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Peter Lyon "Big Pete" Duttweiler

Peter Lyon "Big Pete" Duttweiler

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November 27, 2014
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May 16, 2011
Peter was a precious friend. He was kind and generous. He will be fondly missed.
May 06, 2011
When Peter returned from Vietnam, he had a report from his Commander-in-Chief based on his job performance as a Radio Operator and later as Operations Sergeant with Company B, 19th Engineering Battalion (Combat) (Army). This feedback made his parents, Harold and Frances Duttweiler very proud. In a letter to Peter's sister Gail, Frances wrote, "Peter showed us his Commander-in-Chief's report on him while he was in Viet Nam and you can really be proud of that report. He really praised Pete and Dad had some Zerox copies made from the original just to casually pass around to relatives, etc. when they come here."
The commendation reads as follows:
Specialist Four Peter L. Duttweiler RA11973795 distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service, not involving participation in aerial flights, while serving as Radio Operator and later as Operations Sergeant with Company B, 19th Engineering Battalion (Combat) (Army) during the period 10 December 1967 to 1 December 1968.
During his service in the republic of Vietnam, Specialist Four Duttweiler’s exceptional performance, particularly as Operations Sergeant and maximum degree of proficiency and initiative were amply demonstrated in his unit’s detail and timely reporting, internal construction projects, and accomplishment of its engineering missions. Encountering a myriad of administrative and logistical problems magnified by the most adverse field conditions and coupled with the inherent dangers associated with combat operations, Specialist Four Duttweiler’s outstanding ability to anticipate and react with workable solutions to numerous problems was a major factor leading to the successful completion of the unit’s mission.
Specialist Four Duttweiler possessed at all times a keen interest and devoted many extra hours or arduous labor to achieve maximum results in the performance of his assigned duties. Having no prior experience what-so-ever, Specialist Four Duttweiler was so impressive initially as an Operations Sergeant that he was promoted to acting sergeant status.
For someone so junior in rank working constantly with platoon leaders and platoon sergeants to coordinate combat support and construction operations, he performed his duties with a professional drive and an unlimited amount of common sense, rarely displayed by senior non-commissioned officers.
His duties also included compiling training schedules to insure mandatory training was conducted as prescribed, a difficult job while coordinating equipment and material resources. On several occasions he designed and supervised the constructions of facilities in the company and to better assist in its operations. SP4 Duttweiler’s professionalism, exception performance, initiative, outstanding devotion to duty and demonstrated drive have attained the greatest respect for himself and are in the keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and the Corps of Engineers.
Daniel H. Hornbarger (Commanding Officer) (I hope the name is correct -- it is difficult to read the signature).
March 10, 2011
To Gail Duttweiler McVicker, Sister
Dear Gail,
I wanted to express my sincere and deep condolences to all of your family about Peter.
He was a great guy -- I really, really liked him. The information in his obituary was really profound. He was obviously a great influence and touched a lot of people with Alpha.
I care about you and your wonderful family and wanted you to know I was thinking about you.
Love, Sandy (Redmond) Peters
March 10, 2011
To Gail Duttweiler McVicker, Sister
Dear Gail,
I know how much you loved your brother Peter. I was so interested in your comment about having "talked" with him when you last visited your Aunt Mildred -- I so believe in communication with those passed.
Much love and many thoughts,
Your friend, Ruby
March 10, 2011
To Gail Duttweiler McVicker, Sister

Dear Gail,
I am so sorry that I was unable to personally extend my condolences at the passing of your brother. Even though he had been sick for such a long time, I will always remember him as someone full of zest for life with an immense generosity of soul.
Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. There is nothing I can say to ease your pain, only that I think of you and ask God to be generous in his graces as your family lives through this time of grief.
Love Piri Taborosi
March 10, 2011
To Gail Duttweiler McVicker, Sister

