My Love!
Hans Peter Ristau 
November 24, 1939 - May 21, 2013

Hans Peter Ristau was born to Karl and Martha Ristau on November 24th, 1939, in Berlin, Germany, only two and half months after the start of the War. Peter’s mother had five children from a previous marriage; with Karl she had Klaus, Peter and Renate.

Klaus, Renate and Peter at their last visit
So glad Renate was able to visit for a few weeks before Peter died. 

Karl immigrated to Canada in 1950, settling in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Martha and the children followed later. Tragically, Peter's mother, Martha, died of cancer shortly afterwards. After spending a year in the care of his Tante Emma, he was reunited with his father, who had remarried. His step-mother Anna’s deep personal faith led the family into the community at the German Mission Baptist Church, where the entire family was baptized on November 6, 1955. Foreshadowing God’s providence, his future wife, Karin, also recently emigrated from Germany, was baptized at the very same service.

In 1960, his father, Karl, died of cancer. His stepmother later decided to return to Germany while he and his brother, Klaus, and sister, Renate, remained in Winnipeg.

These formative years contributed greatly to Peter’s strong personal faith, empathy, and compassion, born of adversity yet also a sense of God’s abiding presence expressed through a close-knit community. During this time, Peter cultivated a passion for ministry and love of learning. He attended the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute and later Mennonite Brethren Bible College, which developed and further instilled in him a commitment to peace, social justice, and a generous orthodoxy, especially inspired by the teaching and scholarship of his professor, David Ewert.

Before leaving Winnipeg to attend Waterloo Lutheran University, Peter asked Heinrich Laser if he could continue to communicate with his daughter, (Brigitte) Karin. Given permission, Peter and Karin exchanged love letters throughout his first year of studies at Waterloo and, in June 1965, Peter asked Heinrich for Karin’s hand in marriage. Peter and Karin were married on July 2, 1966 at the German Mission Baptist Church, where they had been baptized 11 years earlier.

With a Th.B. from the Mennonite Brethren Bible College and a B.A. in Linguistics from Waterloo, Peter decided to continue his studies at the North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD, where he earned a Bachelors of Divinity.

In the Summer of 1968, Peter returned to Winnipeg and the German Mission Baptist Church as a Summer Ministry Student. At the end of the summer, Peter moved to Hartford to continue his academic studies at Hartford Seminary. Because of a postal strike, he belatedly learned that he had also been accepted to Princeton Theological Seminary. Karin remained in Winnipeg for the birth of their first child, Angela Christine, born on November 29th, but joined Peter shortly thereafter.

While attending Hartford Seminary, Peter served as the Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church in Waterbury in 1968 and later the Senior Pastor at both the Montgomery Community Church and Wyben Union Church in Massachusetts from 1969 to 1971. Peter graduated from Hartford Seminary in 1971 with an M.A. in Religion, as faculty changes and health concerns prevented him from finishing his doctoral work.

After graduation, Peter accepted the calling of Immanuel Baptist Church in Woodside, a suburb of New York City. His second child, Sheryl Evelyn, was born there on May 15, 1972. That same year, he accepted an offer to join the faculty of the North American Baptist College (NABC), in Edmonton, AB, as an Old Testament Professor. His third child, Kenneth Andrew, was born in Edmonton, on August 4, 1977.

Peter’s love of learning continued to guide his life, as a teacher at NABC and in sabbatical years at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1978-1979) in Louisville, KY, and Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, Israel (1989). He faithfully taught and mentored countless students, preached at numerous congregations in the Edmonton area and throughout North America, and led short-term missions to Poland and Brazil. He avidly attended the Annual Meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the North American Baptist Triennial Conferences. Peter also served as a pastor at Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre from 1993 to 1995. Due to the challenges of epilepsy, Peter went on permanent disability in 1997 and officially retired in 2005.

Peter the stamp collector

Peter had many passions besides teaching and preaching. For a time, he helped pay for his education as an artist and from his many summer jobs in construction and his relationship with his father-in-law, he learned and enjoyed the work of building fences and sheds, and landscaping. He loved movies, especially historical epics and Westerns; as a child, he was fascinated with cowboys and the Wild West. His favourite sports were soccer and racquetball. He enjoyed thunder storms and mountains, and scenic views. He understood the value of a long drive and appreciated the peace and solemnity of quiet moments. He loved to collect stamps and, indeed, is survived by a very large and valuable stamp collection that, in his retirement, he cultivated through online stamp auctions, which connected him to a worldwide community of philatelists. And, as we all especially appreciated in his last days, he loved smiles, having fun with the grandchildren, and giving kisses.

Peter is survived by his wife, Karin, and his three children, Angela, Evelyn, and Ken. Angela is married to Paul Martial and they have two children, Jacqueline and Samuel. Evelyn is married to Tim Krahn and they have four children, Joshua, Abigail, Joseph, and Simon. Ken is married to Melissa and they have three children, Delaney, Miccah, and Aidan. All of Peter’s children and grandchildren spent time with him in the days before he died on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. He breathed his last with his daughter, Angela, by his side. His last spoken word is a fitting coda to a life lived in service to his family and the Church: “Amen.”

One last look at the light in his window
after he passed away.

