An obituary for Peter deMarsh

Written by Family of Peter deMarsh on May 16, 2019


September 28, 1949 – March 10, 2019

We mourn the loss of our beloved Peter, whose life was tragically lost, along with 156 other souls, in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We are deeply grateful for the 69 years of Peter’s life. Survived by his life partner and wife Jean Burgess, son Luke (Cora), mother Edna, brother John and his children Alex (Lauren), Stephen (Eva), Andrew, Lily, Thomas (Drew); sisters Barbara (Greg) and her children Edwin (Kristin), Lila (Isaac) and Emilie (Andrew); and Helen (Maury) and their children Alexander, Zachary and Hayley (Liam). Also survived by his great-nephews and great-niece, Willem, Henry, Arthur, Edward, Nathan, Roslyn and Elijah. Dearly missed by the extended DeMarsh, Burgess and Frenette families. Peter was predeceased by his father Rev. Dr. Roy Grant DeMarsh.

Peter was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He maintained his childhood roots in Taymouth and Salmon Beach throughout his life. Peter graduated as an Ontario Scholar from Jarvis Collegiate in Toronto and completed an honours BA (economics and political science) at the University of Toronto. Peter helped organize the New Brunswick North Shore Forest Products Marketing Board. He was a central figure in the New Brunswick Marketing Boards uniting to form the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Producers Association (later Woodlot Owners).

Peter became fluent in French to be a part of the coming together of French and English woodlot owners. He held positions as manager of the YSC Forest Products Marketing Board, and President of the NB Federation of Woodlots Owners.

Peter took economics and forestry courses at St. Thomas University and UNB, followed by a Masters of International Development at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. He facilitated the creation of the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners (CFWO) and was Board President until his passing. Peter, as CFWO President, was an early member of the International Family Forestry Alliance and was IFFA Board President from 2011 until his death. He was on the Steering Committee of the Farm and Forest Facility of FAO (UN) and represented small forest owners at the UN Forum on Forestry.

In addition to family forestry, Peter had many other passions, foremost amongst them being his family, birdwatching, organic gardening and reading philosophy. He was proud of his organic market garden and was very involved in the NB chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association. Peter was a founding member, and first president of the Taymouth Community Association. He was a trustee of the Taymouth United Church and a member of the Rev Fran Brown Reiki Centre.

A memorial service for Peter will be held on June 1st at Wilmot United Church in Fredericton at 2 p.m., officiated by Rev Yvette Swan and Rev Jane Johnson. In lieu of flowers, we invite you to plant a local climate change resistant hardwood tree. The Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners and the International Family Forestry Association are setting up the Peter deMarsh Memorial Education Award. Options for donations: 1) for a charitable donation receipt for tax purposes – cheque, payable to the current fund administrator, UPA Development international, 555 Bd. Roland Therrien, Longueuil, QC J4H 3Y9 or 2) direct payment with a credit card on” (Award details there). Published in The Globe and Mail from May 11 to May 15, 2019

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