Tuesday, November 13, 2007

His Friendship

He was a really great friend more than anything...


lizmartinusa said...

I am still in shock and disbelief as I set-up this memory blog. Peter was always witty, funny and a joy to be around. He offered an alternative perspective, not always to be critical, but often to question or just to be simply funny. Peter loved the outdoors and was doing what he loved most: embracing nature, living life to its fullest and with good company. I can still see him clearly; hear him laughing and cooking up a storm, “saying we’ll have some fine grappa afterwards, my dear!” He was a really great friend more than anything to me, and he was that and a hole lot more to other people as well. He will be missed.

JohnEnright said...

I met Peter in Florence in 1984, we were 21 years old and about to start our fourth year of architecture school. He had just finished traveling through Europe alone and had not spoken English for some time and was excited to meet up with future classmates. I remember we talked for hours. That began what I would call a continuous conversation. A conversation that was a series of talks with him over 23 years that were always so fascinating for me. Every time I spoke with Peter I would find myself thinking of his words well into the next days and weeks. I have always felt he was the most intelligent person I have ever known. In recent years I so enjoyed his visits down here and our dinners at our house where the conversation would continue with wine and food. I was so happy that my daughter got to know Peter. She was always so excited when he was coming here. A seven-year-old has a somewhat matter of fact understanding of death, but when I spoke with her about the sad news, her first response was to tell me of her memory of Peter pushing her in the shopping cart like a race-car through Trader Joes on a recent visit.
I will miss him and will miss his insight and love and playfulness, and all that was him.

margaretgriffin said...

I too met Peter in Florence, Italy, 23 years ago and quickly grew fond of his conversational tendencies. My fondest memories of Peter involve hanging around the kitchen preparing great food (often of Mediterranean influence, but we know he'd eat just about anything). Followed by lingering hours aroung the dinner table while conversation meandered from trivia to poetry interspersed with eruptions of laughter cycling through loosely connected topics. On these evenings, eight hours could seem like fifteen minutes and the joy of friendship comes to mind.

Michael Schwartz said...

When I first started to date my wife Liz Martin, I was so very fortunate to have met Peter. It was Liz’s 40th birthday, and I just marveled at what a good friend he was. There was no task that he felt was trivial – he pitched in, no talking about doing it, rather he just did it. He very much loved his friend Liz and I saw nothing but beauty in it.

twilliams said...

There are people in life you meet that you know immediately is someone special. I met Peter at Sci Arc in a vertical studio, of which the best thing to come out of it was an inevitable life long friendship. I cherished my times with Peter; I admired and respected him tremendously. And although when he moved away we spoke only once or twice a year, I looked forward to our conversations as they always felt familiar, as if we just talked a day ago. Peter is one of those people I always keep close in thought, his spirit and attitude in life was inspiring, and will continue to be so.

Sierra said...

I worked for and with Peter at Revolver design about a year ago.
In this time we became good friends and he became a supporter of my ideas and I of his. It is hard to find someone who is willing to go against the grain because they believe in you, and this was something I felt peter did without hesitation for many people. He was one of the most generous people I new. So willing to partake, to share, love, and admire. He was a true lover of life, always talking about the adventures he had, one after another. His stories ridiculed with some sort of joy, excitement, wit, sarcasm, peace, and sinacism. I remember sitting across from him at work, and stopping every ten minutes to again listen to his stories and thoughts, always seeming more important than the drafting at hand.. So optimistic and exited about new art and growth. Though I must say he did freak out once or twice about misplacing his car in the maze of San Francisco. He would always surprise me with his unfaltering willingness to be present and with great commitment, appreciation and excitement. Though practical, his practicality existed in a world larger than his own life.
He is greatly missed.

moniquebirault said...