Dear Gail,
Just a note to let you know I am thinking about you at this time of loss. I know you have lost two significant people in your life. I can only imagine they have left behind a big space in the world, a space that they each filled for you (in this life) with very special memories and kindnesses. I hope when you think of them all their goodness will come to comfort you.
Love you,
Tina (Nesmith)
March 10, 2011
To Gail Duttweiler McVicker, Sister
Gail,
It's hard to lose a sibling, especially one as special as Peter. He had a real joy for life.
I'm sorry for your loss.
Pat
March 10, 2011
To Gail D. McVicker, Sister

Dear Gail,
I was saddened to hear about your recent loss. Peter did a lot of good for a lot of people and he showed incredible strength. We could all borrow from his examples and make the best of a "bad" situation.
I hope that you have comfort and peace in your memories of him.
Love, Karen Yuschak
March 10, 2011
Note: The following (edited version) was written by Peter's cousin, Michael Duttweiler. Posted by Gail Duttweiler McVicker.

Reflections of Peter
Michael W. Duttweiler
Peter and I grew up two years and a world apart. We really had the Country Mouse/City Mouse routine down pat. Every summer, I anxiously looked forward to the arrival of the Syracuse Duttweiler contingent….and every summer I anxiously looked forward to their departure. For those many years, we gathered under the skillful supervision of Dear Aunt Millie who tried to teach, entertain, and exhaust the Duttweiler cousins.
Those were great childhood experiences for me. But I never knew how much they meant to Peter until the occasion of my parents’ 80th birthdays, Peter’s Uncle Russell and Aunt Gladys. I collected stories from the family and here’s a sampler of what Peter had to say:
One of the happiest moments on my visits down to Jeffersonville that I can recall has to do with oil, grease, gas, and school buses. I don’t know if it is hereditary or not but after unloading the Syracuse chapter of the Duttweilers –“You take em’ for the summer. We need a break.” – I would head down to Uncle Russell’s garage, that always cool garage in the dead heat of summer. I will always recall the smell of that cold concrete, the tires of the buses, the oil and the gas.
When those buses were parked they became a fantasy for a youngster such as myself. I couldn’t wait to get in the driver’s seat and pretend I was driving one of those large vehicles. I would shift the gears, turn the lights on and honk the horn, hoping Uncle Russell wouldn’t hear. The biggest thrill for me was turning on the school bus flashers. I thought that was the nuts! I would enjoy hitting the brake pedal and listen to the whoo-oo-o-shing of air escaping as I released the pressure on the pedal. The released air would hit the concrete floor and magnify the great smells in the garage. Sometimes even Michael would put up with my shenanigans and be my passenger on our imaginary trips across the bus garage. I was always afraid that Uncle Russell would call a halt to these journeys. Come to think of it though, maybe he did have a sneaking suspicion of what I was up to.
More from Peter:
One of my special memories with Uncle Russell was when he invited me to go along with him and Mike to Binghamton on the milk run. We loaded up in the tractor trailer and away we went stopping along the way to pick up milk crates at various stops.
When we finally arrived at the Crowley’s milk processing plant down in Binghamton, a young boy’s dreams were fulfilled. The milk plant would let you, as long as you were loading or unloading, enjoy ice cold creamy chocolate milk, white milk, lemonade, or even ice cream mix!….as much as you wanted! Now, you are talking my kind of reward. I had so much fun on that trip and drinking all that free chocolate milk. Uncle Russell put cups of ice cream mix in the dry ice cooler and so we could have fudgecicles along the way. Why, it just doesn’t get any better!
The trip back to Jeff was a different story as it became a matter of strong personal bladder control. You know, what goes in must come out! Ahhh, the pleasures of childhood in Jeffersonville, the big rigs, and on the road with Uncle Russell. Thanks Uncle Russell for taking me on that trip. It was never forgotten. Now, where’s my lemonade?
And another:
When I knew Uncle Russell was down in the school bus garage working and Aunt Gladys was in another part of the house, I would love to play office manager. I would quietly slip into Uncle Russell’s office and pretend that I was in charge of the shipping and receiving department taking and sending out orders. Perhaps this jogs Michael’s memories as often he was hired as my secretary to take down the intricate details and overflowing work orders that I just couldn’t handle. Proper delegation of job responsibilities, you see, is a strong quality of an efficient office manager.
