Peter Bourne Benedict
1936 - 2020
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Peter Bourne Benedict

1936 - 2020

Peter Benedict, a lifelong educator, died April 25th. He was 84 years old. He leaves behind his loving wife, Nancy, and their son, Peter B. Benedict II, also an educator, his wife, Davis, and grandchildren, Peter III and Huff. In addition, by a previous marriage, he leaves daughter Eleanore B. Moore (John) and grandchildren Lindsey, Madeline and Megan and great-grandchildren, Natalie and Madden; also daughter, Anne B. Hedlund (Bob) and grandchildren Grace and Henry.

He was born in New York City, but as a youngster, his home was primarily in Yonkers, New York, and its environs. Peter's mother passed away while he was in his teens, and he was raised by his grandmother, Helen Andrus Benedict, daughter of John E Andrus, Founder of The Surdna Foundation.

He graduated from Rollins College with a B.A. in 1959 and soon thereafter served in the Army Medical Corps, primarily stationed at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.

After receiving an honorable discharge, he enrolled at the University of Arizona for his postgraduate education, receiving his M.Ed. in 1963.

He began his teaching career in the Tucson public school system and was shortly thereafter appointed to the faculty of Fairfield Country Day School, CT, where his responsibilities included teaching English, coaching varsity football and basketball, and Director of Admissions. He married Nancy Huffman Benedict in 1966, and they resided in Darien, CT.

In 1969, Peter came to St. Edward's School as Assistant Headmaster and, in the latter part of 1970, became Headmaster. It was in this capacity that he served until his retirement in 1995. Along with his wife, Nancy, he fully enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of the young school. Together, with a supportive faculty, Board of Trustees and parent constituency, the school became a flagship in Florida. In later years, he greatly enjoyed catching up with the many graduates living in Vero Beach.

Peter's avocations were plentiful. In keeping with his philosophy of "sound mind, sound body", he ran two marathons and many sprint triathlons, and derived real enjoyment from performing aerobatics in his Pitts Special and Great Lakes airplanes. Having received his pilot's license at 17 years old, he quickly became immersed in this hobby and attended several aerobatic schools, which assisted him significantly in becoming a competitive pilot. Another main interest was riding his Harley Davidson, especially throughout many western states.

After retirement from St. Edward's, he found a new interest in the rebirth of McKee Botanical Garden where he served as President for five years.

In 1983, he and Nancy established The Benedict Foundation for Independent Schools, that in the ensuing years, contributed to over 300 independent schools throughout the United States and now supports local causes.

Dating from the late 60's, he served as Board chairman of several family enterprises: The Surdna Foundation, Andrus-on-Hudson Senior Care Community, and as a Board Member of Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial, a center for children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues.

Above all else, he dearly loved his family - especially spending summers with them at a ranch in Wyoming and Christmases in the Grenadines.

Should you be so inclined, donations to the Benedict Scholarship Fund at St. Edward's School, 1895 Saint Edward's Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963 or to McKee Botanical Garden, 350 US Highway 1, Vero Beach, FL 32962, would be gratefully appreciated.

