Chesley P. W. Booth '61
Deceased December 23, 2010
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With us for only our freshman year, Chesley P.W. “Peter” Booth was one of the most interesting, distinguished and successful members of our class. With no ill will toward Amherst, Peter always wanted to go to Harvard and after one year transferred. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, which transformed Peter physically and brought a new dimension to his character.
Peter excelled academically at Harvard Law School and joined the New York firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, where he managed to get assigned to its Paris office. He left Debevoise to become international general counsel at Corning. In that capacity, he became a citizen of the world, licensing Corning’s technology to hundreds of companies on every continent and in multiple languages. He later shifted to the business side of Corning and became president of Corning Japan. He and his wife, Monette, lived in Tokyo, where Peter mastered yet another difficult language and oversaw Corning’s Far Eastern endeavors. He eventually returned to Corning’s headquarters and retired as part of its small cadre of senior executives.
After retirement, Peter and Monette lived a migratory life that took them from the south of France in the fall through London and Kiawah Island, S.C., to St. Croix, V.I., in the winter and then back through Kiawah Island and New York en route to an island on Sharbot Lake in Canada, where they had a beautiful summer home.
Peter became an avid golfer and kept a set of clubs in each of his migratory locations. He died suddenly last winter while playing golf with friends but not before being extraordinarily generous with family, Deerfield Academy and young people from St. Croix who showed promise and ambition. His sense of the world, his sense of humor and his extraordinary intellect made him fun to be with as he left his mark.
—Charlie Updike ’61