Amherst Magazine

Peter C. Van Dyck '38

Deceased August 14, 2008
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Peter C. "Pete" Van Dyck

Two loves had Pete, Amherst and Union College, but the song they sang at the end of his funeral was “Lord Jeffery Amherst.”

His son, Peter Jr., said, “While none of his children attended Amherst, it was always part of our life.” The final singing brought “many smiles and tears.”

He died Aug. 14, 2008, aged 91, at Glens Falls Hospital after several years of declining health that made him just fade away, his son said. Before he retired in 1980, he was a high executive at General Electric.  As a vice president in charge of the Apparatus Service Division, he traveled around the world, visiting all continents except Antarctica.

During WWII, he served in the U.S. Army for four years and, as a warrant officer, was on the way to Japan “when the bomb was dropped,” ending the war, his son said.

A Schenectady native, Pete prepared for college at Storm King School in Cornwall on the Hudson. He dropped out of Amherst in January of his freshman year, studied in 1935 at Union and then returned to Amherst, graduating in 1938.

Aside from his economics and English majors, Pete spent much free time with basketball, cross-country, skiing and golf.

John Jeppson, a Psi Upsilon fraternity brother, recalled Pete having a parrot in a cage in his room to which he vainly tried to teach some words, including, with growing impatience, a number of expletives. 

“All he got was silence,” Jep said, “until he decided to give the parrot a shower.  Then out came all the expletives.”

Pete was an enthusiastic fund raiser for Union College, which is in his hometown of Schenectady, and served for many years on its board of trustees. He also strongly supported its athletic programs.

Pete and his son enjoyed fishing. He was a member of the Lake George Club, the Mohawk Golf Club and the Men’s Garden Club of Bolting Landing, his last residence. He volunteered with many civic organizations.

Besides son Peter of Harwich, Mass., survivors include his wife, Caroline (Krueger), whom he married in 1950,  three daughters, Cornelia Wells and Katrina Van Dyck Caldwell of Bolton Landing and Margaret Holmes-Van Dyck of Saranac Lake, N.Y.,  three brothers, a sister and eight  grandchildren.

A daughter, Gretchen Van Dyck, and two sisters and a brother predeceased him.

George Bria ’38

 

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