Born in Kentucky, he went to high school in Ottawa, Ill., and was a busy Princeton undergraduate: 150-pound football, The Daily Princetonian, Whig-Clio, Navy drill team, Outing Club, Chess Club, Nassau Lit, Cloister Inn, and philosophy major.
During the Vietnam War he flew F-4 Phantoms from the carrier Roosevelt. He then studied law at the University of Illinois, joined the Navy’s JAG Corps, and advanced to senior judge, traveling internationally for major cases including capital offenses. He was elected repeatedly to the bench in Whidbey Island, Wash., also serving as municipal court judge for three communities.
He retired with a reputation for decency, compassion, intellectual honesty, and gruffness. His son Christopher described a pile of letters from defendants recalling how respectfully they were treated in the courtroom. “I’ve learned that most criminals just want to be listened to,” Pete once said. “They are willing to take their lumps, but they want to be treated fairly.”
Pete is survived by his wife, Sarah; son Christopher; and grandchildren Abigail and John.