Dr Peter Postuk died quietly on 25 June 2016 after a long and full life, surrounded by family and with his bucket list complete.
Dr Peter Postuk died quietly on 25 June 2016 after a long and full life, surrounded by family and with his bucket list complete. He was a beloved doctor with a poet’s soul, a passionate prospector, a reluctant gunrunner, and a true adventurer.
Peter was a first-generation Canadian, born in Prince Rupert on 29 November 1926 to Montenegrin parents. Throughout his life his roots remained deep in the northern coast, and childhood friendships formed there lasted throughout his life.
He drove a taxi, fished, and logged in the Skeena region as he put himself through university. He received his Bachelor of Arts from UBC in 1948 and then adventured in Central America with classmates Bob Perkis and Steve King before beginning medical school in 1951.
Peter was part of an exceptionally close group of UBC medical students who graduated in 1955, and the bonds formed during those years were maintained throughout his life.
He was recruited, after his internship at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, by Dr John Coleman, who he joined in the Coleman Clinic in Duncan, BC, in 1956. Peter soon convinced his two good friends and classmates, Drs Mel Smith and Bob Wilson, to join them, and together the three friends practised their particular brand of compassionate, personalized medicine until their retirements many years later.
Peter was a family doctor—beloved by his patients—a skilled diagnostician, and a highly respected colleague. He practised old-fashioned people-based medicine and knew that sometimes a good chat over a whiskey was the best prescription he could offer. House calls were part of his practice and his door was always open.
He began his practice in the days before medicare. He treated anyone in need, and billing was often overlooked when circumstances were strained. But because of his kindness and healing ways he was often paid in kind, and his long list of devoted patients kept him in black currant jam and rhubarb, which they all knew he loved.
He never lost his curiosity or his pursuit of excellence, and throughout his career he continued with medical research and publishing and maintained an active presence in the Medical Society.
Peter’s limited spare time was spent pursuing his other great passion—prospecting. He found geology fascinating and his children often thought that his doctoring thing was just his day job. He spent summer vacations in the mountains around British Columbia and weekends in the local hills. The mother lode was always only an assay away.
Peter is survived by his wife, Peggy; his children, Jayne (Ric), Morley (Rob), and Peter (Sue); and his many beloved grandchildren, John, David, Christina, Jayne, Alison, Sam, Jerek, and Christopher.
—Jayne Postuk, LLB, DTh
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