John Peters Stevens III


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Gloucester, MA - John Peters Stevens III died on Friday, April 26, 2019, at the age of 92, in Gloucester, of natural causes following complications from hip replacement surgery.
Born and raised in Plainfield, NJ, he attended Wardlaw School and Phillips Academy (Andover '44) before enlisting in the Army. After the war he went on to college at Yale, graduating in 1951, and then began work in New York City at family textile firm J. P. Stevens & Co. After 15 years, he left to pursue the work in philanthropic fundraising that would hold his passion for the rest of his career, most notably for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, and for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.
In 1953 Pete married Christina Schmidt, with whom he had 5 children in Metuchen, NJ and Rydal, PA; after a divorce he met and married Margaret McHolme and had two more sons in Wrightstown, Pa. and Langhorne, PA. After Margaret's death he moved to Beverly, to live closer to family. He is survived by his seven children, Mary Comfort Stevens (Roy Gottfried), John Peters Stevens IV (Brisa), William Nathaniel Stevens (Sara Collins), Kate Hastings Stevens (John Theriault), Helen Ames Stevens (Semih Bulbul), Ian Caird Stevens (Maren), and Duncan Norman Stevens (Rebekah Bundang). He was very proud of his grandchildren, Oliver Gottfried (Alanna, and children Lucas and Molly), Edward Gottfried (Kaye Verville), Henry Gottfried, Frida Anderson and son, Ethan, Noah Stevens, Kyle (Theriault) Elliott (Kevan), Allison Theriault (Paige Leishman), Kaya Bulbul, Sera Bulbul, Aidan Stevens, Colin Stevens, Margaret Stevens and Simon Stevens.
Pete was a longtime church activist; he supported broader roles for women in the Episcopal Church and attended the groundbreaking and controversial ordination of 11 women to the priesthood at Philadelphia's Church of the Advocate in 1974. His volunteer commitments included a fundraising initiative at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia; Welcoming the Stranger, a Bucks County-based group providing free services to immigrants; the Lower Bucks Center for Church and Community; Interfaith Housing; and the Peace Center of Bucks County. His most recent fundraising efforts at age 90 were in support of Chorus North Shore, in Ipswich.
Pete believed in showing up, and attended every possible performance by any of his children or grandchildren. He taught his kids to drive a stick-shift, mostly several years before the legal age. He had an astounding sense of direction and gave driving instructions with every turn and landmark included. He valued fitness, even had a personal trainer his last 8 years, swam in the sea every summer, and did 25 laps weekly in the pool at the YMCA until early this year. He read two newspapers a day -- the Globe for the Patriots and Sox news, and the New York Times for world news. He loved singing, and in recent years he sang with the George School Chorus in Newtown, Pa., and with Chorus North Shore. Earlier in life, he toured the Pacific and the US with the International Male Chorus of the Armed Forces at the end of WWII; he also sang in the Yale Glee Club and the Robert Shaw Chorale. He loved Cape Ann, genealogy, board and card games, and ice cream.
There will be a memorial service and interment of ashes on Sunday, May 26 at 2 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, Langhorne, Pa., and another memorial service on Sunday, June 30 at 2:00 pm at Ascension Memorial Church, Ipswich, MA. All are welcome; singing is promised. In lieu of flowers, we encourage you to honor Pete's passion for philanthropy with a contribution to one of his most cherished organizations: The Sonja Dahlgren Pryor Conductor's Chair Endowment Fund: Chorus North Shore, PO Box 2454, South Hamilton, MA 01982; or Welcoming the Stranger, PO Box 1156, Langhorne, PA 19047.
Published on May 10, 2019
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