Dear Masanori Obata
I am Peter's cousin, Mary, and I am very glad to learn
that he had such a good friend in you. I am so sad
and shocked to learn of Pete's death and I know that
you also share the pain of this loss. The future will
be lonelier without him. Rosemary, Peter's sister, gave
me your email address and told me of the web site
you are constructing in memory of Peter.
I think he would like the website as memory was
important to him and he said in something he wrote:
"... a memory is the next best thing to being there;
a memory means you were there."
I would like to share some memories on your web site.
Pete had emailed me this July that he was
traveling to Japan to buy a sail boat and that I would not
hear from him for a while. I was just starting to wonder how
things were going, but I had not started to worry yet, when
Rosemary, phoned in early November and told me that
Pete had been found on his boat dead.
It was several days before Rosemary learned, and told me,
that his death had been caused by carbon monoxide
poisoning from his protable propane stove. I was stunned
by the news as I never expected anything to happen
while he was safe in port, and had always worried he
would be lost in a storm or shipwrecked on a rocky shore.
I knew he had lost his beautiful Trimaran on a coral reef
in the south Pacific a few years back. That was when he
got the small steel boat. Rosemary is the one who knows
the story about that. I am happy, Obata, that you helped
him find a fine sailing boat in Japan. His success in buying
the boat must have made him very happy -- and given him
adventures and trips to dream about.
Peter, Rosemary, his sister, and I grew up together
in Brooklyn, New York, frequently visiting and staying over
at each other's homes. Our mothers were sisters.
We all had fun going to the park and loved the beach and
swimming in the ocean -- and our mother's did too.
In fact, most family pictures have the ocean in it.
Growing up Pete always had a soft spoken manner, and a
gentle and independent spirit. He was much loved by all
One of my fondest memories is as a child visiting
Peter and his sister Rosemary while they lived at Gerritson
Beach in Brooklyn -- we must have all been about
8 or 9 years old. It was a sunny day and for some
reason there were thousands of jelly fish that had
washed up on the shore -- and the three of us
ran wildly along the beach. Pete found the
jelly fish interesting. Rosemary was the fastest runner
because she was the oldest, and I was squeemish and
screeching as we tried to avoid stepping on the jelly
fish. It was pure joy. Pete and Rosemary's mother, Evie,
had a very fun loving spirit and always gave us children
the freedom to have fun. I wished that I could live with
I recently asked Pete about his trips to Alaska
where he had gone as a young man. He emailed me :
"My adventures in Alaska began when I was 18 and hitchhiked
there to work.I returned semiannually for 15 years,culmanating
with the Pipeline where I made my fortune,modest though it
be.I havn't been back since but would like to sail there, via
Japan.Maybe next trip."
He told me he worked as a fisherman early on in Alaska, very
hard work, and then operated heavy equipment and was a welder
on the pipeline and the building of the trans Alaskan highway.
I remember Pete said he took hikes on his day off when
working on the pipeline. This was in the middle of the
wilderness, of course, and he said the wolves trailed him,
which made him a little nervous. The men were not allowed
to carry guns for protection, and for some reason the
wolves never attacked the men. Pete said they were huge --
the size of ponies.
Later on in life he decided he liked warm weather better after
trips to Australia (he said sheep sheering was very
tough work), New Zealand, the south seas,
Latin America and his long stays in California and Hawaii -
where he worked as a shipwright building boats.
Peter and I were close as children and became close again
in the last 10 years -- I'd say since around 1990. Before that
his sister and mother kept me informed of his adventures,
but I had not seen him .... since we were around 17-18 years
old -- when he went to for Alaska in 1960 -- and began what
would become a life of many adventures around the world.
Pete and I reconnected when he came to visit Rosemary
and his mother when they were living in southern California and I
was living there, too. When I saw him on that reunion it was so
sweet...he called me his "long lost cousin." Which is how I
felt about him. We had spent a childhood together -- Peter,
Rosemary and I.
Email made it possible to stay in touch the last couple
of years. I love email and the internet which overcomes
As grownups, Pete and I found we had interests in
common, both in exploring nature and figuring our finances
(our budgets) as we got near our retirement years.
He would tell me about his life in the Phillipines, his
sailing adventures with Chona, and ask me questions
about financial matters sometimes where he needed
some additional info -- like how do annuities work, or what
was the tax regulations on something or other. And, he
and my husband, Armin, emailed from time to time
discussing the stock market.
I like research so looking things up for him was
fun for me. I am also trying to do a family history and Peter
shared with me memories he had of our grandparents
that help pull together some of our family's immigrant
I will miss Pete very much and I am very glad that he
was close to Chona and that they shared a life, and that he
had good friends such as yourself, Obata, and Ferdinand and
his family, Kenji and Alice Lemura, and others whose names
I do not know.
Peter, we love you.
Mary, your cousin