In addition to a full life as a businessman, politician and volunteer, Peter Dueck always had time for the people he loved.
“We never thought of him as a busy person, because he had undivided attention (for his family),” said his daughter, Larraine Kandal.
The former Central Fraser Valley MLA died on Feb. 19 at the age of 91.
Dueck was born in 1923 in the U.S.S.R. At age three, he immigrated to Canada with his family, settling in Alberta. At 18, he moved to B.C., but briefly returned to Alberta to marry Helen, whom he first met in Grade 2. They married on Nov. 16, 1946, and set up their home in Abbotsford.
Dueck was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, and is survived by his children Ed, Gerald, Larraine and Leonard, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Kandal described her parents as a wonderful team who built a strong family. She said her parents were “such hospitable people” and the Dueck home was a focal point for social gatherings attended by family and friends.
Dueck began his business career in 1951 as co-founder of MSA Motors in Abbotsford. He went on to establish other car dealerships, worked as a real estate salesman, and purchased and operated a real estate and insurance agency.
He began his political career in 1978, serving as an alderman and deputy mayor for Matsqui. He turned to provincial politics in 1986 and was elected as a member of the Social Credit party.
“He was a very passionate person and he believed in what he was doing,” Larraine said. “We are so proud of him as a father, and what he did in his life. We will always remember that.”
Local politicians also expressed their condolences for the loss of Dueck and remembered his contributions to the community.
Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said in a statement that Dueck left a legacy of community service as a person who “always put the public interest and the community before all else.
“Peter was a personal friend, an inspiration and a mentor and I will miss him greatly. My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of Abbotsford city council are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time,” said Braun.
Abbotsford MP Ed Fast issued a statement with his condolences, stating that “Abbotsford has lost one of its great community leaders.”
Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong said Abbotsford “has lost a leader whose passion for public service was guided by the highest standard of integrity and ethical conduct.
“Peter stepped down from provincial politics just over 21 years ago. In the ensuing by-election, he opened the door for me to enter provincial politics. We remained good friends and he acted as a valuable mentor, particularly when I followed in his footsteps to also become the minister of health,” said de Jong.
“Peter Dueck will always be remembered as an individual who set the standard for ethical conduct, both in life and in office.”
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 at Central Heights Church (1661 McCallum Rd.). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada (www.kidney.ca).