Vale Peter Lennox Sheils Shihan

February 26th, 1937 ~ April 8th 2010

Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale


On April 8th 2010, after a long and tenacious battle with cancer, we lost our beloved friend Peter Sheils Shihan.

Peter Sheils, Loving husband and father, passionate jazzman, karate man and lawyer, rarely will we see his kind again.

Professionally, Peter rose from humble beginnings to the top of his profession. He was a barrister and later Queens Counsel who was known in the legal fraternity to be a strong believer in and passionate advocate for the rights and innocence of his clients. Peter was known for never taking a backward step with his opponents or the bench. Those of us that knew him well were not surprised by his tenacious battle against the cancers that finally took him from us.

But Peter was more than that, Peter was a dedicated and loving father and husband. Indeed Peter also adopted two children from overseas orphanages to double the number of children under his and Leslie’s loving care and protection.

Peter was also passionate about music, trad-jazz in particular, it was said by some that Peter was a gifted jazz trumpeter,. It was a joy to see his old band, the legendary “The Fortified Few” come out of retirement to play at his memorial service.

Peter also had a great love of traditional Goju-ryu karate and was a loyal supporter of Ceberano Hanshi's karate for many, many years. It is arguable whether or not IGK Karate would still be operational in Canberra today without Peter's ongoing, never wavering support for Hanshi's karate vision.

Indeed, loyalty, devotion and honour are by-words that definitely apply to Peter. If you had Peter's trust, he was with you to the end. As his unofficial son, Alex Alt Shihan was want to say, “if you wanted a definition of 'giri' (the Japanese expression for duty; sense of duty; honour; decency; courtesy; debt of gratitude; social obligation,) that definition would be Peter Sheils!.”

And forever, brother, hail and farewell.