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May 17, 2008

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I had heard of Peter over my 42 years with Bendix, Alliedsignal, etc., but had never really met him until this recent contract. Peter and I had many conversations and he loved my jar of M&Ms. Donna and him went to FLA with me for the SFA ceremony in June 2007. Both of us were recipients. On that trip I realized how much Donna adored Peter. That was all she talked about and their plans to retire to Australia. When we came back and Peter told me what he had I was floored. We again had many heartfelt conversations over coffee and M&Ms. Sometimes that was all that he could keep down was 1 or 2 candies. I will miss him and our friendship. He was a wonderful, genuine person and he loved his family more than anything in the world. I wish I had personally met him a lot sooner. Elaine

I will miss Peter's gentle way of explaining a complex technical specification and not making a person feel that he is going out of his way in the time that he spent with me. What a wonderful person.

I will miss many things about Peter - his brilliance, his humor, his voice on the other end of a call and his laugh, perhaps most of all. I had the honor of working with Peter only a few times, including on a proposal with a very difficult customer. Peter always knew how to diffuse a tense moment and get us back on track. And he could always explain even the most complicated technical solution to those of us with no engineering background. Peter was truly special, and it gives me some measure of peace to know that he spent his last moments in the loving arms of his wife and daughter. Thank you for sharing some of your memories of Peter with us.

I'm not sure my words could ever do justice to the wonderful man that Pete was. There are simple memories such as how proud Pete was when he found out that I changed my own oil. 'Good on ya Patty. Why pay someone to do what you can do yourself'. Then he added something like, 'Now can you teach Donna'. My foundest memory was just being in his presence. There was something so peaceful, so reassuring just being with him made it seem as though all was well. Pete never hesitated to ask me the tough thought provoking questions. 'Where do you hope to be in 10 years Patty'. While at that time I was clueless, he was in a kind way saying, 'Get your @#*% together Patty. I'm so thankful for Pete and Donna and for what they together taught me through example about life, friendship, and marraige. Pete has left behind a lasting tribute to what results from being a kind, patient, loving, caring, giving, thoughtful man. His daughters are truly a reflection of him and through them his legacy will live on. May we all learn from his example. Please pray for Donna. She is a very strong woman, but we can't begin to imagine the pain she is experiencing. It is said that behind every great man is a fabulous woman and that is so true in this case. Donna cherished every moment with Pete and deeply loved and admired him for the man that was. He was truly her Prince Charming. While he is physically gone from her, he will always be with her, he is a part of her being. May God comfort all of us who mourn this great loss.

Here, in Canberra many of Pete's mates were saddened by his passing. I met Pete when he came to work at the NASA tracking station (Orroral Valley) outside Canberra in late 1977. Shortly after he started, he popped into our digital lab and asked; "Hey fellas, I know I have this piece of paper that says I'm an engineer, but, can you blokes teach me to be a technician like yourselves?" From that moment on, Pete was one of us and it was these personal attributes that enhanced our teamwork on many a mission. After once asking Pete for an explanation of convolutional encoding, that took up a couple of walls of the engineers office, us techos decided that it was definitely the realm of bright engineers!
We'll miss you Pete, fly high, fly long and touch the hand of God.

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