We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Georges Peter. Georges was an active member of the Lightning Class for 61 years. His rookie year was 1956, sailing #6288, one of those controversial Etchells-designed Lightnings. He sailed it to victory in Marblehead Race Week that year and continued sailing in six more Lightnings, finishing with #14688. Georges was a member of Fleet #151 in Annisquam, Massachusetts, sailing on Ipswich Bay, which Georges called “the most beautiful place to sail in the world.” He sailed his last race in Ecuador while competing in the Masters World Championship, 2017. During his sailing career Georges finished 12th and 16th in two World Championships. Frequently crewing on his beloved Mouette were his wife, Carolyn, his daughter, Allison, and his longtime friend, C. H. Ritt. His passion for sailing balanced his demanding and highly successful career as a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases. He was a professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School and a significant contributor to vaccine policies that guide children’s treatment today. We reflect on the passing of a fine human being.
Georges Peter, M.D., 85, of Brookline, MA passed away peacefully at home on January 11, 2024. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carolyn McClintock Peter, former Head of the Winsor School, and their two children, Allison Fairchild Peter, of Newton, MA, and Marc Phillips Peter, of Portsmouth, RI. The family lived in Barrington, RI, for many years before moving to Brookline in 2004. Peter is also survived by two grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and his sister, Linette French of Annisquam, MA. He was predeceased by his sister Janot Ruggles of Concord, MA.
Born in Cambridge, MA, to J. Georges Marc Peter and Helen Mann Peter, he graduated from the Loomis Chaffee School and Harvard College. He attended the two-year program at Dartmouth Medical School and graduated from Harvard Medical School. He trained in pediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY and Children's Hospital, Boston, followed by fellowships at the National Institutes of Health and Children's Hospital. In 1972, he joined the faculty at the Brown Medical School, where he remained until his retirement, at which time he was appointed Professor Emeritus. During his 34-year career at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital, he established the board-certified Division of Pediatric Diseases. He authored or co-authored approximately 175 publications. An active teacher, he was greatly respected by residents and medical students.
Peter was a devoted pediatrician; prevention of once-common pediatric infectious diseases through immunizations was particularly important to him. During his lengthy professional career, he witnessed the disappearance of polio myelitis, marked diminution in the cases of measles, and near-elimination of bacterial meningitis. His advocacy for prevention of infectious diseases led to national recognition, respect, and leadership roles.
He was an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), serving on the Committee on Infectious Diseases for 13 years. He was appointed the first full-time editor of the AAP's highly influential Red Book (Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases), of which he edited five editions. He served on three federal committees: the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. He was a member of the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization and a president of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. An elected member of the Society of Pediatric Research, the American Pediatric Society, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Committee for the American Memorial Hospital in Reims, France.
Peter received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Physician Award of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, the AAP Award for Lifetime Contribution to Infectious Diseases Education, and a Special Recognition Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services. At Brown, he was awarded an Emeritus Citation "for 34 years of distinguished service as a teacher, counselor, and scholar."
Peter was dedicated to his family, often spending summers in Annisquam, traveling, and sailing competitively with family. They traveled frequently to Europe during the early years of his retirement, particularly to Switzerland, where his father was born and grew up, and to the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Devoted to Harvard athletics, Peter managed the Harvard Stadium scoreboard for 29 years. He received the President's Special Award from the Harvard Club of Boston and was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Varsity Club. He was a passionate fan of the Boston Red Sox since childhood. He loved competitive sailing, primarily in the one-design Lightning Class, in which he competed for more than 60 years, winning numerous regattas, and sailing in national and international championships. He was awarded the Annisquam Yacht Club's Smith Trophy "for outstanding achievements in the sport of sailing." In addition to the AYC, he was a member of the Boston Harvard Club, the Rhode Island Harvard Club, the University Club in Providence, the Niantic Bay Yacht Club, and the Longwood Cricket Club.
Georges Peter was a man of integrity, honor, and distinction, and he will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.
Peter's Full Obituary