Ernest N Peter

June 2, 1918September 13, 2011

Ernest N. “Pete” Peter, 93, of Gilsum, a businessman, family man, and lover of the finer things in life, died Tuesday afternoon at his home following a short period of declining health.

Mr. Peter, who moved with his family from New York City to Gilsum in 1965, served as the town’s moderator for nearly 40 years, finally giving up the gavel in 2009, just before his 91st birthday. Mr. Peter was named Gilsum’s citizen of the year in 2007.

Until his final months, he was the hands-on leader of his company, Pathway Book Service, based out of the attic of the home he shared with his wife of 50 years, Judith (Regan). The company, which thrived in recent years as more people began publishing their own books, provides services to small publishers and authors who need help warehousing and shipping their work, and placing their titles in the national book distribution network.

Mr. Peter was passionate about his business, spending long days and evenings in the office, speaking to clients and customers on the phone. He was an unorthodox businessman, often engaging in conversations that went far beyond the business at hand.

He was as passionate about his family, cherishing nothing more than the increasingly rare occasions that he and Judith were able to welcome home their four children and their families, which grew in recent years to include five grandchildren. They most recently were all together to celebrate the Fourth of July, when Mr. Peter sat on his patio, waving burning sparklers with his grandchildren.

All who have remembered Mr. Peter in recent days recall his zest for life. He and his wife didn’t travel often, because of their commitment to their business, but when they could get away, they loved drinking fine wines at top-notch restaurants. Mr. Peter was a devoted gardener, an avid reader, and a hold-no-prisoner card player. He loved Broadway musicals, jazz and any song with a good beat to dance to.

Despite his New York roots, Mr. Peter developed a deep loyalty to the Red Sox, a love that sustained him in his final months. He counted as one of his happiest moments the night that his team broke a World Series drought that began the year he was born.

Ernest Norman Peter was born on June 2, 1918, in Norfolk, VA, the son of Ernest A. and Margaret (Block) Peter. When still an infant, however, his family moved to New York City, where he lived for several decades.

He attended MIT and the Colorado School of Mines, before being drafted into the Army shortly before Pearl Harbor in 1941. After World War II, he also attended Columbia University.

Mr. Peter taught at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York and then worked as a stockbroker on Wall Street in the 1950’s. It was during that time that he also established and ran the Southbrook Camp in Cheshire, MA.

Mr. Peter went on to work for Grosset & Dunlap Publishers and then Harcourt Brace Publishing, both in marketing. In 1965, Mr. Peter and his wife moved to Gilsum and started Stonebridge Press. In 1978, they started the company that would become what is now known as Pathway Book Service.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Peter is survived by their two sons, Marc E. Peter of Denver, CO and Michael S. Peter of Swanzey; two daughters Gretchen H. Peter of Ketchum, ID and Jennifer A. Peter of Boston, MA; and five grandchildren: Alec Peter, Harper and Ellis Mallett, and Clara and Cormac Ryan.

A celebration of Mr. Peter’s life will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 2 p.m. at 4 White Brook Road in Gilsum. All are welcome.

Fletcher Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 33 Marlboro St., Keene, NH is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Mr. Peter’s name to Gilsum Fire & Rescue, Gilsum, NH 03448 or to the Marlow Fire Department, Marlow, NH 03456 or to Monadnock Family Services, 64 Main St., # 301, Keene, NH 03431.


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ernest N Peter

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Tom Scott

October 11, 2011

I remember Mr. Pete, one of my childhood heros, as the head and "voice" (because he had an enormous voice at a time when PA systems were not common) of Camp Southbrook. I worked for him for several summers in the late 50's and early 60's. He knew every one of the 100+ campers and staff personally, and we all felt that he was our friend and confidant. He was very charismatic and we all loved and admired him. He showed me that a man can stand out as a leader by force of brain and personality. I've thought of him often in the last fifty years... I'm sorry he's no longer with us.