Obituary: Christopher John Peloso
October 20, 1973 – December 29, 2013
The passing of Christopher Peloso marks 40 years fully lived.
Born in Sudbury to Reno and Mary Ann Peloso, Christopher was the middle child between Rena and Stephanie. His childhood was happy and he frequently recounted idyllic stories about summers on Lake Ramsey together with his extended family under the watchful eye of family matriarch Great Gran Fran who recently marked her 90th birthday.
From his earliest years Christopher was at ease around water and he sought out new places to swim with an adventurer’s zeal. Fresh water lake swimming was a particular pleasure. Cliff diving into the sea at Crane Beach in the Barbados and braving the waters of Ontario’s Sutton River where it empties into Hudson Bay were also notable.
While still in high school Christopher began working part-time at Laura Secord where his knowledge of retailing and passion for the chocolate industry were born. After high school Christopher enrolled at Laurentian University and it was during this period that Christopher became the proud father of daughter Morgan, soon to turn 21. Regardless what challenges he faced later in life, Christopher’s love and support for Morgan never wavered and he was thrilled to witness her recent post-secondary graduation.
Christopher’s sexual orientation drew him to Toronto and the opportunity to continue working for Laura Secord made the transition to big city living easier. When Laura Secord Hallmark stores were introduced across Canada, Christopher gained new responsibility requiring travel across the country he loved. Known for his work ethic and dedication to customer service, he generated tremendous loyalty from staff as his supervisory status increased.
Like many others, Christopher found Toronto’s vibrant gay scene of the 1990s liberating and energizing. It was during this time that he met his future husband George Smitherman – although the couple liked to joke that Smitherman picked Christopher up at the Toronto bus terminal upon his arrival. On one occasion during the mid 90s, Smitherman gave Peloso a Siamese cat name Piccolo who remained a beloved member of the family for almost twenty years until her recent passing.
In the summer of 2005 Christopher’s relationship with Smitherman solidified during a Labour Day trip to New York City. Seeing Rafael Nadal play at the US Open is a cherished memory to both of them. Christopher’s career also progressed rapidly during these years. When the luxury Swiss chocolate company Lindt set out to create a retail presence across Canada, Christopher left Laura Secord and accepted a senior management position with Lindt.
Christopher and George Smitherman were married in a First-Nations inspired ceremony held at Laurentian Lodge north of Elliot Lake in August of 2007. The non-traditional marriage ceremony was officiated by Justice of the Peace Gerry Solursh, and by First Nations leader Chief Charles Fox and his partner Meladina Hardy before 200 family members and friends. The ceremony reflected Christopher’s proud northern heritage, his love of nature and his spiritualism.
The greatest source of joy to Christopher was always his family. In 2010 Michael joined Christopher and George, and a year later Michael’s sister Kayla made the family complete. Christopher was deeply devoted to his children and enormously happy to watch them learn and grow.
Throughout his life Christopher Peloso was motivated by a desire to help others. He took his professional responsibilities seriously, earning the lasting affection and respect of staff and colleagues. He was a generous and active member of his community with a wide circle of close friends. And his family provided him with support, love and happiness, all of which he returned in even greater amounts.
During his final years Christopher battled increasingly acute symptoms of depression and his life ended suddenly on December 29, 2013. He will be deeply missed. But the enduring impact he had on the lives of so many will ensure that his memory endures, providing comfort and inspiration to all who knew him.
The Smitherman-Peloso Family invites you to a Celebration of the Life of Christopher Peloso on Friday, January 3, at 11AM, at the Wellesley Community Centre, 495 Sherbourne Street. In lieu of flowers, please donate to: The Casey House Capital Campaign, 416-962-4040 ext 232, www.caseyhouse.com or The Psychiatry Research Fund of Toronto Western Hospital Foundation, 416-340-4430, www.tgwhf.ca. Expressions of condolence may be shared online at www.rosar-morrison.com.
This article was written by George
George Smitherman is sought-after for his advice and recognized as one of Canada’s leading public policy voices, having been active in public life as a grassroots organizer and community activist, an elected official and senior advisor at the local, provincial and federal level, spanning more than 30 years.