Helen Merwin
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D: 2017-06-21
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Gary Gore
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628 Main Street
Bennington, VT 05201
Phone: (802) 442-2516
Fax: 802-442-4952

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Obituary for George Peters

George Peters
On April 13, 2017, George Daniel Peters passed away peacefully in Bennington, Vermont, where he lived for seven years. Born in fruit growing country in Conewago Township in Adams County, Pennsylvania on April 11, 1930 to Harold and Kathryn Peters, George is survived by his beloved wife Marianne Peters as well as his loving family: stepdaughters Jennifer Rubenstein and her son Isaac, Amy Tully and her husband Brian, Rebecca Lavoie, her husband Kevin Flynn, and their children Henry, Teddy, and Lily; his sister in-law Gertrude, widow of George’s late brother Bob, their children Rob and Kathy and Kathy's husband Jim Fissel; his sister Shirley, her son Michael Strickhouser and wife Tierney; his brother Larry, his wife Mary, and their children Larry Jr. and wife Kristi, and Lorne and wife Michelle; his sister Nancy Barbour and her husband Larry, and their children Douglas and wife Tammy, and Daniel and wife Julie. George is also survived by many cousins and grandnieces and nephews, as well as his wife Marianne's sister Kathy Gaffney and brother Fred Gaffney and his wife Aileen, their son Adam and their son Nicholas, his wife Fei, and their infant son Gabriel.

George, long known to his family and friends as a lover of ocean beaches, gardening, cooking and pie baking, theater, classical music, architecture, historic restorations, American history, and the island of Manhattan, was the first in his immediate family to attend college, earning a B.S. in Horticulture at Penn State University. After serving in the Army as a Troop Information and Education Instructor at Fort Knox for two years during the Korean War, George returned to Penn State for graduate studies in history.  

Having had a taste of life in Manhattan while attending the United States Armed Forces Information School at Fort Slocum in New Rochelle, New York during his time in the military, George moved away from his earlier plan of becoming a fruit grower in Adams County and relocated to New York City in 1959. While earning his M.A. in Student Personnel Administration at New York University (NYU), he began his career in university administration by first managing NYU's medical and dental school residences in Manhattan and then the undergraduate residence halls at the University Heights Campus in the Bronx. After more than 25 years, George retired in 1995 from his position as Director of Housing and the Student Center at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

In 1980 George was newly divorced from his first wife Mary Ferrer and living in a waterfront community on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. He was introduced to Marianne Warman by her brother, Fred Gaffney, George’s long-time “bar car” commuting companion on the Long Island Rail Road. When George married Marianne four years later, he happily became a stepfather to her three daughters. Fred’s family members also became permanent fixtures in his life.

While George had many interests, none surpassed his love for gardening. Many in his Freeport, Long Island neighborhood came to know him as he worked in his extraordinary gardens, which contained hundreds of species of plants, flowers, and vegetables, despite inhabiting a scant quarter-acre lot. After invariably being invited into his century old home, new friends would gasp in surprise to see a suburban house full of early American antiques and oriental rugs, the collecting of which was a passion George and Marianne shared during their 32 years of marriage.

George was an active volunteer in many organizations in New York throughout his adult life. For several years he was president of the South Shore Audubon Society and served for nine years on the Nassau County Open Space Survey and Parks Advisory Committee. He enjoyed memberships in several horticulture, conservation, and arts-oriented nonprofits. While living in Old Bennington, he much appreciated events at Bennington Museum, regional theatre, discussion groups, and services and programs at the First Congregational Church of Bennington (Old First Church).

A celebration of George’s life will be held at the Old First Church (Monument Avenue in Old Bennington) on Saturday, May 20th at 1:30PM. Interment in the Bennington Centre Cemetery will follow the memorial service. Anyone wishing to commemorate George's life may consider a donation to the Preservation Fund of the Old First Church (802 447-1223) or Bennington Museum (802 447-1571). For details and condolences, contact the family at  Arrangements by E.P.Mahar & Son Funeral Home, Bennington, Vermont.
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