Lockport. On his 13th birthday, Peter received recognition for Bravery from the Citizens of Winnipeg for saving his sister Marjorie from the family house fire. In 1942, at the age of 19, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (P.P.C.L.L.) where he proudly served his country during the Second World War. Peter served on the Executive of Elmwood Legion #9 and was a Life Time Member. He married Dorothy Beatrice (Beeton) on August 14, 1946. Together, they raised three children and lived in the house built by Peter on Talbot Avenue in Elmwood. Following his marriage, he joined the Winnipeg Police Department where he proudly served the citizens of his beloved Manitoba for 33 years. Dorothy and Peter were extremely active in the community and he served as President of the East Elmwood Community Centre. They loved the Whiteshell and spent many days with their family at Falcon and West Hawk Lake. He retired on March 31, 1978 at the same time as his long time friend and partner Jack Taylor. Detectives Peter Vander Graaf and Jack Taylor were hardnosed, tough, principled police officers commonly admired and praised by local merchants, businessmen, lawyers and judges during their law enforcement careers. He received numerous awards and recognition including a Commendation for Bravery for rescuing a number of tenants from an apartment fire and Special Medal of Achievement from the Mayor of Winnipeg for his dedication and service to the citizens of Winnipeg. Peter Vander Graaf was in fact a legend in his own time for all the right reasons and will remain part of the folklore and mystic of policing in the rough north end of Winnipeg in the 1960s. Following his retirement from the Police Force, Peter worked for 10 years as a carpenter for the Province of Manitoba Natural Resources at Birds Hill Provincial Park. He loved the outdoor work and made many special, long lasting friends at the park. Upon his retirement from the park, he and second wife Patricia travelled widely visiting family and friends. The family cottage at Toniata Beach, Falcon Lake was always a hub of activity. Peter hosted many family friends and relatives to the late hours of the morning. He always had a story. He had a great sense of humour that was reflected in his numerous hilarious sayings and quotes. Peter will also be remembered for riding his quad down to the dock and on his return, making specific stops at the watering holes to visit his friends in the campground and cottages. He was always ready and willing to help friends and family whether it was a building project, lending tools or providing advice. He never expected anything in return except, thanks Pete. He was affectionately known as the Honorary Mayor of Toniata. Some of his fondest memories were attending the R.C.M.P. Western Canada hockey tournaments throughout Western Canada cheering and supporting his sons playing hockey. Peter always talked about hunting and fishing in the northern parts of Manitoba with his friends and family. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, curler, carpenter, gardener, entertainer and story teller. Peter was extremely proud of his children, Larry, Don and Nancy. His favourite picture was the picture of Don and Larry in their R.C.M.P. red serge and Nancy in her Registered Nurse uniform. Peter Vander Graaf was a man's man with a love for life and he lived it to the fullest. A Celebration of the Life of Peter Vander Graaf will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 26, 2010 in the Covenant Christian Reformed Church, 653 Knowles Ave., Winnipeg. Following the church service a reception with food and refreshments for all friends and family will be held at the Elmwood Legion #9, 920 Nairn Ave. Please attend to have one on Peter. The family wishes to send special thanks to the caregivers at 3T Deer Lodge Centre. You are all marvelous; Elmwood Legion #9 and Veteran's Affairs Canada. You make us proud to be Canadian, and also to all the friends and family that supported Peter prior to and during his days in Deer Lodge Centre. Pete, you were one of a kind, God Bless you


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