Patriarch passes on
Peter Erasmus will be missed by many in the North

by Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jan 07/98) - One of the oldest members of the Erasmus clan died quietly on Christmas Day.

Peter Erasmus succumbed to pneumonia in Stanton Regional Hospital at the age of 89. He would have been 90 on June 27. At the time of his death, Erasmus lived in Yellowknife at Aven Manor.

Born into a family of 12 children in Wrigley in 1908 to Robert Erasmus and Marie Lafferty, Erasmus grew up in Fort Rae before heading to a mission school in Fort Resolution in the early 1920s.

Katherine Turner remembers her brother as a helpful sibling when they were growing up. "We always would help each other and when we would see that one of us needs something we would help each other out," says Turner, 83.

"He used to live with us lots. The Erasmus family was always close."

Turner says she believes her brother was very satisfied with his life. "That's for sure. He sure enjoyed life. He had lots of friends and no enemies. Everyone was his friend," says Turner, whose husband, Jim, worked with her brother for many years.

Jim reminisces about the jobs he shared with Erasmus. "Oh, we'd do anything for work. We had wood contracts and we'd do drilling at Tibbett Lake and I remember we got swamped in the big lake a couple or three times going fishing."

Bill Erasmus recalls his uncle as a man who constantly kept himself busy.

"He spent time in the bush, hunting and trapping. He kept himself busy and active. He was always moving around and we never went out into the bush with him, but he would come to the house and visit and spend a couple of days with us," says Bill, chief of the Dene Nation and a man who learned a valuable lesson from his uncle.

"I don't ever remember him being upset or angry at people. He took things in stride. He was a happy person who believed life was too short to get worked up over situations."

Peter Erasmus leaves behind four children, two siblings, 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. He was buried at the Lakeview Cemetery in Yellowknife.