Peter Cotsworth

It is with great sadness that we announce that Peter Cotsworth passed away very peacefully with his family attending on August 12, 2016 at the age of 89 years after a brief illness. 

He was vibrant to the end.

He was predeceased by his first wife (1949—1976) Diane, his sister Barbara (Don) Sara 2010, and his brother James Bernard (Peggie) Cotsworth 2010.  He is survived by his loving wife, Joan, and his eldest brother Bob (Mary) Cotsworth. He is also survived by his beloved daughters: Barbara (Jack) Murphy and Nancy (Paul Kazakoff) Brager, and his beloved step-daughter Kim (Carlos) Keim. He had six grandchildren, two step grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Peter was born in York, England to Edith and Frank Cotsworth, MBE, and came to Guelph, ON from Belfast when the family returned to Canada during WWII. He had a tendency to “play hookey” but his hard learning at Skegoniel in Belfast made Canadian high school easy and he always finished at or near the top of his class. In his undergraduate years, he worked in the engineering departments of Stelco and the CNR.

He went on to get his degree in civil engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1949. He started his career with the Dept. of Highways in NE Manitoba where he stayed with homesteaders. In these early years, he learned the hard life of farmers and labourers, and was always most compassionate to people who worked very hard physically.

In 1954, he left the Department of Highways in Manitoba and took the position of Sr. Resident Engineer for Yoho Nat’l Park for the TransCanada Highway Construction. In 1955, he was promoted and moved to Banff as the Senior Engineer in the field in charge of all the design, location, and construction of the TransCanada Highway in Banff and Yoho Nat’l Parks. He stayed in this position until all the grading was completed and considered that portion of the TransCanada to be among his best works.

When he realized that practicing heavy civil engineering would mean that he would largely be away from home, particularly in the summer, he looked for a field which would allow for some summer holiday time with his family. He found it in petroleum engineering and joined Canadian Fina Oil (Petrofina) in 1956 as Company Civil Engineer. Over the years, he built roads, bridges, company town-sites, pipelines, gas plants, and was the Owner’s Engineer for the construction of the Fina Building in Calgary. From 1966-1969, he was Project Superintendent for one of the first major steam injection experimental projects in the tar sands near Fort McMurray.

He was promoted later to Production Operations Manager. In that position, he was on-site with the famous Red Adair – successfully fighting the largest sour gas well fire in Canada at that time. In 1979, he was promoted to Vice President of Production for Petrofina. The company was sold to Petro-Canada in 1981.  He became the Vice President of Heavy Oil there and was later promoted to Vice President of Conventional Production.

Peter retired in 1983. He was a lifetime member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta (APPEGA), and was a longtime member of the Calgary Petroleum Club, the Earl Grey Golf Club and the Cowichan Golf and Country Club.

Peter and his beloved wife, Joan, moved to Mill Bay in 1985. Golfing, hunting, fishing, curling, sailing, gardening and bridge played a big part in his recreational life. He loved humour and was ever ready with a quick response, a play on words, limericks and poetry.

He had a great memory for figures, poems, song lyrics and ditties.

In 2013, Peter and Joan moved to the Berwick in Victoria where he quickly formed many new friendships.

He was always blessed with brilliant mentors and loyal employees. He never asked for a raise or promotion but received many. On his desk there was an old box marked “THE SECRET OF SUCCESS “ which inside says “ WORK”.… He was a man of strong principles and ironclad integrity but had a genuine compassion for others. He loved all his family dearly and shepherded them all with extraordinary loving care.  He, in turn, was adored by his family who will miss him forever.  His many, many friends will also miss his mischievous quick wit and genuine caring.

The family wishes to thank the wonderful medical staff on the 4th floor of VGH for their compassion and skill trying to give this valiant man another chance to continue his life for a while longer.

A gathering to celebrate Peter’s life will be held at the Royal Colwood Golf Course on

August 26, 2016 at 1 o’clock. Memorial tributes should be given to the Salvation Army who gave him a chocolate bar when he first landed in Canada.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.mccallgardens.com.


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