Harold F. Peters Jr., 82WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Harold Francis Peters Jr., 82, died peacefully Thursday, April 17, 2014, at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, surrounded by his five children and loving family.
Born in North Adams on Jan. 11, 1932, son of Harold F. Peters Sr. and Esther Cusack Peters, he attended St. Joseph's Elementary and High schools in North Adams, graduating with the class of 1949. He also attended the former Bliss Business College, but left when his parents were unable to afford his books.
Mr. Peters was employed by the former Sprague Electric Co., working with capacitors, until its closure in the 1980s. He worked for a time in maintenance at the state offices for mental health at 333 East St. in Pittsfield before retiring. Prior to that, he had worked at the former North Adams Transcript in circulation.
He was a daily parishioner at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in North Adams. He enjoyed playing basketball and delivering newspapers during his youth.
He was active in the Sprague bowling league and took part in the Strike of 1970. A Transcript photo of him walking the picket line on Marshall Street, which he did daily, periodically appears in publications about the strike. He was very proud of this photo.
His children remember him coming home from work and talking about his day with his co-workers, which they only knew by last names: Battersby, DelDebbio and McPherson.
He proudly carried his "press" card from the Transcript in his wallet until the day he died, showing it to anyone who was interested. He had many interesting stories to tell about his days delivering the paper and working there as well. Its demise was a bone of contention with him and sparked many lively conversations.
He enjoyed the Red Sox, golfing, going to Saratoga (N.Y.) Race Track, traveling, eating out, American history and genealogy, especially researching the Cusack, Morrissey and Peters clans.
He and his first wife, Marguerite Yvonne Cote Peters, met in 1956 and were married in July 1957 at the former Notre Dame Du Sacre Coeur in North Adams. They honeymooned in Boston, attending a Red Sox game, eating at the Oyster House Restaurant, and riding the swan boats.
They settled in North Adams in a flat below his parents in a three-story building at 62 North Holden St., near where Mr. Peters grew up. The home was once owned by the Sullivan brothers, and still stands today. They had five children but divorced in 1969.
They remained friendly and took their children on a memorable bus trip to see Red Sox game, but got lost on the T and had to climb out of a boarded-up entrance, a favorite family story for years after.
He met his wife, the former Gertrude "Marianne" Snide Garcia in the early 1970s. They were married in St. Raphael's Church in Williamstown in September 1977.
Mrs. Peters died in July 2009 after almost 32 years of marriage.
They settled in Williamstown, and enjoyed traveling around the Eastern seaboard. Mr. Peters kept a large garden, taking visitors on a personal tour of the zucchini and tomatoes. His wife would can the fruits of his labor, making many, many quarts of pickles and chili sauce.
They also enjoyed Broadway musicals and took their children and grandchildren to see shows all over Berkshire County. All but one grandchild of the 12 were taken to see a show with "Papa and Grammy," usually to the MacHayden Theatre in Chatham, N.Y. They also took many of their grandchildren on berry picking excursions in Lanesborough and Stamford, Vt. His grandchildren, the first born in 1979, also enjoyed trips to the Saratoga races where they were allowed to bet $2, and to the go-carts in Lanesborough.
They spent winters in Zephyrhills, Fla., for a number of years, taking their time driving there and enjoying the scenery and visiting landmarks of interest to them.
Besides his former wife, he leaves three daughters, Maureen Elizabeth Goodreau and her husband, Roger, of Cheshire, Diane Marie LaValley and her husband, Norman, and Kathleen Ann Cardinal, all of North Adams; two sons, Daniel Francis Peters and his wife, Cathy, James Michael Peters, all of North Adams; five stepchildren, Karen Garcia Toco and Raphael "Butch" Garcia and his wife, Linda, all of Tuscon, Ariz., Jorge Garcia and his wife, Libby, of Pittsfield, Tony Garcia and his wife, Linda, of Maryland, and Consuelo Garcia LaBell and her husband, Peter, of Rutland, Vt.; his sister, RoseMarie Peters and her husband, Wolfgang, of Clarksburg; his special friend and companion Karen Sherman of North Adams, first cousin Mary Cusack Slingerland of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and many loving nieces and nephews.
He also leaves 12 grandchildren, Nicholas Peters of Bennington, Vt., Benjamin Wood of Pittsfield; Amelia Wood of Dallas, Patrick Wood and Erin Lawson, both of Adams, Abigail Wood of Pittsfield and New York City, John K. Wood, Nicole Palma, Kyle Peters and Danielle Cardinal, all of North Adams, Hayden Cantoni of Dalton, and Ryan Lebeau of South Carolina; a stepgrandson, Matthew Goodreau of Albany, N.Y.; four great-grandchildren, Madeline Wood, Benjamin Wood Jr., Tanner Palma and Lador Lawson, and another due in July, and a stepgreat-grandchild, Karysa Goodreau.
Mr. Peters also leaves his beloved and precious housemate Miss Bella.
FUNERAL NOTICE — A Liturgy of Christian Burial for Mr. Peters will take place Thursday, April 24, at 11 a.m. at St. Elizabeth's Church in North Adams. Burial will follow in Southview Cemetery, North Adams.
Calling hours will be Thursday morning from 9 to 10:30 at Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals, Central Chapels, 74 Marshall St., North Adams. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested for St. Elizabeth's Church through the funeral home.
Our father led a long, industrious and productive life. He was respected and well liked by all who were lucky enough to know him. We were blessed to call him Dad, Father, "Padre" and Papa Harry.
Well done Dad, well done.