Tribute: Peter Louis

The Reverend Canon Peter Louis, 1941-2021

Peter Louis was born in 1941 in Bromley, during the Blitz. He studied at St Dunstan’s College and was the first in his family to go to university – to Oxford, to read Chemistry. After graduating, Peter hitch-hiked on his own through Africa, from Alexandria to Cape Town, visiting local schools as he went. Upon his return, he went to Cambridge to undertake a diploma in education and be close to Marian, whom he had met in Bromley and who was finishing her own teacher training there.

As soon as she graduated, Peter and Marian married and moved to Harefield to begin work in local schools. As soon as circumstances allowed, Peter began his ordination training, studying in the morning and teaching in the afternoon. After ordination in 1968, Peter continued his dual career as a ‘worker priest’, becoming Head of RE at Imberhorne School in East Grinstead and Curate at the nearby St. Mary’s. In short order Peter became a Deputy Head in Nottingham and then Headmaster of the Bluecoat School in Coventry, all the while continuing his preaching and ministry in nearby churches.

In 1985, at the age of 44, Peter finally became a full-time vicar and moved the family – now with four children; Stephen, Mary, Ben and Katy – to the parish of St Francis in Welwyn Garden City. Peter and Marian stayed at St. Francis for 23 years, developing deep and lasting friendships across the parish. Peter welcomed many people to their faith, led dozens of Alpha courses and went on parish exchanges all over the world.

In 2008, at the age of 67, Peter retired to Wendover. Despite his retirement, he led services at St. Mary’s almost every week, he led many assemblies at the junior school, and was keen to work with other denominations in the village. Peter became a trustee of the local charity Lindengate, was a member of the U3A (founding our Wendover table tennis club), enjoyed playing tennis, organized support for unemployed people during the recession and continued his role as spiritual director to many people. Latterly, Peter loved walking around the village exchanging friendly words with everyone he came across.

Peter was a kind, gentle and keenly intelligent man who was interested in the lives of everyone he came across, be it at church, in his teaching, or on one of his trips to far-flung corners of the world. He had a rare talent for understanding people, especially the young, or the uncertain, and devoted his considerable energies to helping others. His mainstays were his wife Marian, his family, and his faith.

He was loved very much by all his family, and leaves nine happy grandchilden.