As a family, we can confess wholeheartedly that Hans Peter Ristau was a strong and generous man. Never ceasing in empathy and compassion, always faithful, and a person who, by his simple presence in our lives, called out the best in us. Peter is deeply and profoundly missed. Yet, his hope and our own is in Christ Jesus and we look forward in anticipation to the day we will join him again through the resurrection.

Father and son clasping hands one more time. 

We'll all hold him in our hearts forever!
A life well-lived!

Taylor University College & Seminary - Remembering Peter Ristau



ellen b. said...

Oh dear Karin, my heart goes out to you and your family as you suffer the loss of your love. Praying that God will hold you all up in your grieving with comfort. Beautiful tribute to a life well lived...

Anonymous said...

Dear Karin, I am so sorry for your loss. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your entire family. May God richly bless you. With love, Mildred

digitaloma said...

Dear Karin,our thoughts and prayers are with you! Thanks for sharing that beautiful eulogy. May you be very much aware of God's loving arms around you!!
Marlis and Dieter

Mari said...

Oh Karin - this is a beautiful eulogy that shares so much of why Peter was such a special man. I'm in tears after reading this, and seeing the pictures, especially that last one of the hands. Very touching!
What a blessing to be assured of seeing him again, and also in knowing that he is now with the Lord, with no more sickness or pain.
PS - my birthday is also November 24. :)

Ginny said...

I am so very sorry, Karin...

Karen@Candid Diversions said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, Karin.

Keeping your family in my prayers in the days to come.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

Betsy Adams said...

Dearest Karin, You are always in my heart and soul --and I am praying for you and the family. I loved reading more about Peter and his life. What an incredible man he was. You were blessed to have him as your husband and father to your children. May God Bless YOU and keep you in his hands.

Hugs and Prayers,

Wendy said...

Dear Karin,
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. Surrounded by his devoted family, your dear husband left this earth on a wave of love.

He is with God now, and safe.
Sending big hugs and strength for the coming days.

Gram said...


I'm praying for your comfort.

Thank you for sharing the life of this man of God with us through your blog. Thank you for letting us share your grief here also.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

What a wonderful legacy Peter has left. I know that your heart is sad,yet rejoicing that he is whole and complete now.Of one thing we are sure,we will be together again.

George said...

This is a beautiful and loving tribute to a wonderful man. You've spoken of him previously in this blog, and I know of the deep abiding love the two of you had for each other and for God. What a blessing that he could be surrounded by his family, giving and receiving hugs and smiles.

You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Bernie said...

Dear Karin, I am so sorry for your loss. May your memories give you and your family comfort at this time. Sending big hugs, much love and tons of prayers...

Marg said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful tribute to a life filled of service to God. Karin, may you feel God,s arms wrapped around you. So wonderful that his family was there to comfort him and encourage him. I loved that last photo of their hands clasped together.

Jedidja said...

Karin: My condolences. I pray for you and your family. God, Who helps in need, shall carry you through this sad period of life.

Karen said...

Karin, My heart goes out to you at this time. What a lovely tribute this article is to both of you. You are in my prayers. You are an inspiration to me.

Betty W said...

A big ((HUG)) to you Karin! I loved reading about the life of your husband and feel the pain of your losing him. May God give you peace in these coming days!

Shug said...

Karin....this is truly a beautiful testimony of the life lived by your Peter. I extend my condolences for your loss. Every word written in this tribute is so special and speaks clearly of a wonderful man. May God surround you and your family with much comfort and peace.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Karin. May God be your comfort and strength as you continue the journey without him. What a wonderful tribute to your loving husband!

Peggy Jones said...

Dear Karin prayers for you and your family. I remember being taught about St. Joseph, the father of Jesus, as the patron of a happy death. I say that prayer everyday. I believe that Peter was blessed with a "happy death." He was ready and all those who loved him were nearby at the end. Only one who has deep faith and
Christian understanding will see that as a blessing. Take care of yourself, as I know you will and blessings to you all.


I was here a few minutes ago, but left to retrieve some composure. It's always sad for me to read these posts about ones that left behind so many loved ones. The photo of father and son made me bawl. Peter is now resting peacefully in the hands of his maker.

Karen said...

Karin, I am so sorry for the loss of your special man. His legacy and ministries obviously impacted many lives. Lifting you and your family up in prayer....

Terra said...

A life well lived, and his last word was Amen, that is so fitting. Thank you for sharing his story with us even as you mourn his loss.

Jedidja said...

How are you know? I must so think of you.

Psalm 27. Lieve groet.

Julie said...

Karin, I am soooo very sorry for your loss... I know it was your dear husband's gain.. but you will miss him so keenly until you see him again!
A beautiful tribute post to his life!

May God's Presence and comfort be yours...and His love and care fill your every need!

SweetMarie said...

Hi, I just read your comment on Betsy's blog. I'm sorry for your loss.
Hope it's a beautiful day where you are.:)

Karen said...

Karin, Praying for God's comfort and peace for you on your husband's birthday.

Anneliese said...

Karin, I just saw this now and want to add my condolences on the going home of your dear hubby! You mentioned on Doris' blog that it was your first Christmas without him and I had to come here. What a life story and legacy he has left for his family.
May God be very real to you as you enter a New Year . . . different that nay year before . . . trusting in His faithfulness even now.