Martin Richard Peach
17 November, 1956 – 28 June, 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of Martin Richard Peach on June 28th, 2021 at the age of 64 at his home in Verdun, Quebec.
Martin was born on November 17th, 1956 at home in Norden, Lancashire, England. He was the first child of Nora Tomlinson Peach and Fred Peach who were married on June 6th, 1954 at Mount Pleasant Chapel in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire.
Martin moved with the family to Abergavenny, Monmouthshire in 1960 where he attended Park Street School. In 1965 the family moved again to Accrington, Lancashire where he attended Huncoat School.
In July 1966, he emigrated to Sorel, Québec, Canada with the family. There Martin attended grades 6-8 at Harold Sheppard School in Tracy. In 1969 we moved to Otterburn Park, Québec where he attended Richelieu Valley Regional High School for grades 9 to 11, graduating in 1972. He was in the Biology Club there and often brought home various animals to be with us for the summer holidays. Martin proceeded to McGill CEGEP where he graduated in 1974. He then went to McGill University beginning a bachelor’s degree in Biology which he did not complete. Instead he went to Parson’s School of Design in New York City to study commercial art for a year.
Between 1979 and 1984 after finishing his formal education, Martin travelled to England and Israel, worked at Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs Hotel with friends before returning home to Quebec. Here he pursued his interests in computer technology, nature and ecology, cycling, the outdoors, world affairs and climate change, eventually living in a caboose on the family property in Mansonville, Eastern Townships. He began publicly displaying his electronic art skills through contributing sound and light shows to accompany music for friends.
An avid reader and internet researcher, Martin developed a unique combination of technical skills and knowledge unattainable through formal academic education. He was a very thoughtful, self-educated person much concerned with the state of the natural and human world. He wasn’t a typical Canadian, since he didn’t particularly enjoy sports, but contributed a lot in other ways.
When Nora and Fred moved to Nova Scotia in 1996, Martin accompanied them to their new home but soon decided to return to Montréal where he resided for the final 25 years of his life.
Martin was a greatly beloved and respected technician in the Intermedia Studio Arts Department at Concordia University. Since 2001, Martin has been helping students realize their media arts projects. He was nicknamed ‘the wizard’ since no idea or problem - however grand or complex - was too difficult for him to solve. He was a brilliant programmer, circuit and sound designer. With his originality, creativity and phenomenal expertise, he inspired and mentored many generations of artists.
Martin was also a valued contributor and collaborator in many artists’ studios including those of Bill Vorn, Lorraine Oades, Barbara Layne, Ingrid Bachmann and many, many more. His expertise and generosity will remain a lasting contribution to the Electronic Arts in Canada.
Martin’s primary and favourite mode of transportation was the bicycle – winter and summer.
Martin was predeceased by his father Fred Peach in 2011. He leaves his mother, Nora Tomlinson Peach in Clementsport, NS; sister Alison Peach (Peter Holloway), Bath, UK; sister Judith Peach, Clementsport, NS; sister Kate (Anne) Peach (Peter Dawson) Bragg Creek, AB; nephew Owain Roland Peach Nicholson, New Denver, BC; nephew Liam Alexander Peach Dawson, Bragg Creek. He also leaves his treasured cat of many years, Beany.
Martin will be greatly missed and his legacy will continue in the artworks he helped to create, the students he inspired, and in the memories of all those who knew him.
Martin’s body has been cremated. A private memorial will be held by the family later this summer and a memorial is planned for September at Concordia University.
The family would like to thank all of Martin's friends and associates at Concordia University for their appreciation of his talents and especially Ingrid Bachmann for her help making connections and for her contribution to this obituary including the photograph.
Martin Richard Peach
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11 September 2021
Party Marty, or just Party, was what I called Martin. He was a best friend when I lived in Montreal around 1999-2001. I met Party while taking Bill Vorn’s introduction to electronic arts at Concordia. I think it was the first year it was offered.
Party was quite shy. I’d go often to the lab to get his help because I am not the greatest at technical things. There’d he be sitting, tinkering, computing, helping Bill and other students. I’d over listen and get closer because Martin would often talk very low and to the side. You had to get close to him to hear what he had to say. Instantly I could tell how wonderfully brilliant he was.
I made it my mission to befriend him. At first he was a little timid. After awhile we’d go for coffees or meet for lunch somewhere always riding his bike in his tight jeans. You’d see his choice of undergarments which I thought was pretty cute. He would take off his helmet, pull his long hair back that fell to his face, remove his thick glasses and give them a wipe, He’d tell me about different things he just read about in the cosmos, what he was working on, his favourite bands and performers like Marc Bolan and Joy Division.
Eventually it got to the point in our friendship that he’d come over to my place for dinners. We’d cook and hang hard, having some wine and a little herb we’d have a dance party. One of my favourites was when he showed up in an all black dress wearing a veil over his head for Halloween.
