Dick, Peter J. (1909-1996)

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Peter J. Dick, choir conductor, 1970.
Photo: Eden Echoes [1970 yearbook]

Peter J. Dick: teacher and minister; born 24 September 1909 in Lichtfelde, Molotschna Colony, South Russia to Johann J. Dick (1866-1947) and Elisabeth (Unrau) Dick (1868-1963). He was the youngest child in a family of three sons and four daughters. In 1934 he married Lydia Toews (30 June 1911-8 April 1984), daughter of Johann A. Toews (1876-1953) and Margaretha (Janz) Toews (1880-1973). They adopted three children. In 1986 he married widow Anna Peters (1913-2004), daughter of Peter Funk (1881-1918) and Susanna (Dick) Funk (1882-1932), previously married to Johann J. Peters (1911-1980). Peter J. Dick died 29 February 1996 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

In 1926 Peter immigrated to Canada with his parents and siblings, settling in Coaldale, Alberta. He was baptized on 22 July 1928 joining the Coaldale Mennonite Brethren Church. He served this church as choir director and German school instructor, and was involved in youth and pulpit ministry 1935-1945. Peter Dick studied at Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg 1945-1949. He was ordained as a minister at the North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church in Spring 1949.

Peter J. Dick taught Bible, music and German, at Alberta Mennonite High School 1949-1957 in Coaldale, Alberta, and at Eden Christian College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 1957-1975, conducting many choirs. He participated in the pulpit and Sunday School ministries in the Scott Street Mennonite Brethren Church and Grantham Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Lydia and Peter J. Dick, 1975.
Photo: MB Herald (14 October 1975)

After his retirement from teaching, Peter and Lydia Dick accepted a two-year assignment in South America with the Mennonite Brethren Board of Missions/Services, working first in Brazil and then in various countries with his brother-in-law, J. J. Toews. They worked in church planting ministry with third and fourth generation German colonists in Santa Catarina, Brazil. From January to June 1980, Peter and Lydia Dick served in the Neuwied Mennonite Brethren Church in Germany as interim Pastor.

For 19 years, 1977-1996, he translated the Adult Quarterly for the Lektionsheft, an adult Sunday School publication of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Lovingly remembered and nicknamed “P.J.” by students and colleagues, one former student wrote a poem of tribute: “P.J. /Power-packed initials for a beautifully/humble saint…” Another student remembered him as “one of the kindest, most forgiving teachers I have ever had. Sometimes we thought he was too soft, too gullible, for we took advantage of him with our excuses and pranks in a way we would never dared with other teachers. But there were always glimpses of something.” He was emotional in a way that sometimes felt uncomfortable to teenagers in his class – tears of an older man, deeply moved by something he had seen or read.

Peter J. Dick loved his students and it was evident that he loved God as he served his church and community.


“Accept two-year Assignment.” Mennonite Brethren Herald (14 October 1975): 6.

Boldt, Janet E. “Tribute to Peter J. Dick”. Mennonite Brethren Herald (14 October 1975): 6.

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, v.19-07 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2019: #209031.

Pankratz, James. “Thank you, Teacher.” Mennonite Brethren Herald (22 March 1996): 31.

“Peter J. Dick” [Obituary]. Mennonite Brethren Herald (8 November 1996): 32.

Author(s) Alf Redekopp
Date Published November 2019

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MLA style

Redekopp, Alf. "Dick, Peter J. (1909-1996)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. November 2019. Web. 12 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dick,_Peter_J._(1909-1996)&oldid=166214.

APA style

Redekopp, Alf. (November 2019). Dick, Peter J. (1909-1996). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Dick,_Peter_J._(1909-1996)&oldid=166214.

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