WILLIAMS, Peter John - Peacefully on January 14th, 2019 at Highview Residences in London, Ontario, Canada at age 86. Peter was predeceased by his loving wife, Kari (Fuglesang). Loving father to daughters Inger (Brian Curwin), Beatrice (Robert Klassen) and son, Eric Dag (Carolyn Meincke). Proud grandfather of Annika, Katherine, Eric and Colin. Son of John George and Kathleen Emily (White) Williams of London, England. He will be missed by his cousin Anne Andersen, and his many friends and colleagues around the world.
Born and raised in Croydon, England. Educated at Whitgift School, Croydon and then Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University, where he received a B.A., Natural Science and Geography (1954), and MA (1958). He met his Norwegian wife, Kari while at Cambridge and subsequently attended University of Oslo, Geographical Institute and led research expeditions to the mountains of Norway with Kari and other students of geography. He obtained his Fil. lic., Fil. Dr. from University of Stockholm in 1969. Following his marriage in 1957, Peter and Kari moved to Ottawa, Canada and started a family. He worked for NRC, Division of Building Research (1957-1969), became full Professor of Geography at Carleton University, Ottawa (1971), and Director of Geotechnical Science Labs at Carleton (1978). A specialist in the physics and mechanics of freezing soils, he acted as Expert Witness at the Berger Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and as advisor to agencies on geotechnical problems of Northern oil and gas megaprojects. He established the International Contaminants in Freezing Ground conference series in 1997. Following his retirement as Professor at Carleton in 1993, he travelled extensively with Kari, typically combining pleasure with work, and continued his research with colleagues in Canada, Norway, France, Russia and the U.K. He held the positions of Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Institute, Cambridge and Distinguished Research Professor at Carleton; and was honoured with The Roger J. E. Brown Memorial Award from The Canadian Geotechnical Society (2002) for Outstanding Contributions to Permafrost Science and Engineering.
An energetic family man of many talents, he could speak Norwegian, French and Russian. When not busy with his research, he built the family cottage, enjoyed woodworking, gardening, international culture, fine food, and traveling with family. In later years, he struggled with a long illness, but was lovingly cared for by his wife until her death in 2016, and then moved to be near his daughter, Beatrice, in London, Ontario.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial reception will be held on February 19th from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Hulse, Playfair & McGarry West Chapel at 150 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Royal Ottawa Hospital would be appreciated.
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