by Dan Bieker, 24 Sep 2018
How sad that Peter Brask has suddenly and unexpectedly passed from our midst. Birding was Peter’s passion, and he was well known within the birding community, especially among long term club members. It was not uncommon on an early morning visit to one of the various county hot spots to find him thrashing around in the underbrush or woods for the previous hour, having already tallied 30 or more species.
Unique does not begin to describe Peter, or his lifestyle. Suffice it to say that he was not tethered to societal norms, nor was he encumbered by such luxuries as windows, doors, or plumbing. As Lou Tanner alluded in his fine tribute, Peter’s home was open to the world, and finding a Carolina Wren nesting in the bookshelf next to the dinner table was cause for joy, not alarm. While highly intelligent and well versed in most any topic, he embodied the epitome of the simple lifestyle – close to the earth and completely without pretense. On a tour of his rural ‘estate’ a few years back I was impressed by his sleeping quarters, which consisted of a sleeping bag sprawled out on the floor of an open-sided shed in his backyard, and the elaborate water feature he constructed that attracted many a rarity over the years. But for all his frugality, Peter could hardly be described as a recluse. Many a weekend night he could be found cutting up the dance floor at the Batesville Market, and in recent years he embraced such modernities as Smart Phones, Facebook and Netflix.
Two things will always stand out in remembrance of Peter: his passion for birds, and his willingness to assist anyone in need – anyone. He was completely unselfish with his time, whether driving neighbors to appointments, or helping with yard work for those who were unable. Well, a third thing too – his humor. Birding by nature is fraught with humor and no one relished that more than he did. Lou and I will miss the levity he brought to the Warren Christmas Count every winter, as well as any outing he joined. A peaceful soul has passed on; may he bring the same gentle presence to the next realm as he did to this one.
(Editor’s Note: Here is the link to Peter’s obituary from the Daily Progress.)