Peter Charles Howard Oliver
30 July 1948 – 21 September 2022
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of a remarkable Old Andrean, Peter Oliver (Graham, 1966). Peter was a passionate Old Andrean and will be greatly missed by the Andrean Community. Our thoughts are with his brother Simon (Graham, 1969), sister Sarah, wife Maureen and his four children Andrew (Graham, 1999), Marc (Graham, 2004), Vanessa and Jessica.
Peter was born in Cape Town shortly after his parents emigrated to South Africa from England. He was the eldest of three children, brother Simon (Graham, 1969) and sister Sarah. He started his education at Monterey in Cape Town where he was vice head boy in his final year. Peter was a very enthusiastic scholar, so much so that his Headmaster at Monterey once said “Peter has a lot to say about many things … most of which is incorrect!“
Life at College
He arrived at St Andrew’s College in 1962 and spent a year in Mullins House before becoming one of the founding members of Graham House in 1963.
Peter was very competitive on every level and excelled at sport, playing first team rugby for 2 years and was captain of the 1966 squad. He was also a prolific rower and swimmer and was in the 1st VIII in his senior years.
Members of the 1966 1st XV gathering on Lower Field during their 50th Reunion in 2016. Peter on the far left.
In 1966, he was made a school prefect and second head of Graham House. His close friend, John Bryant, was the head of Graham House and head of school.
In 1965 and 1966, he was awarded a proficiency tie in recognition of his all-round efforts and contribution to school life. He was a determined leader and loyal and steadfast friend to all.
To say Peter loved College is an understatement, Peter lived and breathed College, embracing every opportunity that College had to offer.
Life after College
After Peter left school, he moved to Canada to attend McGill University in 1967, where he studied a BCom. Despite telling his family that it was so cold in Canada that there was no way he could stay there, he met his wife Maureen and never left. They had four children, Vanessa, Jessica, Andrew (Graham, 1999) and Marc (Graham, 2004). His sons, Marc and Andrew, attended St Andrew’s College because Peter wanted them to know the value system at College that he so much appreciated.
A letter from his brother, Simon Oliver (Graham, 1969), elaborates on Peter’s remarkable career, philanthropic endeavours and family life:
“Throughout Peter’s life he has had strong views on anything in which he was interested. Peter tried a few things after leaving University including real estate and stock broking, before deciding to start “Oliver’s Old Fashion Bakery”. He might have been motivated a bit by wanting his mother to leave Rhodesia and move to Canada to be one of the chefs!! He always wanted his products to be the best in the business. The Apple pies had to have more apple than anyone else’s. To make up for the lack of capital he worked very long and hard to make sure everything was right. The bakery developed into a coffee shop and then restaurants. As the years went by he opened new venues. Initially only in Toronto. The restaurants were often voted the best in the city. When Peter was ready to retire Andrew took over the business, found a partner, and expanded the business from Calgary to Montreal.
Peter was very family oriented and gave his children a great education and took them all over the world to show them what the world offered. He wanted them to know his African roots.
Peter also spent a lot of time raising money for what he considered worthwhile causes.
Peter’s philosophy in life was to excel and to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself. He had a way of getting others to excel as well.”
– Simon Oliver (Graham, 1969), Brother
In 2014 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. However he prefered to still be referred to as Mr, rather than Dr.
Peter’s contribution to College
Peter’s all time contribution to College was significant and has ensured the sustainability of the school. He was one of the key figures in the commemorative Jubilee 150 Campaign; the largest, global campaign ever undertaken by the school.
In 2003, together with Mark Paterson (Upper, 1969) and Andrew Rolfe (Armstrong, 1983), he identified the need to establish a Development Office at College, now known as the Foundation Office, to co-ordinate the communication and management of the Jubilee 150 campaign and the celebrations. He saw the value in having a dedicated team to run a professional, successful campaign and for sustainable fundraising strategies beyond the Jubilee 150 Campaign. That same year, Peter, along with Michael Faralla (Merriman, 1988) and Norman Hardie (Mullins, 1955), initiated the St. Andrew’s College Grahamstown Foundation of Canada, to provide Canadian OAs a vehicle to donate funds to College for Bursary assistance.
He was nominated as the International Chairperson of the Campaign and was responsible for mobilizing Old Andreans all over the world to dig deep into their pockets and give back to their school.
Please click here to read his Jubilee 150 Campaign address at the U.K. OA Club Dinner in November 27 2003. This speech, in his own words, encapsulates so much about who Peter was as a person and his great love for College.
In 2008, he was made President of the Old Andrean Club in recognition of his service to the school.
In 2009, he was honoured at the North American Dinner in Toronto by then Headmaster, Paul Edey (Mullins, 1974). Click here to view the tribute.
Peter played an integral role in his class and regional appeals during the #AcademicExcellence campaign, which was launched in 2015. Due to his efforts, the 1966 Leavers donated a classroom in the newly renovated Norton Block and the North American OA Branch donated a Seminar Room in the newly renovated Cawse Library.
Peter returned to College regularly. As the President of the Old Andrean Club, he attended the OA Tide celebrations in 2008, he returned to campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Graham House in 2013, his 50th Reunion in 2015 and again in 2016 for his Post Matric year.
Just as Peter concluded his inspirational Jubilee 150 Campaign address in 2003, we believe that he departed this life repeating the very same words which have carried many Old Andreans through life;