OBITUARY

Peter Sidney Ohler

December 29, 1940June 7, 2021

Peter Ohler was born December 29th, 1940, to his Swiss Father Victor and his English Mother Florence. He spent his childhood catching tadpoles in the ditches of Richmond to populate the koi ponds of Lulu Island Water Gardens, which his parents built in the 1930s on what is now Paulik Neighbourhood Park. Peter lost his father at an early age and grew up surrounded by strong women who gave him much freedom to roam. He grew his poet’s heart fishing in the Fraser and climbing in the poplar trees. But it was Peter’s ability to throw a football in startling spirals that forged his early path, taking him first to school at Vancouver College, and then to the University of Washington to join the Huskies. He often recalled the awe, excitement and terror of walking into Husky stadium as a young man to play in front of the largest crowd he’d ever seen.

When Peter left Washington, he returned to Vancouver and was drafted to the BC Lions, where he most famously threw the winning touchdown pass in the 1964 Grey Cup sealing the Lions’ last-minute victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. But Peter’s true passion was art, which he pursued first with a small bookstore in Richmond before opening his first gallery in the 60s in Vancouver with a small collection of Emily Carr and Group of Seven paintings. His first marriage produced three sons, Paul, Peter, and John, before ending in divorce. In 1971, he married Beverly in his little gallery on Granville Street in what was once “gallery row.” In 1976, Peter, Beverly, and their daughter Emily moved to Calgary where Peter established Masters Gallery Ltd., which operates to this day. With his charisma, love for art, and knack for building genuine relationships, Peter built Masters into a hub for people to gather, learn, connect and share. He became known as one of Canada’s leading experts in historical Canadian art, and he was always ready to help new artists find their paths.

In 1986, Peter returned to Vancouver with Bev and Emily, driven in part by Peter’s search for answers for disabling headaches that we now know stemmed largely from the injuries he sustained in his football career. He established a small gallery in Kerrisdale where people would often drop in just to share time with the man who seemingly always had it for those who needed it. He also returned to his football roots, coaching the Vancouver College Fighting Irish in the 90s, the Richmond Raiders, and the UBC Thunderbirds. Peter loved to see people succeed, which he measured by people’s own sense of pride in the dreams they sought for themselves.

Peter was a relationship builder. He was unassuming. He was charismatic but disliked the spotlight. He knew how to take people as they were. He gave without expectation of anything in return. These traits were hallmarks of his coaching style, his approach to business, and his friendships. He was happiest on the ocean, catching (and usually releasing) salmon; with horses, listening to the crunch of sweet clover in their cheeks or the thunder of their hooves as they powered past at full gallop; offering a steady hand to young people finding their way; writing poems for friends; and spending time with his family.

Of his many accomplishments, Peter was most proud of his four children: Paul, Peter, John and Emily. He was a Dad of adventure and love, who would always come when called, or somehow know to simply show up when needed. He was a loving husband, who led his “little Bevie” through adventures and misadventures, always in a spirit of fun (and sometimes mischief). He gave of himself in ways that had a profound impact on many people, an impact that sometimes was slow to unfold itself but always lingered.

He is survived by his loving wife of fifty years, Beverly, who remained not only his love but his friend to the end. He is also survived by his four children; by his daughters and son in law; and by his four grandchildren, Catherine, Sophia, Matthew, and Agatha, each of whom he loved deeply and took much pride in.

The Ohler family is deeply grateful to the staff of Point Grey Private Hospital who brought love and care to “Papa Bear” every day during his time there.

Peter was a coach, mentor and friend to many. He will be deeply missed. If you have memories you would like to share, the family would be most grateful to hear them. We invite you to send your recollections to coachpeterohler@gmail.com.

Services

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Memories

Peter Sidney Ohler

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Suzanne Owen

July 20, 2021

Peter was one of the most extraordinary and unique men I have ever met. He was that rare combination of kindness, humour and brilliance;
cherry on top … a giant of handsomeness!
I first met Peter thru Brian Hill who said Peter had the best access and knowledge of great Canadian art. I was lucky enough to be introduced and collect several pieces from him : I used to drop into his small gallery in Kerrisdale where he usually had the horse racing on mute ( horses being one of his loves, along with the sea and poetry) I remember always having the most interesting conversations, and sometimes he’d write a poem … another talent he possessed in spades .
Everyone knows Peter’s accomplishments… the BC lions and his Grey Cup win; creating the ‘Masters Gallery’ (the best gallery in Calgary), but most of all he loved his family ( his boys , Emily and his grandchildren) deeply.
I first met Emily, his daughter , 20 years ago…. an extraordinary accomplishment with his beloved wife Bev…( of course Peter wouldn’t have married anyone who wasn’t beautiful and funny) and she is proudly a close friend of mine today. I am so very sad for you and your family’s loss.
Peter , (Papa Bear) you are, and always will be so loved and missed greatly.
My gratitude for knowing you as my friend, is as infinite as the universe.
Peace and light until the next time .
Love Susi

Peggy Paulson

July 11, 2021

I will always remember Peter as a warm and generous friend who always lit up the room with his gentle wit and exceptional intelligence. The world has lost a beautiful person.

