Peter Van Slyck

Obituary of Peter Van Slyck

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Devoted and adored father. Brave soldier, gifted athlete, theatre lover, world traveler. He was born on November 26, 1924 in Paris, France, where his father, DeForest, was completing his doctorate before becoming one ofthe original members of the CIA. His mother, Katherine, was a smart, beautiful, loving mother who struggled with diabetes, succumbing when Peter was 16. Peter spent his early years in New Haven, CT, close to his older brothers Dick and Ash. Peter graduated from the Brooks School in 1943 and Yale University in 1949. He excelled in sports at both schools, playing varsity squash, tennis, and baseball. But the real action happened in between when he enlisted in World War II and became a ball turret gunner, one of the most dangerous positions in a military aircraft. His first mission was Christmas Eve, 1943. He went on to successfully complete a total of 29 missions, including the first daylight mission over Berlin, flying the B17 "Messie Bessie"." He kept a journal of these flights with coordinating newspaper coverage; years later, his crewmates were amazed by the meticulous detail. Peter received two medals: The Distinguished Flying Cross and The Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, both of which noted his "courage, coolness and skill." His experience in WWII was a source of pride and strength throughout his life. Peter initially pursued a career in finance and fundraising, ultimately becoming the Director of Development for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Waterford, CT. He loved the theatre and was happiest when surrounded by the creative process. It was during his time at the O'Neill that renowned playwrights John Guare and August Wilson prepared their plays for Broadway, and the theatre was the original locale for the groundbreaking plays "A Chorus Line" and "Rent." With three children to support, Peter then turned to real estate. He was naturally reticent and unassuming, but his diligence made him successful. He lived happily with Rosemary, his wife of 32 years, in Old Black Point and Old Lyme, Connecticut, where they enjoyed a nonstop social life. He supported numerous charities, especially Brooks School and the Society of the Cincinnati. An exceptionally talented athlete, he played tennis, squash, and golf into his 80's, often trouncing much younger opponents. He never lost his playful spirit: he loved Charles Shultz, the Muppets, and funny hats. Peter is survived by three children from his marriage to Ruth Kessler: Kate Van Slyck of Arlington, VA; Ashley Schofield of Princeton, NJ; Nicholas Van Slyck of San Jose, Costa Rica; and seven grandchildren. He is survived by sister Edith Van Slyck of New York, NY and by his stepchildren Charles White of Ft Lauderdale, FL; Alexander White of Westport, CT; Charlotte Lyman of New York, NY; and Huntington Lyman of Middleburg, VA. He is predeceased by his brothers DeForest Jr (Dick), Ashley (Ash) and sister Anne. His life remains an inspiration to his family and friends.
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