Peter Melville Piltz
1948 - 2021
Hambly Funeral Home
30 Red Cross Avenue
Newport, RI
Peter Melville :Piltz
June 10, 1948 - May 21, 2021
Peter, surrounded by his family, died peacefully after a short illness. A lifelong resident of Aquidneck Island, Peter spent his childhood with his parents, George and Helen Piltz, in Middletown, Rhode Island. He attended St. Michael's School in Newport before beginning at St. George's School in 1962, graduating in 1966. While at St. George's he excelled in athletics, being named to the All-State Prep Football Team, and was elected Captain of the baseball team. After graduation, Peter attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia where he majored in philosophy and was on the football team.
While always interested in music, in 1970 he followed his passion and devoted himself to the study and practice of guitar and vocals. Further, he took his initial steps in performing. He expanded his performing experiences and developed an extensive guitar instruction practice for private and school-based students, including those of St. George's, Portsmouth Abbey and Salve Regina, among others. Over the next few decades, Peter became a prominent presence in the Newport music scene, including the well-known duos Melville Rockwell, Nancy and Peter, Peter and Jen, and most recently, the group Doin' Time. He and Jen also gave a performance at the 100th Anniversary of St. George's, attended by well over 1000 people. He composed, recorded and produced two CDs, one entitled "Dangerous Ground" by Doin' Time, and another entitled "Melting" by Peter and Jen.
In about 2004, Peter formed a performance studio for youth held weekly for several years at Rocco's Little Italy in Portsmouth, RI, called the Clam Jam. Peter was always mostly interested in encouraging young musicians and was especially proud of the Clam Jam and of the rock bands he created and coached at St. George's School.
In 2010, Peter was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease which eventually limited his abilities to engage in his avocation and greatest love; music. As his teaching responsibilities were reduced, he also transitioned from playing and performing to listening and studying the history of the musicians he so admired; especially The Beatles.
In the last year, as his strength and stamina diminished, Peter was able to appreciate the simple joys of life, and, although the illness was taking its toll, he did not complain, nor question "why me"; rather he focused on the many friends and strong family with which he had been blessed. Always demonstrating his sense of humor and laughing at himself when he was experiencing physical difficulties.
In the end, Peter was able to depart this life, peacefully, with loved ones at his bedside, knowing that he had achieved much and left so many with multiple memories of the lovable and generous personality he demonstrated throughout his life. As one of his dear friends remarked, "Peter was the Philosopher King" living his life as he desired as the quintessential "happy, charming, peripatetic minstrel". We will miss him tremendously but will treasure the friend we knew.
….. and in his life, he loved them all….
Peter is survived by his sisters, Leslie Matson of Tiverton; Joan Matson of Middletown; and Sally Fullerton and her husband Rick of Middletown. He is also survived by his brothers, John Matson and his wife Sharon of Warwick, and William Matson and his partner Dawn Roubidoux of Middletown. In addition, he is survived by several nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews and cousins residing in Rhode Island and elsewhere in the Northeast.
Calling hours will be held, Saturday, June 5,2021 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the Hambly Funeral Home, 30 Red Cross Avenue, Newport followed by a "Celebration of Life" from 4:00 to 6:00 at The Elks Lodge, 141 Pelham St. Burial will take place at St. Columba Berkeley Cemetery at a time to be determined.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to:
St. Vincent de Paul Society
St. Joseph's Church
Broadway, Newport

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Published by Newport Daily News from May 28 to Jun. 5, 2021.
Calling hours
Hambly Funeral Home
30 Red Cross Avenue, Newport, RI
Celebration of Life
The Elks Lodge
141 Pelham St., RI
Funeral services provided by:
Hambly Funeral Home
Sponsored by Hambly Funeral Home.
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4 Entries
It saddens me to hear about this. I was thinking about Peter today so I decided to look him up and was brought here. Peter was a great person and a great guitar teacher. I took lessons from him in the late 90s when I was in elementary school all the way through high school. He even came by to help with the practices we had in my band. I remember is dog Thomas with his tree trunk of a tail knocking everything over when I would show up for lessons. I laugh thinking about his answering machine message. It was simple but the way he presented it in a slight melody made you remember is phone number. He had a great love of music that showed whenever I would take lessons. I remember going to Flo's Clam Shack to play some songs with him in one of his gigs. During this sad time I and many others appreciate the time spent writing this article. Peter has played a role in many musicians life on Aquidneck Island and it was nice to learn a little about his life. Thank you and God Bless.
June 10, 2021
Peter was a wonderful pleasant man. I met him at NAC several years before it closed it doors. Despite his use of a walker related to his Parkinsons, Peter always wore a smile. He would join in on exercise in the pool. On occasion when my grandson was younger and had taken some lessons at NAC, Peter would find time to have fun and toss a ball to him. What a good person! Then there were the trips to Barnes n Noble or the singing and guitar playing at Roccos - this was Peter in his latter years. We shall miss you Peter!
Diane Cote
June 4, 2021
Ever sturdy behind the plate, my musical partner for three years. Your beautiful voice rings clear across all these years. Our harmonies together were as strong as your ever sunny disposition and friendship.
Denis O'Neill
June 4, 2021
Denis Rockwell O'Neill
June 4, 2021
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