Lou Struve

July 1, 2021

Sad to hear of Mr. Ohler (as we always addressed him) leaving us. He taught English if I remember correctly. I always thought that a bit odd as he was known as such a good athlete. If you messed up in class you were sent out for a "pass" at lunch. The man threw a football harder then any one and could drop you no matter how far you tried to run away. So long coach and thanks for the good times.

Brian Konar

June 30, 2021

I met Coach Ohler in 1987 when I was an assistant lineman coach for the Vancouver College high school senior football team. I was familiar with Peter's Washington Huskies and BC Lions history and his legacy as an outstanding QB in football but was more impressed by the man himself and how he carried himself. Peter was a role model coach, patient with all his athletes and gifted in his communication. All around great guy to have known back then and to be part of a team of coaches. My condolences to Peter's family and friends.

Dominik Bundschuh

June 24, 2021

Coach O was so much more than a football coach to me. When I came to play football at UBC all the way from Austria, I found in him an inspiring mentor who taught me so many things about life.

While it was a bit bizarre to me that he needed painkillers for getting down to the stadium and I wasn't taking any, practices with him were something I looked forward to when I woke up.

He talked about everything except technique. He coached confidence, leadership and attitude. He asked you to focus on your strengths and embrace them rather than work on your weaknesses. He was the one who would say "Ok Dom, now just take a step back, breathe and think of an awesome pass.", when five other people were yelling at you. He built character.

He also regularly mentioned his granddaughter Cat to me, basically at every practice. One day he introduced us and we became good friends during our time at UBC. To me, the Ohler family gave me a feeling of true warmth and family in a place far away from my actual home. I deeply thank everyone for that from the bottom of my heart.

Coach O inspired me to approach life with confidence while taking it easy, he reinforced the importance of family and he encountered everyone you see with a big cheek-to-cheek smile.

Eckhardt Ferdinandi

June 22, 2021

I have fond memories of Pete from high school (Vancouver College) as team mates on the football and basketball teams. He was a marvelous person with an engaging personality and a great sense of humour. He was always very encouraging and supportive of us younger guys. Fortunately I got to see him again a couple of years ago and it was fun to reminisce on those days so long ago. My condolences to his family; may he rest in peace.

Rick (Dick) Pearson

June 20, 2021

I played on the 60-61 Varsity team. Peter had left by that time but his “footprints” were still there for many years he played at Van College. Mature, Dynamic and a true leader that was unusual for the time in high schools.
His accuracy throwing the ball, leadership on the field and gym was exemplary.
Rest In Peace
Rick Pearson

Chris Beaton

June 20, 2021


What a wonderful human being. Coach Ohler was one of a kind

I feel both blessed and honoured that I could coach with him and know him as a friend.

John Turner

June 20, 2021

I bought my first picture from Peter at the Warwick gallery in the early 1970s and I still have that picture a Brian Johnston hanging on my wall. This was to be the first of many pictures and a long association and friendship over the years. We moved to Prince George in 1975 and soon after Peter brought a car full of Group of Seven paintings on his way to set up Masters gallery in Calgary.
We had a showing in our house and he sold a number of pictures including to a friend Dr Ashley Davies who built an impressive collection himself all acquired from Peter .
We subsequently made a trip to Calgary and spent a great weekend with Peter, Bev and a very young Emily.
Eventually we all moved back to Vancouver and I spent many afternoons at the little gallery on Granville and then Kerrisdale
and the odd less profitable day at the racetrack.
We have many great memories of Peter and extend our sincere condolences to the family and especially to Bev.
John and Dianne


Paul Hamelin

June 20, 2021

I was a member of the Vancouver College Basketball team in 1959,
Peter was one of the outstanding players on the team, along with Paul Seale, Greg Findlay and Mike Melanson. Peter was mature beyond his years and was a team leader with a great sense of humour

FROM THE FAMILY