Vic Potter, long-time philatelist, dies at age 90

Victor George Potter, an accomplished collector, exhibitor and champion of philately, died on Dec. 19 at the age of 90.

A long-time member of his local club, the St. Catharines Stamp Club, Potter was a well-known exhibitor with countless medals at various levels of exhibiting. He was also accredited as a regional judge by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC). At the national level, he served “Organized Philately” as an active member of the RPSC, whose annual Royal Conventions he often helped bring to fruition.

“Vic was a loving and supportive husband to Wendy of 64 years,” reads an obituary published today in the St. Catharines Standard, a newspaper in Potter’s hometown.

“He takes with him great memories of fun times with family and friends in England and enjoyed when they came to visit Canada.”

HOBBY HISTORY

In addition to his hobbies – including not just philately but ancient numismatics and exonumia – Potter was an accomplished painter of birds and landscapes as well as an “enthusiastic” ballroom dancer, according to his family.

At last year’s Royal in Mississauga, Potter took home the Most Popular Exhibit Award for his exhibit, “Paris: Diamonds and Stars – District Offices and District Sub-Offices, 1852-1876.”

At the previous year’s Royal, hosted by the St. Catharines Stamp Club, Potter served as the exhibit co-chair.

A member of the invite-only Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC), Potter highlighted the handstamps used by Posta Europea, a private postal system operating in Egypt before being acquired by the Egyptian government, at a 2009 meeting.

In 2010 and 2011, he won back-to-back second-place honours in the annual PSSC single-frame exhibition for his submissions (“Germany – Postcard & Letter Rates: January 1900-June 1923” and “Marks of the Scottish Additional ½d Mail Tax, 1813-1839, Used in England,” respectively).

Potter’s numismatic experience includes serving at the helm (plus several years as an area director) of the Ontario Numismatic Association (ONA), Canada’s largest provincial numismatic group. In 1975, he was appointed as chair of the ONA’s Charles Laister Trophy Display Committee, which was responsible for the group’s display at that year’s convention.

FOSTER WHEELER EMPLOYEE

For many years, he worked at Foster Wheeler – a Swiss global engineering conglomerate with a factory in St. Catharines – and volunteered as a member of the St. John Ambulance to teach first aid.

Established in 1926, Foster Wheeler’s Canadian branch was St. Catharines’ third largest factory during the Second World War, when it employed more than 140 people in its shops and foundry. At that time, the factory produced boilers for naval corvettes (among other things) before shifting its focus to engineering, fabricating and constructing industrial steam generators and heat-transfer equipment later in the 20th century.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE

In keeping with Potter’s wishes, cremation has taken place and funeral arrangements have been entrusted with Simpler Times Cremation Centre in St. Catharines.

A celebration of life will be held with Potter’s family at a later date.

In place of flowers, people are encouraged to donate to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or Alzheimer Society of Niagara.

A full story on Potter’s life, with comments from his philatelic friends, will be published in the next issue of CSN.

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