My favorite part of the “Office Boss” job came when I had to tabulate all the figures that my secretary Michael D. would present to me. And the only way to do this was to use Uncle Russell’s nifty “state of the art” desktop calculator/tabulator/crank adding machine. The thing weighed more than a school bus tire.You know the type. It had all kinds of nifty number buttons that you could push down and pull the crank toward you. Instantly, like magic, the keys would strike the fresh ribbon and transfer the results onto the three-inch wide paper roll. Now this was fun for a young juvenile, playing office manager and even doing a payroll or two. One day, I was furiously flying over those little buttons that stuck straight up on the machine and I did have a large payroll to do. My fingers were rapidly hitting the 1’s, the 2’s and the zero button while registering each entry with a pull on that tabulator handle. Suddenly, after one gargantuan entry, something like $1,334,098.00 or so, the handle on the machine wouldn’t register the figures I entered. In fact, the handle of that big gray-green payroll machine just hung up in the middle and refused to budge. I specifically recall that even the buttons I pushed refused to “pop” back up from their little chutes that registered the figures. For the first time in my life, the word “JAM” had another connotation and meaning. And it wasn’t a preservative.
Hindsight, of which I had little in those days, told me that I should close office early and pray that Uncle Russell would think that his now prized calculator/payroll machine automatically went on the fritz by itself. But, you know Uncle Russell, being very mechanically inclined, might have had a sneaking suspicion that I was in the office working those warm, hazy, summer afternoons during my vacations in Jeff.
Funny part is you know, he never said anything. I always wondered how everyone got paid that week?
[Postscript: I took the rap for Pete.
 MD] I believe Peter would be greatly disappointed in me if I didn’t try to make you laugh today so let me share two of his most endearing attributes. The first is that Peter could be VERY persuasive. In fact, I can’t think of anyone else with more ability to get me to do STUPID THINGs. I do have to acknowledge that he had a lot of encouragement particularly from Gail, and occasionally from David, but it was Peter’s persuasion that did the trick.
One episode happened only a few blocks from here. It involved a certain Valley elementary school, a rock, and a window. My lasting memory was Peter yelling “I can’t believe you did that!” and then running as far and as fast as I ever have in my life.
Even more impressive though, either that same summer or the next summer there was a second incident that happened in the lot next to our grandmother’s in Jeffersonville. That incident involved a bow, an arrow, and a stained-glass window in the synagogue. Despite another fast retreat, I paid for that one by apologizing in front of congregation leaders and through a tithe on my allowance. A persuasive man indeed.
One of the attributes of both the Syracuse and Jeffersonville Duttweilers that I hold dear is the ability to find fun in almost any situation. Linda may have a few thoughts about just how endearing that is. Peter was the absolute champion of fun. I don’t know how many times I remember my sister Bobbie saying to him, after one of our Peter-inspired exploits, “Peter, You Big Goof.” I can’t quite say it right. The affect should be equal parts astonishment and deep affection.
Some years the Syracuse crew was kind enough to take me on summer travels. We didn’t get to travel during summer because of the family business so that was a real treat for me. For example, I remember having a blast with Peter at Sandy Isle Beach in Sandy Pond[sunburn, bloody nose]. But the trip I have in mind was a camping trip to Hither Hills, far out on Long Island. We found ourselves plodding along on the Long Island Expressway at a snail’s pace. Peter and I were in the back seat. Was it a station wagon? It was a parents’ nightmare. We were all getting tired, cranky, and agitated when I looked over to see Peter wrapped in a white beach towel crouched down and peering out the window. The trip flew by from then on, with dozens of double takes and near accidents from cars passing by.
Finding fun in unexpected places. There’s much more to tell but I will spare you except to say, Thank you, Peter.
You Big Goof.
~
Michael Duttweiler,
New York
February 22, 2011
Eileen,

I was so sorry to hear of Peter's passing. I knew him from our Alpha support group and know he will be greatly missed by so many.

Peter was a kind, courageous, and strong man. He is likely holding your hand to help you through this difficult time.

My thoughts and love are with all his loved ones.

Teryl

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