Peter Grubb Dearing

DEARING, PETER GRUBB, 66, son of the late Andy and Hebe Dearing of Louisville, and a direct descendant of George W. Swearingen, a founder of the First National Bank of Louisville, died peacefully on June 18th at his home in New York City, following an 18-month battle with cancer. Born in 1947, Peter attended Louisville Country Day School and graduated in 1965 from St. George's School in Newport, RI. He received a B.A. in History from Harvard in 1969, then joined the Navy, became a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, and served for three years as Engineering Officer aboard the USS Van Voorhis, a destroyer escort. Peter earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve in 1975 and an MBA from Columbia in 1980.

After early careers in law and advertising, he found his calling as an educator at the Winston Preparatory School for learning disabled high school students in New York City. He taught history, literature and earth science at Winston, commuting daily by bicycle from his Upper West Side brownstone for more than 20 years.

Travel of all sorts was a central theme in Peter's life; he saw much of the world. But he was especially fond of road trips. As a young man, his vehicles of choice were Alfa Romeos and a Toyota Supra. After becoming a husband and father, he bought more utilitarian Dodge minivans.

Every spring for decades, Peter and his wife, Jeffrey, toured some part of Great Britain by car, stopping at pubs along the way to indulge in good food and English ales. Each summer, he took his family on lengthy camping expeditions around the U.S. A proud Southerner, Peter made certain there were multiple stops at Civil War battlegrounds and barbeque joints. Equally fond of baseball, he loved traveling to minor league games wherever they were played, particularly those of his hometown Bats (nee Redbirds).

Yet for all his wanderings, Peter was always happiest at his weekend house in Hudson, NY, about 100 miles north of Manhattan, where he enjoyed nothing more than firing up his Indian-built Mahindra tractor for a morning of hay-cutting, or waging ceaseless war against encroaching sumac which, after many years, he had provisionally defeated.

Peter's musical tastes ran from Bo Diddley and Leon Redbone all the way to Handel and Wagner. Among thinkers, he respected the conservative philosopher and comedian, Brother Dave Gardner, and quoted him, liberally.

He was predeceased by his brother, A. Chenault Dearing.

Peter is survived by his wife of thirty-two years, Jeffrey Zeiler; his son, Peter S. Dearing and daughter, Stewart C. Dearing, all of New York; and his sister, Peggy Dearing Hooker of New Canaan, CT.

There will be a private family service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Peter's name to the National Down Syndrome Society ( in honor of his friend Carson Goodwin.


Published in The Courier-Journal on June 23, 2013