The CTA is regrets to announce the passing of a very special member Leslie Petter.
Leslie loved to compete at all of our events and was a person who would get things done, no questions asked. She will be dearly missed.
Obituary by Steve Green, The London Free Press
Leslie Petter lived in the shadow of cancer for more than half her life, yet was an unfailing source of light to everyone around her, friends and colleagues recalled Thursday.
The longtime Medway high school phys-ed teacher, athletic co-ordinator and basketball coach died Wednesday at the age of 47 of breast cancer.
She is survived by her husband, fellow Medway teacher and coach John Michielsen. Visitation will be at the Westview Funeral Home, 709 Wonderland Rd. N., Saturday from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. The memorial service was held at Medway Sunday at 1 p.m.
"Her positive attitude," fellow teacher and senior football coach Greg Henderson said Thursday when asked what he'll remember most. "No matter what was going on, her outlook was never negative.
She made sure everyone saw the positive and it was never about herself. "She coached me in Grade 11 basketball and taught me Grade 9 science, and I can remember when I played football for Western, she and John would come to the games, no matter where we were playing.
"They really took stock in the students and athletes at Medway, just as if they were their own kids." Medway guidance counsellor and fellow coach Brad McGhie recalled Petter's passion for her profession.
"She exuded such an enthusiasm for life," he said. "She was in your face with enthusiasm, with no reservations.
It didn't matter if you weren't an athlete.
Even the weakest kid athletically would have their best performances in her class and she'd do it with (boosting) confidence." Petter was diagnosed with acute myoblastic leukemia, a particularly aggressive form of the blood cancer, 22 years ago.
A bone marrow donation from her sister, Marnie, proved to be the saving grace. However, she was diagnosed with breast cancer just over a year ago.
"The first word that comes to my mind is classy," said London Christian athletic director and basketball coach Jerry Roukema.
"When she got sick, that class and dignity was even more apparent. She lived with that disease and never let it affect the way she treated people or how she coached her kids." Mandy Payne, who worked alongside Petter at Medway for six years and is now at Westminster, called Petter "a true friend and a mother figure.
I was trying to explain to friends who didn't know her what she was like and they asked if she had any kids. The funny part is she probably has more kids than you could ever imagine," she said, struggling with her emotions.
"She was the one who welcomed me to Medway and even though I'm at Westminster, when my birthday rolled around in September, there was a birthday card for me.
Once you're a part of her family, you're always a part of her family, and when you were around her you constantly strived to be remotely as good a person as she was.
"She'd been fighting for so long, you try to take comfort in the fact she's in a better place."