Straight cofounder Peter Hlookoff led life of activism, travel

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      Peter Hlookoff

      Born: August 23, 1942, in Appledale, B.C.

      Died: August 10, 2016, in Grand Forks, B.C.

      Predeceased by parents Tanya Hlookoff, née Samorodin, and Nicholas Hlookoff

      Survived by sisters Polly Hlookoff (Vancouver) and Ann Sookochoff and brother-in-law Phillip Sookochoff (Castlegar)

      Peter moved with his family from Appledale to Vancouver as a child and got his elementary and secondary schooling in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. He attended UBC and earned a BA as well as doing some graduate work associated with his major in Spanish and his knowledge of Russian. Peter was a passionate activist, and he applied this activism to his involvement in the hippie and anti–Vietnam War movement centred in Vancouver in Kitsilano’s 4th Avenue area, a somewhat urban expression of his pacifist Doukhobor roots.

      His social leanings led him to be an early backpacker in postrevolutionary Cuba, where his Spanish served him well. He told of visiting a Cuban sugar refinery where he shocked his hosts by relishing a scoop of molasses, which Cubans considered cattle feed! He later joined Dan McLeod in founding the Georgia Straight newspaper in the ’60s.

      Ultimately, Peter settled into a Vancouver working-class life as a longshoreman, in which he expressed his wanderlust through hiking the West Coast and travelling, particularly to Cuba and Mexico. Although he was in a long-term relationship for a period of time, he never married. As a soft-spoken individual, he probably sought peace through his love of the wilderness.

      However, disillusioned with the state of the world—and after joining his elderly mother, who moved back to her family roots in Grand Forks—Peter saw his life and health spiral down over the years, especially after his early retirement from longshore work and his mother’s passing. Instead of finding rural peace and contentment, he experienced isolation and declining health, broken occasionally by his Facebook bursts of biting social commentary on world affairs.