Peter Fenton: Obituary


Born and raised in Owen Sound, Ontario, Peter Fenton went to RMC in the fall of 1953. It quickly became apparent that to be in his company was an enjoyment. His unfailing good humour and infectious smile, combined with his great enthusiasm for anything he undertook, served him well throughout his career. He had that unique ability of being able to defuse the most stressful of situations.

Peter was posted to Chilliwack, BC in 1958, where he had been the instigator of many hilarious summer training exploits (!), and there he met and married Helen Martens. Further postings to Gagetown and Valcartier preceded his retirement in 1966 with the rank of Captain in the Royal Canadian Engineers, by which time a son, Andrew, had been born. Then began a successful career in the packaging industry, which took the family to Toronto, Milwaukee and Kitchener before settling in Waterloo in 1980. Sadly, Helen died shortly thereafter. Nine years later he married Enid (McGregor) Gilbert, thereby gaining not only a wife, but also four wonderful stepdaughters!

In 1993, Peter (now a PEng) led a group of seven employees, including himself, out of the large company where they were working to found a smaller one in the same field of manufacturing of machinery and associated components for packaging production lines. The aim was to meet the needs of a niche market that larger competitors were overlooking. Peter's passion for perfection and his ability to mentor others established his company, known as SEPTIMATECH, as a successful business in the global marketplace. Peter remained President and CEO until his death on 15 February 2001. This small business, which has won several awards, now has a staff of over 30, including son Andrew, one of his stepdaughters and her husband, all in key management positions, and another stepdaughter part time.

Peter had courage, too. Having lost contact with the College and classmates for many years, he reestablished longtime friendships a few years ago with the Toronto contingent of classmates he had met some 45 years earlier. He became so enthused that, despite recent bouts with both cancer and heart disease, he took out a life membership in the Club and made plans to attend a class reunion (his first) in the fall of 2000. And attend he did, despite major surgery two weeks earlier, and against all orders of his doctors. Plainly weak, but supported in every way by Enid, he did what he so badly wanted to do. Peter didn't really go out again, and he died four months later at their home in Waterloo.

Author: 3918 A. K. Roberts, 4252 H. R. Wheatley
Published in Veritas magazine, Winter 2001



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