Peter Hallock

April 8, 1931September 25, 2020

89, of Touisset, Massachusetts, died peacefully on September 25 in the company of his family. Born on April 8, 1931, Pete was a kind and creative person with a passion for adventure and a knack for doing things his own way. The founder and CEO of Gripnail Corporation, Pete came from a long line of inventors, including his father, Robert Lay Hallock, who held more than 30 patents, and whom Pete credited with “teaching him how to work with his hands.” Pete’s abiding curiosity about the world emerged early. His mother loved to tell the story of how as boy, Pete took a beach umbrella and a rowboat and let the wind propel him 12 miles up Pleasant Bay in Chatham, MA, “just to see where the wind would take him.”

When he was 19, Pete proposed to the “smartest and most beautiful girl he’d ever seen,” Margaret Beveridge Hunter. The couple wed in 1953, shortly after Pete graduated from Cornell University, welcomed daughter Ann Beveridge Hallock in 1967, and were married for 58 years until Peg’s death. They spent many happy summers together in Chatham, MA, a place they both loved deeply. Their stories of moonlit excursions over the dunes in an old Model A Ford and beach parties on Monomoy delighted younger generations. In the early 1960s, Pete and Peg built a camp on Nauset Beach. There Pete taught Annie to cast for blues, dig steamers, drive a beach buggy, and to love the ocean. Later, Pete and Peggy shared many of these activities with their adored grandchildren, Nathaniel Hunter Hallock Markey and Sarah Beveridge Penelope Markey

An avid sportsman, Pete was especially passionate about one-design sailboat racing, in which he said the difference between winning and second place came down to the skill of the skipper and “the length of a cotter pin.” He won many awards in a range of boats, but his fondest memories were “frostbiting” in his Penguin dinghy in Bristol Harbor and racing his Herreshoff S boat, Lady Luck, with his seasoned crew. A dedicated rower, Pete would do his “nautical jogging” every morning before work, a fishing line trailing over the transom of his ocean-going dory. Pete also earned a pilot’s license at age 16, ran an aerial photography business while in college, and after the death of Peggy in 2011, completed an epic, months-long cross-country flying trip with co-pilot Dan Rumplik. It was something he’d always dreamed of doing.

Pete was a 1949 graduate of Choate Academy, where he ran cross country, wrestled, boxed, pole vaulted—and peeled his share of potatoes as punishment for rules infractions. “It was worth it,” he often said with a grin. Going on to Cornell, he earned a degree in industrial design and helped found the school’s sailing program. After graduation, and serving in the Air Force in Pensacola, Florida, Pete earned his MBA at Cornell. He began his career as account executive during the Mad Men era of advertising, first at McCann Erickson in Manhattan and later with Noyes & Company in Providence. In 1965, he started his own company, Gripnail Corporation in East Providence. Starting with just one employee – Peg – the business grew to include a staff of 75 as it developed, manufactured, and marketed innovative metal fasteners and equipment. An attentive boss, he was always eager to hear new ideas, which he said were as likely to come from the shop floor as from business school. Before retiring in 2000, he turned Gripnail into an employee-owned company, ensuring that workers would have a stake in the business they had helped build. He was especially grateful to his trusted advisors, Chris Ryding, David Ashton, and John Barker.

Late in life, Pete was lucky to meet Margaret “Peggy” Welsh of Swansea, MA, and they married in 2014. Together they savored many happy hours and greatly enjoyed one another’s company in Touisset, Chatham, and Spruce Creek, FL. In his final years and especially the last months, the loving care of Peggy, as well as her sisters Ellie Ware and Rita Cotter, made it possible for Pete to enjoy life and remain in his home, comforted by the view of Narragansett Bay.

Pete was the son of the late Robert Lay and Marjenette (Roberts) Hallock and the brother of the late Robert Lay Hallock, Jr. In addition to his wife, Peggy, daughter, Ann, son-in-law Kevin, and grandchildren Nat and Sarah, Pete leaves his sister-in-law Garnet Hallock, niece Alicia Meryweather, and niece Marcia Hakala and Marcia’s husband, Skip Hakala. He will be greatly missed by his many friends and sailing buddies, who wish him fair winds and full sails. A celebration of Pete’s life will be held at a later date, when everyone can safely be together. In lieu of flowers, donations in can be made to two organizations with which Pete was deeply involved, Stevens Treatment Programs ( and Save the Bay ( His funeral arrangements are in the care of Waring-Sullivan Home at Birchcrest, Swansea.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Peter Hallock

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Michael Bridge

October 18, 2020

My heartfelt condolences to the Hallock family. As an old neighbor of Pete I can certainly vouch that he was a fine fellow, always a kind word and an interesting way about him.

Brad Boss

October 9, 2020

With utmost respect and treasured memories of all things Peter Hallock, especially Penguin Frostbiting and sailing S Boats with Vixen against his Lady Luck. Pete was always a wonderful competitor; yet, as well, a friend!


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