Peter Stern

Peter Stern 91, passed away peacefully at home on October 1, 2012. Stern was a much beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, poet, inventor, businessperson, tennis player, and grassroots politician. Born on November 20, 1920, the eldest child of David (a Philadelphia dentist and published light verse poet) and Edith (nee Katzenberg) Stern (Co-director of the Tripp Lake Camp in Poland Springs, ME for 50 years), Stern spent most of his life in the Philadelphia area, graduating from the Oak Lane Country Day School. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1943, and served in the Army during World War II. In the 1960s, Stern was inspired to create a solution to the theft of library books which was tested at the Frankford branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The success of the technology led to the founding of Checkpoint Systems, Inc. in 1967, with Stern as its president. Peter Stern continued to lead Checkpoint until his retirement in 1985. Stern was a lifelong poet and known for his song parodies. Each wedding, birthday, family or political celebration was marked with one of his songs. Many of these parodies are captured in his two collections of light verse, At Eighty, and At Ninety. Stern is also the author of Gifford the Giraffe, an illustrated collection of the stories he first told his grandchildren. Stern was passionate about grassroots Democratic politics in Cheltenham Township and Montgomery County. His work and support was crucial in many Democratic victories. During his involvement, Stern helped the Democrats increase their political influence in local, county and national government. Stern was able to weave all of his passions and interests into his family. His children include Steven (Laura Kavesh) and Andrew (Melissa McGrain), with his first wife, Susan Stern of Elkins Park, and the Johnston stepchildren he shared with his widow, Joan Johnston-Stern; Laurie, Wendy (Tom Bracaglia), Tracy (Jeff Kirchner), Thomas (Claire Marie), Rob (Stacie) and Jennifer (Will Nagy). Stern found true joy in his seventeen grandchildren, and they in "Pop-Pop," whether in telling jokes at the kitchen table, a math or spelling quiz, in a tennis lesson, a discussion of political activism or in a bedtime story about Gifford. Stern is survived by his wife, Joan Johnston-Stern, his children, his grandchildren, his sister, Dene and her children (Peter and Lisa). A service in Stern's memory will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 11 am at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Wyncote, PA. Gifts may be made in Peter Stern's memory to the Friends of the LamottLibrary, 7420 Sycamore Ave, La Mott, PA 19027 where a lecture series in his honor was established in 2012.

Published in Montgomery Newspapers on Oct. 4, 2012