Peter Vincent "Pete" Kocot
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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

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Feb. 24, 2018.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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42 entries
March 1, 2018
The most honorable man I have had the pleasure of calling a good friend. A family man of great conviction who treated all people with respect. He will be missed both socially and professionally by all who had the good fortune to know him.
John Longley
March 1, 2018
Rep Kocot was a special gentleman and a great source of pride for Northampton. He dealst with an issue for our family and we have been eternally grateful since. Please accept my condolences in the loss of you husband, father and sibling.
Pat Cohen
February 28, 2018
Dear Shauneen, Jake and Luke,
It was always such a joy to bump into Pete. He was always so pleasant and welcoming. He will be missed by so many people for so many reasons. The love he had had his family was visible to all. My heart breaks for you. May the memories of a wonderful man be your comfort during this very difficult time. My thoughts, prayers and love to you all.
Joyce Mazeski
February 27, 2018
The New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists extends its most sincere condolences to the family of Massachusetts State Rep. Peter Vincent "Pete" Kocot.

The following will appear on our website at

Chairman Kocot died February 21 after a brief illness. Chairman Kocot was an advocate for strengthening transparency through public record and open meeting laws and a champion for the most recent updates in the law. He was 61.
Jordan Frias
February 27, 2018
Dear Shauneen and Family. I'm so sorry for your loss. Peter sounds like a wonderful person, who will live on in your hearts and memories. My heart goes out to you all. May you find comfort in the love you shared with him, and may your community hold you closely.
Julie Starr
February 27, 2018
Tifani Wood
February 26, 2018
To the Kocot Family -

Peter was a hero to the LGBT community. From his first days in the legislature, he supported and advocated for our community. In the 10 year battle for marriage equality, Pete was an early and unshakable ally; someone we knew we could count on through thick and thin.

He was a kind, thoughtful and caring legislator. His votes on marriage equality helped to make history - in Massachusetts and eventually in the nation as well. He will always be remembered and loved by us for that. I feel proud and lucky to have known him.

My heart goes out to all of you.

May his memory be a blessing.

Arline Isaacson
Arline Isaacson
February 26, 2018
Shauneen, Luke and Jake
Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. Peter has left you with wonderful memories that will be with you forever. He was truly a wonderful , kind and loving man and will be greatly missed. My prayers are with you during this sad time. God Bless.
Rae Ann and Mike Frenette
February 26, 2018
I have only heard wonderful words spoken of him. Blessings to your family.
Betsy Mathews
February 26, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. I got to know Peter while he was working for Bill and later had the privilege of serving with him in the House. He was one of the good guys, kind and thoughtful, and will be greatly missed. Sending prayers and sympathy to his family and kids.
Ruth Provost
February 26, 2018
So sorry for your loss. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Lisa Devoie
February 26, 2018
To Joe and the entire Kocot family,
So sorry for your great loss. From the time I was at Florence Grammar School, I always looked up to Peter - way up. As a student, football player and person, he was a role model. I was fortunate to have worked with him for several summers in the local cucumber fields and on the Coca Cola production line, and then as a legislative intern my first year of law school. Ill never forget his kindness, decency, breadth of knowledge and wry sense of humor.
Tim Clark
February 26, 2018
Joe & Beth, Joe so sorry for the sudden passing of your brother. I got to know Peter over the years as we crossed paths at mutual friends gatherings. I truly enjoyed our conversation in respects to the shared passion for the Culinary Arts. The exchange regarding cooking techniques and sometimes even recipes was always pleasure for me. May the lifetime of fond memories ease your sadness and sorrow at this time of loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you, Beth and the rest of the Kocot Family.
William & Frances Hurley
February 26, 2018
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Peter you are a kind and gentle soul who was loved by everyone especially from the Vaid family
Peter Vaid
February 25, 2018
My thoughts are with you: Shauneen, Jake, Luke, Mary, Paul, Joey, and Jeez-Kath. Love you all!
Maggi Fil-Crouse
February 25, 2018
I didn't know Peter but after receiving an email about his passing, and reading his obituary, it is clear he was an outstanding man who cared greatly about others. We need many more like him. My deepest sympathies to his loved ones.
Adrian Zupp
February 25, 2018
Peter met with me and other elder advocates at the offices of Highland Valley Elder Services on October 20th. He was settling into his new role as House Chair of the Health Care committee. We were all excited to have someone who measured progress by what we were doing for the patient as the most important measure. He was in light spirits, swapping stories with us, unwinding on a Friday afternoon. The elderly had a big friend in Peter Kocot. Very smart, always approachable, looking out for those without a voice. You felt like you were in the presence of someone with integrity as well as passion.
Al Norman
February 25, 2018
I had the opportunity to meet Peter at a function hosted by the Gateway community when we were trying to acquire more funding in the Hilltowns for our schools.

