It is with deep sadness and regret that we announce the death of Peter Dawson, on 12 June 2015, following a sudden illness. Peter was instrumental, along with co-owners Brian and George, in saving the Books on Beechwood store when it was about to be closed in December 2012. When the possibility of taking over the bookstore came up, Peter mused that it had been one of his dreams to run a bookstore when he retired. This was a dream that becane reality as Peter always enjoyed new challenges! Peter set out to learn about the book industry and he became actively involved in learning the ins-and-out of running a bookstore – from attending book fairs and dealing with publishers to cleaning carpets and ordering supplies. Over the last two years, Peter kept searching for new ways to expand the bookstore’s reach with increased advertising and presence in the community. As an example, Peter revived the Books on Beechwood tradition of bringing in authors for a dinner followed by a speech, first at the Clocktower Brew Pub and then, more recently, at Table 40 operated by Fraser Café.
Peter’s love of books and reading was one of the reasons he was passionate about the bookstore. Peter joked that he was the store’s best customer – he was a voracious but discriminating reader sometimes enjoying a book a day on his vacations!
Peter had not actually retired when he helped take over the bookstore in 2013, he was still active as Chairman of Iridian Spectral Technologies, a high-tech company that he helped found in 1998. Peter would spend most days either at the bookstore, Iridian or both as the occasion required. Prior to that Peter enjoyed a long career at the National Research Council of Canada where he was first a research scientist and then eventually became the Director-General at the Institute for Microstructural Sciences.
Peter had a loving family with his wife of more than fifty years, Marilyn; two daughters, Jennifer and Kathryn; and their families, including husbands Rob and David and three grand-daughters, Anna, Erin and Sarah (also a part-time Books on Beechwood volunteer on occasion!).
Peter will be dearly missed by all the staff at Books on Beechwood including Antoinette, Bonnie, Bridget, David, Di, Hilary, Jill, Margaret and Stephanie and also by all the staff and his friends at Iridian. Brian Sullivan and George Laframboise will especially treasure their long friendship with Peter over the years, first at the NRC and then at Iridian and Books on Beechwood.
We will all miss Peter’s wisdom, wit and guidance.
There will be a celebration of Peter’s life at Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Avenue, on Friday, June 19, 2015. There will be a visitation from 2 p.m. followed by a celebration of life at 3 p.m. and a reception afterward. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Leading Note Foundation or the charity of your choice.