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1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
WILLIAM TOWER PEAKE Obituary
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October 22, 2018

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Preview Entry
October 22, 2018

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. Legacy.com reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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 Memories & Condolences
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October 13, 2018
I met Professor Peake through an introductory electrical engineering class at MIT. On the first day, he asked all the students in his recitation session to give him a freshman picture of themselves so he could get to know us. Early on, I was very nervous taking those solve-5-problems-in-30minutes quizzes used in the course and failed one of them. I went to Professor Peake for help. He listened and immediately took out a stack of old tests from previous years and watched me work through them. After his coaching I did fine!
That was the start of a friendship that is among the most treasured in my life!
When my husband and I moved to California, we kept in touch through letters and phone calls. We were at the dinner in Mountain View that Harry Chou mentioned and it was a memorably delightful evening. Professor Peake entertained us with his wit, jokes, and pithy observations about human nature. What I remember most about the evening was the way his wife Helen looked at him as if she had just fallen in love. Her eyes sparking. Their chemistry was inspiring!
After Bill retired from teaching and started doing research full time, Helen worked with him and they had a lot of fun doing experiments on animals at a number of zoos and animal facilities around the US. In one letter, she described an incident in Raleigh, N.C. where the mountain lion they were working on with a vet suddenly awakened and jumped up and at that moment they all woke up! She said the vet shouted a swear word which did little to inspire their confidence, but he then took charge and righted everything and the experiment went on.
Professor Peake once advised me that even when many things are going wrong, to be convinced that I "do" make an important difference in the outcome of things. I always felt more hopeful after talking to him and Helen.
I will hold dear my memories of them -- two elegant, generous, down-to-earth people who had the biggest hearts and a most wonderful partnership!
January 15, 2018
I was saddened by Professor's Peake's passing and regret not having kept in touch with him and his wife Helen more often over the years. We all sometimes get so busy with our own lives that we forget that the people we love may not be around forever. He was my undergraduate advisor between 1977 and 1981. During my freshman year, he and Helen invited all his international students to a Thanksgiving dinner. A snow storm had arrived the night before, and I remember trudging through snow to find their house in Newton. They made me feel so warm and welcome as soon as I entered their house. As a foreign student whose family was abroad, I was so deeply moved by their hospitality and thoughtfulness in inviting me to their home. I always remember Professor Peake's wit: At that dinner, we somehow got into the subject of high school reunions, and I always remember his saying, I went to my 25th high school reunion. All the beautiful chicks I wanted to date back then had become old ladies. I myself, on the other hand, had not changed one bit! I have also been strongly influenced by his biking to work during his years of working at MIT. His consistent practice made me realize that It was a great way of integrating some exercise into one's daily commute, and I have done the same as much as possible during my own working life. Years ago, he and Helen visited Northern California. Before their trip, Helen got in touch with as many of his students as she could, and invited us to a dinner with them at a Chinese restaurant in Mountain View, which I remember as though it occurred yesterday. Helen was the kindest and most sincere lady I have ever met. I only learned of her passiing in 2002 by reading this obituary, and was deeply saddened by it. If anyone reading my comments knows what life was like for Professor Peake during his final years, I would very much appreciate receiving a note at [email protected]