CARMEL, CA – Herschel Peak was born in 1924 in Pittsburgh, PA. He moved to Los Angeles when he was five years old. He attended Los Angeles High and UCLA.|
He graduated from UCLA in February 1945 with NROTC Commission as Ensign, USNR. He then served on the heavy cruiser Louisville that led the task force supporting the landings at Okinawa.
Following the war, he worked with his father until the need for more independence and excitement led to an application to join the newly created Central Intelligence Agency. That led to an Assignment to the Embassy in Mexico City in 1951. In 1954, he went to Madrid, Spain. Four years later, he was assigned to the Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. He served there for five years, the last two as Chief of Station, with the Agency serving a key role in helping the Venezuelan government put down the first major Guerrilla uprising sponsored by Cuba and the USSR.
He was then assigned to Hqus in Langley, VA as Chief of Covert Action for Latin America: followed by four years as COS in Lima, Peru. He returned to Langley for two years as Chief of the Italian Branch. He then went as COS to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the period when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown, murdered and a communist regime took over.
Herschel retired in 1975 and moved to Carmel, but was occasionally called upon for special ops, including an eight-month tour in 1977 to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
He was employed by the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1978; served in various staff capacities for 12 years, lastly as Director of Public Relations.
Herschel was a renaissance man. He enjoyed drawing, carving and building. He had a wonderful voice and started the "Spring Sing" with three of his fraternity brothers in 1942. This idea spread throughout the other universities in the United States. In 2008, he was honored at UCLA's "Spring Sing". He spoke three languages. He was a voracious reader. He loved politics and international affairs and was extremely knowledgeable. Golf was his passion.
Herschel's zest for life was contagious. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. He and his wife, Joan had 25 years of love, fun and adventure.
He is survived by his wife, Joan; his son, Denny and daughter, Laura; three grandchildren, Dag, Marissa, and Zack. He has two stepsons, Mark and Jamie and a daughter in-law, Sheri and baby, Madeline. His son, Gregory and his first wife predeceased him.
He was a member of the Wise Guy Club, International Club, SURS, and the Carmel Foundation Men's Group.
Services will be held March 8, 2014 at 1:30pm at St. Dunstan's Church off Robinson Canyon Rd. in Carmel Valley.
Please no flowers. Remembrances may be sent to Wounded Warriors, Carmel Foundation or Rancho Cielo, P.O. Box 6948, Salinas, CA 93912.
Published in The Monterey Herald on Mar. 2, 2014