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In Memoriam: Peter C. Pineo, 1934-2020

We join with all of Canadian sociology in mourning the passing of Dr. Peter C. Pineo, Professor Emeritus at McMaster University.

Nov 23, 2020

Dr. Pineo was one of the founding members of McMaster’s sociology programs, establishing the MA and PhD programs with our department’s earliest faculty members. He envisioned the potential of sociology to help us understand important issues of the day, and in the importance of having Canadian graduate programs available for Canadian students. His work on sociology of marriage and the family was among the first to harness longitudinal data to understand the decline in marital happiness.

He is most well-known for developing measures of occupational prestige in Canada in collaboration with John Porter and also with Hugh McRoberts, which have been foundational to many subfields of Canadian sociology. Pineo’s insights on occupational prestige were also of critical importance to understanding status differences between ethnic groups in Canada, providing an important cornerstone for the theoretical and empirical development of the sociology of race and ethnicity in Canadian sociology.

As a teacher, he was known for his wry sense of humour. So much so, that his undergraduate students formed an informal “Pineo Appreciation Society.” He was a firm believer in the importance of carefully examined empirical evidence, particularly from large scale surveys and databases. One of his ongoing legacies is evident in the skills in complex quantitative analyses that he nurtured in so many of his students.

Peter is remembered as a family man who was very proud of his garden, which he felt never quite measured up to that of his mother. He was also an active citizen, including working on a UNESCO committee and in party politics here in Canada. He is survived by his daughter Kate, with whom he was very close. He will long be remembered in Canadian sociology.