Tying A Bowline – In Memory Of Peter Lasch Sr.

Tying A Bowline – In Memory Of Peter Lasch Sr.

Today is Remembrance Day. And it is a little different for my family this year than previous years. This is the first Remembrance Day that we will be without a very special man, Peter J. Lasch Sr.

Peter  J. “Pops” Lasch Sr.

Peter, my Grandfather – also known as Pops – was a true gentleman, a devoted husband, loving father, and proud grandpa. He was a master machinist and passionate paddler. He was also a veteran of World War II. Although we just lost him this past summer, Peter lives on in our hearts and memories, and even the knots we tie.

Thus, this blog posting is dedicated to the honour of my Grandpa Lasch on behalf of my mother, Mhairi, and my father Mike (a.k.a. Poppa Badger), as well as my Grandmother and the rest of the Lasch clan. It is also in honour of all Veterans of the past, present, and future – including my Grandpa Harry Westner – and any or all who served and sacrificed for our freedom. We will never forget…..

Pops & Sue look over the map while on trip.

Pops & Poppa Badger – On How To Tie A Bowline:

“I was taught the bowline knot by my father-in-law Peter (a.k.a. Pops), an old navy boy who was a master at knots, monkey fists, turk’s head, the bowline, etc.  Fiona (of Badger Paddles), my daughter, mastered the knot the same way and the same crazy test. {Tying a bowline with both hands behind your back, standing on one foot, all with your eyes closed!} Once you learn it that way, you never forget it. Pops use to tell me you had to learn that knot and how to tie it with one a handed wrist action as a life saving tool in the event you ever fell over board in the navy. This knot could be done around your waist and will not slip allowing you to be pulled to safety and of course the knot can be released very easy.” ~ Mike Westner (a.k.a. Poppa Badger).

Sue and Pops with an Algonquin moose.

The following video, dedicated to the memory of Pops, shows how to tie a bowline using Grandpa’s (Pops’) method:

The following text was written by Poppa Badger upon the passing of his father-in-law, and Fiona’s grandfather, Peter (Pops) Lasch – the man who tied a bowline around our hearts. It was read at Pops’ funeral service by Poppa Badger to many tears and smiles.

Hello. For those who do not know me, I’m Mike. Pops’ son-in-law. I would like to take a few moments to talk about a father-in-law who was really so much more.

Arriving on the scene as an eighteen year old, I was made to feel welcome in their house. and as Pops used to put it “It’s just another plate to wash!”. Soon after I was invited along on their camping trips into Opeongo Lake in  Algonquin Park. I thought “Wow! Algonquin AND my girlfriend?!!” After a few of these trips I thought “I’d better cement this deal. After all, this was ALGONQUIN!”.

Pops and Sue (my mother-in-law) shared the desire with their daughter and I to see all of Algonquin by canoe and this led to aour annual two week camping and canoeing trips that ended up spanning over 35 years – with the last few years trips to Quetico Wilderness Park.

Peter (Pops) Lasch Sr.

It’s on these trips where I grew to admire  Pops’ many talents, especially his skill with rope and knot tying. Pops was a wizard with knots. Pops and Sue were not fancy paddlers, but together they were strong canoeists who could handle whatever Nature brought their way. Now if there happened to be a mishap, like someone falling in the rapids, or getting their sleeping bags wet – Pops was the culprit.

A couple of more serious occasions come to mind, like very early one morning while camping at the top of Opeongo Lake, Pops was splitting kindling with a hatchet when he quietly said “I think I chopped my finger off.”. Well, he had! And Sue bandaged him enough for a boat ride to the Ranger’s Station, then a car ride to the Doctor’s in Whitby. I thought “That’s the end of this trip!”. But much later that day Pops and Sue were back and the next day we were all swimming. I remember: There’s Pops standing in the lake up to his chest with his newly shortened finger high above his head so it didn’t get wet!

On another occasion we arrived to pick up Pops and Sue for a canoe trip and there was Pops sitting at the kitchen table with a broken jaw; courtesy of an errant puck from an amateur hockey game the night before. Again I thought : That’s the end of this trip!”. But after seeing three disappointed faces, Pops insisted we all go. That night, three of us ate steak, potatoes, and corn; and poor Pops had whatever he could get through a straw. He would do anything to make us happy!

I find it odd and strange how we remember someone who touched our lives is not always because of some great deed. With Pops, for me, it could be whenever I pick up a piece of rope, or whenever I see those grey lumberhack socks with the two red bands, or maybe a white Sailor’s hat. Simple things, yes, but this is how he lived his life. Always taking his joy from loving his family.


Rest in Peace, Pops. And know that we take great joy from loving you too.

1 Comment
  • Algonquin Outfitters
    Posted at 14:27h, 11 November

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us on this day to remember.