208 - 120 Front Street East, Toronto M5A 4L9416 603 1700 Ext. 202gsmitherman@rogers.com

Christopher John Peloso, October 20, 1973 – December 29, 2013

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CP Portrait

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.

,

George Smitherman

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.

22 comments:

Salon MarcelJanuary 2, 2014 at 7:46 pmReply

Very truly sorry of your loss my
Friend.
The heavens door has open to let through another beautiful sould in his heavenly arms.
May he rest in peace.;)…
Praying for you all . May you find peace in your heart and cherish the great memories.
Xo Marcel

Yohan ByrdeJanuary 2, 2014 at 7:59 pmReply

George,

So saddened to hear of your great loss. May Muchael, Kayla you and gour family find peace, comfort and strenght in each other during this difficult time.

My deepest condolences

Yohan Byrde

Suh KimJanuary 2, 2014 at 8:24 pmReply

George, my thoughts are with you. I hope you and the kids will find comfort in the love and support of family and friends.

Karen MillsJanuary 2, 2014 at 8:35 pmReply

So very saddened to read this. Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers. ~ Karen

Jeannine Crouch (Gonsalves)January 2, 2014 at 8:45 pmReply

So very saddened by this news, George. May Christopher rest in peace. My thoughts are with you and your family.

LouiseJanuary 2, 2014 at 8:52 pmReply

To The Smitherman-Peloso Families.

I am saddened at this tragic loss to your family, your children and the world at large.

It’s very sad when someone so vital is taken down by the ugly disease of depression; I understand as someone who deals with bouts of depression; your mind is your enemy and you feel helpless. I am telling you this not because you need to know about me but to let people know this disease is real.

I am sending prayers and blessings for strength and courage to move forward. Remember all the happy times.

God Bless.

Louise

Bill McWilliamJanuary 3, 2014 at 2:07 amReply

To The Smitherman-Peloso Families.

It was a shock to hear news and I am glad you all have so many good memories to remember his life.

They always say the good die young. But it hard for those who are left, but good time memories will make it easier.

Love to all

Bill

Tammie KnuffJanuary 3, 2014 at 3:35 amReply

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. The world just got a bit smaller – he was always full of life and a great presence; his laugh filled a room! My heartfelt condolences go out to each and every one of you who are grieving the loss of a son, brother, husband and father. May you find strength and comfort in each other during this very difficult time.

Tammie & Brian Knuff

ElaineJanuary 3, 2014 at 3:51 amReply

A beautiful and touching tribute. I am saddened by your loss and know all too well the grip depression has on those who suffer from it. I am one.

Wishing you peace and good memories.

Elaine

Meryn CadellJanuary 3, 2014 at 5:05 amReply

My heartfelt condolences to you and your families, particularly your kids.

We can be – all; any of us – so helpless when facing diseases of the mind. I admire and applaud the public way in which you mourn this part of your husband’s legacy. I know there is much that you and your family will go through privately, but I thank you for speaking frankly about your husband’s battle with depression.

Sincerely,
Meryn Cadell

Sheila PrudenJanuary 3, 2014 at 2:29 pmReply

So sorry for your loss. Our condolences to you and your family.

Sheila Pruden, Gillian, Primus and Malachai Primus.

Gail HeaslipJanuary 3, 2014 at 4:35 pmReply

Dear George and family…my heart goes out to you all for the passing of your partner, father, son, uncle, cousin, friend! It is so painful to lose someone to this very invisible disease. My thoughts and prayers are with you all!!!

Margaret ForgieJanuary 3, 2014 at 10:37 pmReply

Thoughts are with you and yours. Know that you all did all you could do. Depression exists even in the places where others cannot understand why it should. Your beautiful piece of writing says all. My deepest condolences to you and your beautiful children. They lost a loving parent and that is never easy. Stay strong.

CathyJanuary 4, 2014 at 2:40 amReply

Your tribute touched my heart. So much love, respect, and dedication to each other. Your love was truly blessed. I am sorry for your loss. He will be missed by many. My thoughts to you, family and friends

Cathy

Stan MooreJanuary 4, 2014 at 5:10 amReply

The words below were written by the Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue who also no longer lives on earth and come from his book of blessings called “To Bless the Space Between Us”.

George, I offer this poem in hopes that you will find comfort and release from your grief. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

ON THE DEATH OF THE BELOVED
By John O’Donohue

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.

Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.

We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.

Rev. Karen HarrisonJanuary 4, 2014 at 1:32 pmReply

My love,heart and prayers are with you George and with your family. How wonderfully moving your tribute to Christopher is and I am also touched by the kind gifts from Christophers heart that he left for so many. His gift of love will carry you forward.
I thank you both for the care and generous spirit you have given socially and I embrace his gift in celebration of a kind and gentle human being.

May Christopher be happy and in great peace in his spiritual journey.

Rev Karen

David LuntJanuary 4, 2014 at 9:07 pmReply

Dear George. sorry to hear of your great loss’
may your partner reast in peace

Pauline L. TremblayJanuary 4, 2014 at 9:42 pmReply

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you George, your dear children, family and friends on the deep loss of your husband Christopher. The beautiful words in your tribute to your beloved Christopher speak to the wonderful person he was and the deep connection you both shared with your love.
May you be surrounded by those who love and cherish you and your children at this most difficult time.

Mary Lynn MulroneyJanuary 5, 2014 at 4:07 amReply

My deepest condolences to the the family of Christopher Peleso. I’m sure that his children will remember their father, as will Mr. Smitherman, who will keep his memory alive for them. I’m so sorry that a family had to endure this sorrow. Mr. Smitherman, my heart goes out to you on your loss.

sherri from laurentian lodgeJanuary 5, 2014 at 10:03 pmReply

so sad and sorry to hear about your loss. you and your family are in our thoughts and hearts!

Jacqie ShartierJanuary 6, 2014 at 5:28 amReply

My deepest prayers are with you and your children. May you find peace in your memories of Christopher and may you be a champion for the cause of mental health and addictions.

God Bless YOU

Guy PILONJanuary 8, 2014 at 5:56 pmReply

My thoughts go out to the family. I had the privilege of knowing Chris in the early 90′s..Till this day i remember his wonderful laugh.

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