Peter Kule (1921 - 2023)

12 December 2023



With heavy hearts, we join the University of Alberta community in mourning the loss of Dr. Peter Kule, and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. Peter Kule passed away on December 6, at the age of 102. He will be well and fondly remembered for the many lives he has touched through his exceptional philanthropy in the fields of education and research, including the support of graduate students at the Kule Folklore Centre. Together with his wife, the late Dr. Doris Kule, Peter notably established a number of generous endowments, launching institutes and centres that bear his name.

Peter Kule was born in Stratyn, Ukraine, and immigrated to Canada with his mother and brothers in 1938.  They settled in Two Hills, Alberta, where he quickly learned English and completed school.  In 1940, Peter Kule moved to Edmonton, where he trained as an accountant.  He later met and married his sweetheart, Doris Radesh.  Peter opened his office in accountancy in Edmonton in 1945 and had great success as an investor.  His business ventures were successful, prompting the Kules to contribute to the growth and stability of their community through their many contributions to grants, scholarships, and endowments. 

The Kules were active members of the Ukrainian community.  They attended St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Edmonton and participated in many cultural organizations, including the Ukrainian Catholic Brotherhood of Canada and the Ukrainian Professional and Businessmen's Club.  Dr. Kule received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, one of the highlights being in 1993 when Pope John Paul II proclaimed him a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

In his retirement, together with his wife Doris, Peter turned his attention to philanthropic activities, with particular support for education and Ukrainian studies in Canada and abroad.  Through Peter's friendship with Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky, the Kules became aware of the growing Ukrainian language and folklore studies program in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta.  In support of research and instruction, Drs. Peter and Doris Kule made significant donations to the Ukrainian Folklore Centre in 2003, 2006, and 2007, establishing an endowment to support the Ukrainian Folklore Centre and the Kule Chair of Ukrainian Ethnography and prompting the Centre to be renamed the Peter and Doris Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore, or Kule Folklore Centre for short.  In 2005, Peter and Doris Kule became the first joint recipients of honourary doctorates from the University of Alberta.

Peter's legacy lives on in the hearts and memories of the many lives he touched.

May his memory be eternal – Вічная пам’ять!

Read the University of Alberta's Statement here