A Photo Tribute Video will be published here very soon. Please check again.
Although our hearts are full of sadness as we announce the peaceful passing of Peter York, a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and friend on October 15, 2023, we know that if he was still able to communicate with us on earth today, he would wave his hand in the air while looking off to the side in frustration, to let us know that we shouldn’t be feeling any sadness towards his death. Peter York lived a life of 92 years filled with good health and happiness and he made it known to all that he was ready to go.
Peter was born on June 9, 1931 in Sarto, Manitoba to parents Walter and Molly Yurkowski. He came from a large family and was the seventh of nine children. He is survived by three of his siblings Eugene York, Martha (Leo) Klump and Jean Sawchuk. He was predeceased by his wife, Jean York (nee Gushuliak), his parents, his siblings Emil, Joe, Paul, Olga and Stella.
Jean and Peter met when Jean arrived to teach at Willow Plains School in Sarto and quickly fell for each other. Time moved fast for them and soon they were married on November 11, 1950 in Sundown, Manitoba. Shortly after that their only child, Eleanor, arrived.
Moving quickly meant times were tough at first for Peter and Jean and Peter did his best for twenty years working various jobs to provide for his family. As a couple Peter and Jean had bigger dreams for their life and in 1971 they made the decision to start their own business, establishing Palomino Plains Motel on Pembina Highway. The flashing red ‘motel' sign and the raised palomino horse statue became known landmarks to anyone who lived in the area. Peter worked endlessly operating the motel for 32 years before selling it in 2003 to retire.
Together Peter and Jean managed Peter’s motel and they also ran Jean’s business, York Insurance located at Forest Park Mall in Charleswood. Running two businesses provided its challenges, but Peter and Jean worked hard so they could also play hard. Their shared love for horses led them to make the decision to purchase a farm property near the Assiniboia Downs which they named West Fork Equine Station and where they housed their many race horses. The two of them also purchased a motorhome and took many trips in it with family. Sadly, Jean passed away in 1995, leaving Peter to continue his life dreams without her.
In 1997, Peter lived out one of his personal dreams of purchasing a cottage at Falcon Lake, Manitoba. Peter truly loved being out at his cabin. He enjoyed feeding hummingbirds and marvelled at their beauty. Watching hummingbirds, Judge Judy or Jeopardy was about the only time we ever saw Peter sitting still. The man had endless amounts of energy and spent many hours at the lake puttering around his yard. Whether it be re-painting his outdoor antiques, building additions onto various parts of his structures or taking care of his yard, Peter was always busy. He took great pride in showing off his projects to others and we always enjoyed seeing what was new at the lake.
A couple of years after Jean passed, Peter knew it was time to get back out into the world. He always took pride in his appearance and enjoyed dancing especially a polka. In 1998 after purchasing a new western style suit he headed out to a singles’ dance where he met his future companion, Lois. Peter and Lois spent many years in each other’s company, travelling to warm climates, hosting their families in the city and spending time at his cottage where they invested many hours creating and maintaining beautiful rock gardens. Lois was a special person who meant a lot to Peter and he was very grateful to have her in his life up until his last days.
Peter’s greatest joy was making others happy. The man loved to host his family, his friends and his family’s friends. No matter who entered his residence, within seconds he was serving them a drink, providing them with snacks and making them feel right at home. Stay for a bit and he was either starting to cook some of his famous ribs, meatballs, cabbage rolls or borscht or ordering in food to make sure you were fed and happy. Peter's doors were always open. Many of his lake projects involved creating new sleeping quarters, including the addition of a cement pad in the backyard where he parked his motorhome to ensure he could open up his place to as many guests as possible.
His grandchildren have fond memories of spending almost every weekend sleeping at his house at the motel or out at the lake. He loved nothing more than to host them and spoil his family. Over the years he purchased many toys for his grandkids including a couple of boats and a sea-doo. More recently, he found a new joy in spoiling his great-grandchildren by taking them toy shopping. More than anything, Peter wanted others to know how much he cared about them. He was an incredibly generous man to all with both his time and money, but especially to his family.
Peter was a great storyteller and loved to share stories, particularly of his motel days. He could hook anyone’s interest in the room as he shared his life experiences. Peter was always telling jokes and loved a good punch line, always delivering each one ever so perfectly. He enjoyed socializing and having drinks with friends, especially his two neighbours at Falcon Lake who he always spoke so highly about. His home was always filled with country western music. He loved good music, good food, good drinks and great company. He was the life of the party and was always up for anything especially a good card game with friends and family.
Peter will be greatly missed by his daughter, Eleanor Campbell (Stan Hilderman), his grandchildren, Evan Campbell and Arlynn (Jonathan) Wiebe and his great-grandchildren, Emsley, Everton, Cayman and Caseton Wiebe, his brother, Eugene York, as well as his longtime companion, Lois Grocholski.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Victoria General Hospital Urgent Care for the compassion they showed Peter during his last hours.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at the Howden Community Centre, 1078 Red River Drive, Howden, MB.
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Memories, Stories and Condolences
Please share a story, photo, memory or condolences for the family by completing the form below and click "comment".