I am still speechless as I push myself to write this, especially when I look at pictures. Peter would say “you speechless is an oxymoron”. We met while attending SCI-Arc and after graduating we worked together for a short time but we didn’t frequent each other until much later. Back then I always thought he was so smart that there probably wasn’t common ground. We had friends in common that brought us together. Then we discovered a shared love for all things Italian. Our friendship was a slow grow. Over time, it blossomed into a friendship that neither of us saw coming, especially recently. It opened our eyes to chance and perspective. Recently we began a dialogue that was deep and very meaningful (I thank you for that Peter), exploring, defining, and redefining what it means to be truly open on many levels, and is it actually possible (concept vs. reality), the meaning of and role of a good relationship, love and existence. Woven into this were the normal random bits of obscure knowledge and the postulating that we both enjoyed exchanging. We would speak on the phone for hours often until sleep beckoned. He told me that I opened his world in new ways which was a tremendous complement. We spoke very frequently this year; we discussed and cooked dinner, and ate and drank, all over the phone often in Italian. It’s hard to believe that it’s over, we did make our list but I don’t think we were done yet. It’s hard for me to share this with the world, our friendship seemed so personal – I don’t know why. Perhaps it was that magnetic quality, his way of making people feel special and meaningful to him. I am very appreciative to have had that relationship, and feel lucky that he was my friend. I thank Liz for putting this blog together, I didn’t know that reading how he added to the lives of so many people would be so helpful in dealing with this. I contribute for those like me that need to read. I don’t know how he would feel about all this attention, but I do know he would say if that’s what you need – do it. It’s so hard to publish this, as if it’s an acknowledgment / acceptance that I’m not ready for. Ciao caro. Peter, so special a person, thank you for being free to be you - may you be a lasting inspiration for us, you will be deeply missed and by so many!

bill said...

I have fond recollections of Peter as he never failed to bring some levity into the academic counselor's office at SCI-Arc, no matter how serious the occasion. The news of his passing has certainly affected those of us who were touched by his friendship, and thank you, Liz, for the images that will help bring back the memories.

koonshing wong said...

Peter is an extraordinary person and a tender soul beneath that rugged shell. He is a great friend, always authentic, devoted, warm and supremely intelligent. His zeal for life is infectious and inspirational. His appreciation for good design, the arts, literature and other finer things in life, limitless and not constrained by conventional means. His generosity, matched by few. His quirks, endearing and larger than life.

I have known Peter for over 20 years and he is exceptionally good company. I will treasure the memories of the wonderful dinners and stimulating conversations, complaining about Bush and the Republicans and the Democrats… and bad architecture, cigars and brandy under the stars, his unconventional wit and wisdom, building the redwood platform under a hot sun at his Skunk Ranch in Ukiah, listening to Tolkien's audio books-The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, our tentative first ski run down the Olympic Lady, the crisp snow covered peaks of the Sierras, the sandy shores of Point Reyes and the shimmering waves of Tamales Bay…

I will miss him.

"As I eat the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans." Hemingway

Christina Sum said...

Peter was the lighting designer for a project I worked on in San Francisco a few years ago. I can't say I knew Peter as well as the rest of the contributors to this website did, but I did enjoy working with him very much and was very saddened to hear of his premature passing. As Peter and I got to know each other, I was always struck by his warmth, humor and intelligence, and the range of things that interested him and in which he had some many insights. During the course of the project, our work-related phone calls would always take wide detours onto subjects such as travelling and cooking, and we constantly had to remind ourselves to get back to the work at hand. He was definitely a kindred spirit. We also discovered that we had several mutual friends back east - both of us had gone to architecture schools in upstate New York and I had worked with a few of his former classmates in Manhattan. In looking at his photos now and reading what others have to say, I really regret not staying better in touch with Peter after the project was completed.

My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Kostas Manolides said...

I met Peter at SCIArc but we came really close during the post-thesis jet lag period, lazing and travelling around. Although, since then I was seeing him only when he was visiting Greece, I feel him as a brother of mine, maybe the best friend I ever had. He was representing everything I appreciate in a man: brilliant, generous, adventurous, unpretentious, full of energy and stunning ideas. Sometimes I wouldn't feel in comfort with his unparalled enthusiasm, an overexcitement about things often indifferent to me. Now, I realize that next to Peter, this sorrow that little by little settles inside me was disappearing, life was again full of promises. I was confident that for us the best part is ahead and that we'll thrive as old guys at some corner of Greece or Italy. Sadly, Cathedral Peak had a different opinion ...
I'll see you again my friend. We'll have a seafood and tsipouro feast and we'll talk about women, mountains and the end of the world. Is grilled octopus ok?