Sorry to read of your family loss. As a former resident of Russell, MA, may God give the remaining family members strength to continue on.
Dave Cummings
February 25, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. While it makes it no easier, I hope there is solace hearing how much he meant to so many people. Rep. Kocot was someone whose door (and heart and mind) was open for the people's business. I'll miss him.
Sharon Shaloo
February 25, 2018
Knew Peter way back in the 70's when he worked for Rep. Bill Nagle. He was such a nice man. Seeing him a few times in later years, he continued to be that same warm, compassionate man. So sorry for your loss--way to early.
Shirley Puchalski, Fort Myers, FL
February 24, 2018
Sending our deepest sympathy to you all. We have all lost such a great man.
Lyn Johndrow
February 24, 2018
Sending love and light to you all, so deeply sorry for the immeasurable loss
April and Jess Borawski
February 24, 2018
The old Chestnut St. neighborhood lost a community leader this week. Cathy Johnson and Peter's family we were neighbor's of the Kocot family. Words cannot express our sorrow.
Jim Collins
February 24, 2018
Our hearts go out to you, Shauneen, and the entire family! Rest peaceful Peter and thanks for all you did for us all.
Marlene and Susan Marrocco/Maguire
February 24, 2018
I really did not know Peter all that well, although we did know each other from the kids sporting events. My son Tyler spent many times with him and his family. And he always came home excited about the times he spent with him , especially those summer trips to Maine. Peter I thank you for the way you took in others the way you did. And made sure they had a great time. Thank you and RIP.
Bill Williams
February 24, 2018
Thinking of you all! I loved working for him and enjoyed talking to him about food, fishing and the local sports teams! I will never forget him!
James Gay
February 24, 2018
There are no words, but always warm memories of a good person.
Bob Urekew
February 24, 2018
Kathy and family, So sorry to hear the loss of a great man and a wonderful friend who was so significant in your family. My fondest memories are when I would call his office and ask to speak to Rep. Kocot, he would say "This is Peter Kocot!" Always surprised he would answer his own phone. A great man from a wonderful family. May the Lord hold all your sadness and heal your broken hearts. Rejoice for he is with the Lord for all the good he has done in this world. Blessing to all his family.
Mary Powers RN
February 24, 2018
Joe and Beth, Linda and I are extremely sorry to hear of the loss of Peter. Peter did wonderful things for us and the state. His leadership will be missed.
February 24, 2018
Peter was the nicest person I have ever known I will miss seeing him at the state house so sad for your loss
Ralph state house carpenter
February 24, 2018
We still cant wrap our heads around this. Our hearts are saddened for your loss. You have lost a great husband and father and Western Massachusetts has lost a great advocate! It will be hard to fill those shoes. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Jake & Luke. Stay strong. When the time is right....laugh! Your laugh is infectious but will be missing Peters laugh along with you!
Bill & Ann Marie Sicard
February 24, 2018
Kocot family, I am sorry for your loss. Northampton was blessed to have Pete working for us. He was a great man. Love and prayers. Terry Carr
February 24, 2018
Paul & Diana and the Kocot family, We are so so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
Jim & LouAnn Krawczynski
February 24, 2018
Paula J Lizek
February 24, 2018
To Beth and Joe and the rest of Peter's family, sorry for your loss.
Frank Bogdan
February 24, 2018
I am so sorry for this loss. Peter was a great ma and will be sadly missed
Ken Maltese
February 23, 2018
My condolences to Shauneen and the Kocot family.
Rebecca Miller
February 23, 2018
Shauneen I said this to you the other day. You were like a big sister to me growing up and I think the world of you and your family. My travels kept me from getting to know Pete better. I know you've heard the story at least a time or two of our "guys" weekend in NYC -- Kocot, Longley, Driscoll, Denny, Fennessey, Kmetz (RIP), Houle, and Brida. It was as much fun as an 8 guys from Northampton could cram into 3 days. Getting back into town on occasion (and running into you guys at Joes) confirmed to me what I was able to surmise over the years as a facebook friend living on the other side of the country...that the two of you were every bit as awesome in person as you appeared from afar. I'm heartbroken for your loss and I know words will not ease the pain. However, I'm confident that time, family and friends, and the many fond memories you two shared will help get you through. Celebrate his truly wonderful life and cherish his legacy! You were married to a great man.

Always your friend,
Gary Brida
February 23, 2018
Our hearts are with you,Shauneen, Luke, and Jake.
A great man who leaves a legacy of love for his family, his country, his state, his friends. Peace and love... David and Margo
Margo Sargent Simkin
February 23, 2018
Luke, Jake and Shauneen, you are in our hearts. May the love of friends and family bring you peace & solace.
Ron & Michelle Burke Birrell
February 23, 2018
Pete was a close and good friend, and that I have to say was instead of is, is heartbreaking. Sending my love to Shauneen, Jake and Luke. To Pete's brothers and sisters Paul, Joe, Mary & Kathy, I hope you find strength and solace in knowing how many people truly loved your brother Pete. God bless you all
Tim Driscoll
February 23, 2018
Thinking of you both.
Linda Spring
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