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Junius "Jay" Peake

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Junius "Jay" Peake Obituary
Former Englewood resident Junius "Jay" Peake, an expert in the structure of financial markets whose ideas, originally thought radical, were embraced by Wall Street, died Friday in Greeley, Colo. He was 80.

Mr. Peake moved to Greeley in 1993 to teach at the University of Northern Colorado's Monfort College of Business.

The Manhattan native, who left Syracuse University after a year because of the death of his father, began his Wall Street career in 1950 at the brokerage firm Garvin, Bantel & Co. His first job there, he once recalled, was changing the ink in the ticker machine.

Later, at Shields & Co., he was partner responsible for operations.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Mr. Peake lobbied for improvements in trading and settlement and greater transparency on Wall Street. He was motivated by the "back-office crisis" brokerage firms' difficulty in processing a high volume of trades.

His push for screen-based trading bore fruit in 1983 when he headed the launch of the first automated futures exchange.

Mr. Peake, a former governor and vice chairman of the National Association of Securities Dealers, parent of the Nasdaq exchange, also was considered the father of "decimalization" the pricing of stocks using dollars and cents, rather than fractions. That became reality in 2000.

As an Englewood-based securities consultant, he introduced the basics of capitalism to clients in the Soviet republics. Closer to home, the Rotary Club member organized a mentoring program involving Dwight Morrow High School students bent on becoming business leaders.

Mr. Peake picked up East Coast stakes upon joining the University of Northern Colorado faculty. He had "14 glorious years" as a professor of finance there, his wife, Diane Ryerson-Peake, said.

"Jay loved the teaching, the kids, stirring up controversy," she said. "He loved a good fight and was passionate, opinionated and tenacious. When he believed in someone or something, he stuck by it."

Mr. Peake, who was frequently quoted in the business and consumer press, suffered a series of strokes in recent years.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years; sons James of Marblehead, Mass., and Andrew of New York City; a stepdaughter, Renee Marousis of Chicago; three grandchildren; and his first wife, Jean Peake of Weston, Conn.

Arrangements were by Northern Colorado Crematory.

A celebration of his life, complete with bagpipe music, will be held March 3 in Colorado.

"Jay absolutely loved bagpipes and adored 'Amazing Grace,'x" his wife said, "and that's how he wanted to go out."

Published in The Record on Jan. 31, 2012
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