Brian H. Appleton said...

I wish I could have known Peter better...I always came away wishing I could spend more time with him...I loved his sense of humor and I felt like we had so much in common...we used to e-mail each other in Italian. I grew up in Greece and Italy and also lived and travelled in the Middle East...and we always talked liberal politics too...He invited me to do a show of my old paintings I had made in Siena 36 years ago at his Transmission Gallery but I never got around to framing them...I just can't believe he is gone...I had just called on him and Michael at their office on Weds the 7th and the last thing I was talking to him about was his summer trip to Istanbul...a few weeks before that he had taken me to lunch at T-Rex...my heart goes out to all of you his friends and family because as a mere aquaintance I am suffering the loss of him,

Brian H. Appleton

audrey m. cohn said...

I went to high school with Peter in Buffalo, NY. We graduated in 1981. Some 25 years later we met at our high school reunion and I was so inspired talking to Peter. He came back into my life at a time when I needed to be reminded that there was at least one very creative, sincere, funny and inteligent man in the world. Now I have found many more but the initial realization was very strong! Additionally, there couldn't of been a better person than Peter to remind me of that fact. After the reunion, He turned into a very wonderful confidant and friend. I was able to catch up with our 25 year (gap) past on a trip to Oregon in August of 2006 with Peter and my family. Everything about Peter made me smile and it still does today, as the tears diminish some I am clear about remembering how his life here had a profound impact on me.
I simply loved his way with words, his insights and artistic perspectives, his ongoing improvisational dance of conversation and talents that were endless from cooking to writing to drawing to making stories come alive for children in his company and tales of his travels, work and outdoor adventures. Peter was a very exciting person to know. I feel very blessed that I had an opportunity to be in close touch with him the last year and a half of his life.

After our 25th high school reunion, I was so happy to have reconnected with Peter that I had many encouraging and supportive conversations with him. In July of 2006, I spent one full day picking wild blueberries for Peter and sent them from Western NY to Berkley the next. I remembered thinking that it was a "locura" CRAZY ACT, but I just had developed so much admiration and affection for him I had to do something. The blueberry cooler full of ice and many quart bags of freshly picked wild western NY blueberries was labeled picked with love and this was my labor of love to express how I felt for his new found friendship. He of course called me to tell me in his very descriptive manner precisely how fresh the blueberries arrived and how succulent and exquisite they were. This put another smile on my face knowing that he sincerely enjoyed them as I intended him to.

Peter was a complete delight to know. I was following his passions the last year and we all know he had many. He was living his life most completely. Words simply can not touch the sincerity of his soul and the deliberate ways he made so many people feel good in his company by just being himself: generous, funny, creative, spontaneous, warm and most notably a true friend that you knew you could count on.
I am deeply saddened that he could not make it home and I have shed the tears over this but at the same time I feel a tremondous exhilaration for celebrating his life on Saturday November 15th at his art gallery and studio. I know Peter was living his life fully and touched those that he came in contact with him in profound ways...... that is obvious. Now I feel that there is so much to learn from this. There are so many words here but in short Peter has allowed me to become a better person, reflecting on how many soulful and sincere qualities he offered to all of us.
I loved him dearly and will miss his chuckle, articulate ways and warmth that he offered as a friend. I look forward to embracing his life through his friends and continual memories we will always have of him.
with love
and always
there for you all
as Peter was for me.
Audrey M. Cohn

manolis skoufias said...

This charming man


a friend of a friend

a few days in Athos & Istanbul

laughs around the table, talks about women, food, wine and falling empires

plans about Olympus mount

Cathedral Peaks’ envy

a friend


And you were a gift too.

Anonymous said...

When will we stop missing you?

monique said...

Still thinking of you my dear, especially this time leading up to the anniversary of your transition away from here. Who knows if it were even possible, but it would have been great to have discovered the depth and multifaceted appreciation we found in each other sooner. - yikes bad sentence but we know what we're talking about.
ciao amore, monique