NORTHAMPTON-- State Representative Peter Vincent Kocot, 61, of Florence, passed away peacefully, after a brief illness, Feb. 22, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
The great joys of his life, his wife Shauneen, and sons Jake and Luke, were by his side, as were his four devoted siblings.
Peter was known as a man of great kindness, intelligence and integrity, and was a power of example for his dedication to public service.
Peter was raised on Chestnut Street in Florence and graduated from Northampton High School in 1974, where he participated in both Football and track & field. He still holds the Northampton High School discus record He was a member of the 1974 Western Mass. Outdoor Track and Field Championship team.
Peter chose to attend Brown University in Providence, R.I, where he was a member of the 1976 Ivy League championship football team. It was there that he met two of his closest friends, Jim Capecelatro and Jack Cera.Peter was blessed to have spent time with them both this past fall.
After graduating from Brown in 1978, Peter returned to Northampton and began working for State Rep. Bill Nagle, serving as his Chief of Staff for more than 20 years. He then ran in a special election, won handily, and was sworn in to office in April 2002. He held the title of Chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Finance at the time of his death. He was held in very high esteem by his colleagues at the State House and by the people in his district.
Peter had a number of accomplishments during his tenure, but the three that he believed were most significant and of which he was most proud were the following: While in his first full term as a representative, Peter proudly voted in favor of same sex marriage rights at the 2004 Constitutional Convention – He fought for numerous civil rights causes with integrity and passion.
In 2009, as Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Peter shepherded a landmark ethics reform bill through the Legislature.
Throughout his tenure, Chairman Kocot distinguished himself as the Commonwealth's preeminent champion of increasing transparency in government. In 2015, he effectively led the charge to reform and modernize Massachusetts's public records laws.
Peter's commitment to his constituents was unwavering and he felt it was an honor and a privilege to do the people's work. He was very grateful to the voters of the First Hampshire District for their loyal support over the past 16 years.
While there are many awards, and acknowledgments Peter was proud to receive through his career, he was first and foremost an extraordinary family men. Peter's dad passed away at a young age and, as the oldest, Peter took his role very seriously. His siblings always knew that he was just a phone call away and that he could be depended upon for sage advice.
His two sons, Jake and Luke, were his greatest source of pride and the most important people in the world to him. Whether it was cheering them on at a football or lacrosse game or spending time on the beach at Goose Rocks, he held them very close to his heart -- and they knew it. Peter would always remind them that they were loved.
Peter enjoyed being near the ocean, and especially enjoyed fishing for striped bass with his brothers.He loved spending time on Goose Rocks with the entire Kocot clan and cooking amazing dinners for his family and friends.
Peter met the love of his life, his wife, Shauneen, in February of 1988, and they were married in September 1989. Their relationship was a true love story. Once their children were grown and had graduated college, their lives together were filled with fun "adventures," as they called them. Whether it was day trips to the Connecticut shore, weekends in Newport, or just a casual Sunday drive to nowhere in particular, as long as they were together, life was good.
Peter leaves his wife of 29 years (he would have said 75 years), Shauneen O'Donnell Kocot of Florence, and his sons, Jake, of Boston, and Luke of Northampton.
He also leaves his brothers Paul (Diana) of Leyden and their children Dan and Mike, Joseph (Beth) of Easthampton, sisters Mary Lania (Mark) of Westwood, and their children Nicole and Ben. Kathy Johnson (Scott) of Ashfield and their children Javius and Kyle, his father-in-law James N. O'Donnell and his wife, Lillian, brothers-in-law Kevin O'Donnell and Jim O'Donnell, sister-in-law Maureen Szawlowski (Michael) and their children, Ashleigh, Michael, Courtney, Bridget and Megan. Peter also leaves his best friend, Michael Longley of Northampton.
Peter was predeceased by his parents Edward and Dorothy, his grandparents Vincent and Mary Lozoski, and Marion and Louise Kocot. Peter was predeceased by his dear friend, Dave Marley.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Peter Kocot Scholarship Fund (Dollars for Scholars), The Cooley-Dickinson Cancer Center or Hospice of the Fisher Home in Amherst.
Calling hours are Monday, Feb. 26, from 2-7 p.m. at Czelusniak Funeral Home in Northampton.
The family requests that people gather at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27.
To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to legacy.com/obituaries/gazettenet.