Obituary for Ray Peters

In the small rural town of Danville, Pennsylvania, Dad was born on November 4, 1942, as the second child of Paul and Pauline Peters. He was named Ray by his mother, as their little ray of sunshine. For the next 81 years, Dad showered those around him with a light, warmth, and spirit true to his name.

On Thursday morning, February 15, 2024, dad left us peacefully, on his own terms through the blessed assistance of MAID, with sunshine on his face and champagne on his lips, after a valiant and courageous five-year long battle with a neurological disease that stole his body but not his beautiful heart and mind. While he has left this world, and our hearts will be forever broken, we will all carry his sunshine with us as we forge ahead and live our lives to the fullest. He showed us how and would expect nothing less.

After graduating from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (Class ’64) and the University of Waterloo (Class ’69) dad launched his 35-year career as a Professor of Psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston. Among his proudest contributions to the field of child development was realized through his role as Research Director for Better Beginnings Better Futures, a program designed to prevent young children in low-income neighborhoods from experiencing poor developmental outcomes. Leading and inspiring local and provincial colleagues and policy makers, the research findings provided critical knowledge about what works for young children and their families at a community level. He was also instrumental in establishing the annual International Conference of Behavioural Science at the Banff Centre, which continues to draw academic minds in child psychology from national and international shores.

Dad was thankful and often admittedly in awe of his life’s bounty and good fortune – so very blessed to have loved and to be loved by so many, fortunate to bask in the beauty of all seasons, every sunset, and every mountain he came across, cognizant of the rewards of cultivated lifelong friendships, and the intense joy felt in seizing every opportunity for spontaneity and adventure.   

Goodnight, sweet papa. Sleep tight.

We all promise to wake up bright, with every morning’s light, to do what’s right with all our might…

As led by your example and the lifetime of memories you created for us.

Your partner in life and love, Ellen (nee VandeKamer), your children who love you immeasurably, Jessica, Tim, Katie and Johanna, their spouses Nathalie, Joel and Jeffrey, and grandchildren, Braiden, Parker, Foster, Alaska, Benjamin, Birch, Siena, Hazel, Elliette, Dutch and Ines; sister Linda, brother Jimmy, the VandeKamer siblings and families. In our grief, we are reassured in knowing the many others you loved and with whom you shared your beautiful life will be waiting with open arms to carry you forward.

We send you on with all the love in our hearts – today and forever.

A service will be held at 1pm on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at Chalmers United Church, followed by a Celebration of Ray’s life at Fort Henry’s Great Hall at 3pm. We will party.

In dad’s memory, the family has established The Ray DeVere Peters Award at Queen’s University, to commemorate and advance his work in the field of child developmental psychology. Contributions to support the fund can be made here: Donate to Queen’s

A special thank you to Rakesh and Dahliah, Dad’s PSWs for their exceptional and tender care which enabled Mom to continue to support Dad at home, as was his wish.

One thought on “Obituary for Ray Peters

  • So sad to hear this.
    Heartfelt condolences to his wonderful family.
    Dave Hickie

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