Athough a little embarrassed, eventually he invited me over to his place. It was a bit messy as he said he did not entertain much. We’d cook incredible meals. I’d help him tidy up then jam on his amazing vintage synths. One night cleaning we found a portfolio from a time when he went and studied art in New York. He had a huge amount of lined drawings of erotic art in fluorescent colours. They were beautiful! I was blown away.
Whatever Martin wanted to do he could. I will miss and cherish our memories together, PARTY!
10 July 2021
I only just received this unfortunate news so what I am writing comes directly and immediately from my heart. I truly loved Martin Peach. We worked together very often at McGill for several decades where he created amongst many drawings, his version of what I call "The WIzard" which became important for many slides which he created with his supreme skill using a sharp pen using just black and white. One of his Wizards is the logo for the current Office for Science and Society at McGill in our Chemistry Department. His creativity was second to none that I have experienced in my 55 years at McGill. I have a wealth of great memories while dealing with him over the years including a whole lecture on his work that I gave some years ago in different places including. the University of Copenhagen where the audience really appreciated the capacity Martin had to capture complex scientific concepts with a clear, simple drawing. He used just the right blend of whimsy and character. In fact, I commissioned him to create numerous drawings to celebrate various aspects of the lives of friends and relatives. He did a precious rendering of my mother in her garden with again, humour and exquisite style. I have shown a myriad of his drawings to dozens of visitors to my office. When I first met my wife (who is an artist), I showed her my Peach Collection and I know I impressed her by showing her my taste in art and humour as expressed by Martin's hand. She agreed enthusiastically. I am most distressed that he passed away at such a young age for Martin was just about the most special person I can say that I have known in all my time at McGill. I miss him already and now I find that he had other special talents that I now know from his obituary. My experience was all about his skill with his pen and his soft, very wry sense of humour. In fact, the last items he drew for me reveal his skills that are in a lecture that I give every year in different courses I teach.
9 July 2021
Martin and I were good friends at RVR (Richelieu Valley). We were the small skinny guys and were always the last two to be picked when teams were being selected by the super athletes who always seemed to be the designated team captains. We sure hated gym class! We established the biology club to give ourselves a safe haven where we could pursue things we enjoyed. I remember visiting Martin at his home in Otterburn when he had his pet gerbils. The gerbils spawned a complete cartoon collection. Martin was a truly gifted artist with a great sense of humour. Although we lost touch after high school, Martin will always be an important part of my memories of those years at RVR.
9 July 2021
Here is a photo of Martin when we lived in Mansonville, Quebec with his nephew Owain dipping his toes in the pond.
9 July 2021
Here is one of my favourite photos of Martin from 1973 on holiday in Cape Breton.
9 July 2021
Here is a photo of Martin with the family just before we came to Canada in July 1966. He was the eldest of our four children.
8 July 2021
I was introduced to Martin by Philippe Bezy, another expatriate and fellow electronic music maker around 1983. We shared views about the world, experimented electronics and computer in music recording and live shows. We acknowledged Martin's skills as a token of a brilliant future for music and arts. Martin invited us on a bike trip to his caboose. There his father, Fred, was having difficulties with a beaver who insisted on flooding the entry lane by clogging the pond's drain. Warm regards to his mother who at the time had returned from helping building schools in Nicaragua if I recall correctly. Martin was a poly-math as his father then told me, a testimony of British post-war humanist culture, a self-taught technician, who saw maths and nature as some of the numerous faces of beauty. I am deeply obliged to him for this seminal period.
8 July 2021
Before I first met Martin, he was described to me as “the guy in the 2nd sub-basement who makes everything here work,” and I wondered who this genius was who was responsible for the formidable intermedia output at Concordia University. I met him the next year, in 2011, when I began working in Ingrid Bachmann’s studio. We worked together once a week, drinking too much coffee, eating the beautiful snacks Ingrid always brought, and alternately bemoaning or laughing at the state of the world, for the better part of the next decade. He was an integral part of our Montreal art family.
It is very hard to imagine the Concordia Fine Art department without him; and his passing is an incalculable loss.
I had always assumed I would get to see Martin again. Though I eventually left Montreal and moved out west, I still assumed one day we’d all be sitting around the grey work tables in Ingrid Bachmann’s Concordia studio for 5 à 7, and that I would get to hear his perspective on this insane and terrible and extraordinary last year and a half, that we would get to compare notes on the state of human existence and the collapse of the “before times” from our various vantage points. Somehow I keep coming back to this – that we will never sit and share a bottle of wine with our colleagues again after a day of work at the studio, that I will never hear his brilliant and idiosyncratic opinions on anything again. This saddens me so much. And I feel grateful to have known him for the time that I did.
My deepest condolences to his family. Martin will be missed.