A private family memorial is planned for the future.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in TC Palm from Apr. 27 to Apr. 28, 2020.
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14 entries
May 6, 2020
I worked with Peter at Saint Edward's School for many years. He was always concerned about the students and committed to the well-being of the school. His energy was impressive, as was his generosity. I remember going to faculty Christmas parties at his house on the river and relaxing with wonderful food and drink in a welcoming environment. That was his gift: to create a community.
Barklie Eliot
May 3, 2020
i served as chairman of the Board at St.Eds for several years and to say Peter was amazing would be a true understatement. He always had the student's best interest as his guiding principal. He was honest, forthright and principled. You never had to wonder what he was thinking but knew whatever his comment, thought or decision was made in St. Edwards best interest. It was an honor serving with him. He will surely and already is missed.
Dudley Teel MD
Dudley Teel
May 2, 2020
I served on the Andrus-on-Hudson and Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation boards with Peter and I will never forget how he started almost every sentence to me with, "Thank you for..." What a gracious and effective communication tool I will always cherish.
Kate Downes
May 1, 2020
I taught for 45 years under 7 headmasters. Peter was the biggest influence on my professional life. He was a giant in his field . May he rest in peace.
Karl Stein
April 29, 2020
Peter was a great mentor andfriend. I knew him as a teacher and Head of school, and I am a teacher because he let me have an internship at St. Eds in 1986, then hired me next year. His leadership, constant support, encouragement and focus made it exciting to help grow St. Eds. I will always remember that booming laugh and excitement around the campus. Susan and Jake join me in sending love and respect to Nancy and the family.
Jay Gibson
April 28, 2020
My grandmother was Dorothy Curzon, an art teacher at St. Ed's for years. I remember Mr. Benedict very fondly, and I know my grandmother so enjoyed working for him, and the community he built there. He was an amazing man and will be missed. - Darcy Lewis
Darcy Lewis
April 28, 2020
Nancy, we are so sorry to hear of Peter's passing. He lived an extraordinary life. He's leaving a lifetime legacy and will always be remembered for his efforts on behalf of education and his many other good works. Our sincere condolences to you and your family.
Joanna and Agustin Salina
April 28, 2020
My grandad always taught me to strive to be the best me that I could be. He gave me the gift of relentless determination at a young age that i have never forgotten. He was so strong and steadfast in everything he believed in but also so kind and gentle at the same time. Thats how I will remember him. Lots of love being felt right now.
Megan clem
April 28, 2020
I have so many memories of Peter. He was simply amazing. He held all his employees to a very high standard. If you were called to his office, you needed to be prepared to have the answers to his questions. I can remember when the US library was being built, and I was pushing for technology. I had finally gotten permission for all the wiring etc. and now we needed the computers. Peter told me to write up a proposal...which I did. Then he told me to rewrite it with only what the library absolutely had to have. Which I did...and then he told me that it had to be 3 sentences or less. I learned how to revise, edit, rewrite, and be very specific very fast! He once told me that if I started a company, he would be an investor as I was a great salesman! Peter never forgot a person...a name perhaps, but not the person. He was pleased when he ran into one of his past employees and always interested in knowing what they were doing in their retirement years. Peter also had a wonderful sense of humor. I can close my eyes and see his plane roll upside down and do loops over the ocean. One of the very best talent shows at St. Eds was when Bruce Wachter and Peter rode their motorcycles on stage. The crowd went wild. Peter touched the lives of so many, he will be missed. I am so blessed that he hired me to work at Saint Edward's School. Under his leadership, it became the amazing school that it still is today. Prayers and condolences to all his loving family.
April 28, 2020
My condolences to Nancy and family, It was such an honor to work for Peter-a bright light and leader.
Laura Kelley
April 28, 2020
Mr Benedict always made me feel very special from his handwritten notes he sent by mail to his resounding, "Hi Jim Denmark" every time he saw me. I cherish my time with him and only wish I could be as good a person as he wanted me to be. Fair Winds and Following Seas!
James Denmark
April 28, 2020
So many memories. I will share a few.. when he challenged the senior class with push ups and did them in assembly... Running on the beach and fun run...
April 27, 2020
An amazing man, boss and friend. He led by example; had high expectations and refused to accept mediocrity. I only have the utmost respect and admiration for Peter. Peter changed the policy for owning a dog and living at the LS for Winston. He allowed an air conditioned dog house behind the US library for Winston also. Peter even allowed me to put a roller hockey team together and use the tennis court as our rink on the US campus. He came to two of our games. Too many wonderful memories to share. Julie and I send our love and condolences to all members of Benedict family.
Rick Hartley
April 27, 2020
No one had such energy and enthusiasm for Saint Edwards as Peter Benedict. I loved working at the Upper School under his tutelage. My condolences to Nancy and all of the family. He seemed to be unstoppable.
Renee Green
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