Nathan Hiram Peck Sr., PhD, died Thursday (August 24, 2017) at the Geneva Living Center North. He was 94.
There will be no prior calling hours. Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service on Saturday (September 9, 2017) 11 a.m. at the United Church of Phelps with Rev. Adrian Tierson officiating. Private burial will be in South Lyons Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Oaks Corners Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 54, Oaks Corners, NY 14518.
Dr. Peck was born in 1923 on the fourth-generation family farm in Phelps, N.Y., the son of the late C. Sealey and Ina Howell Peck. A 1941 graduate of Phelps Central School, he was a WWII Army veteran of the United States. After leaving the Army, he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree (Cornell ’51) in Plant Physiology and married his college sweetheart, Florence B. Conover (Cornell ’50). He then earned his PhD (Cornell ’56) in Soil Physics Edaphology. He continued his career at USDA-ARS as a soil scientist and at Birds Eye in foods research.
In 1959 Dr. Peck returned to Cornell as a research professor at the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva. In the Department of Horticultural Sciences, he specialized in the production and quality of vegetables grown for food and achieved the rank of Full Professor. He took two research sabbaticals, Oregon State University (1965-66) and University of California at Davis (1976). He authored or
co-authored a total of 119 scientific publications and was a member of the scientific research honor society Sigma Xi. Upon his retirement from Cornell in 1989, he was appointed Professor Emeritus. He was very proud that all of his children and several other family members were graduates of Cornell University.
In his retirement, he and his wife Florence enjoyed traveling the country and visiting children and grandchildren, and they recently celebrated sixty-five years of marriage. Dr. Peck was a charter member and past president of the Phelps Historical Society as well as a member and former trustee of the United Church of Phelps. He loved to work the land and his gardens, having spent most of his adulthood back on the family farm where he was born.
Dr. Peck is survived by his wife, Florence B. (Conover) Peck; his children Nathan H. (Robin) Peck Jr., Nancy E. Peck, Henry R. (Leigh) Peck, Walter G. (Barbara) Peck, Virginia A. Peck, and Alice P. (Christopher) Hoover; twelve grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; and many, many nieces and nephews. He was the last remaining of C. Sealey and Ina Peck’s fourteen children.
Funeral arrangements have been made with the Cheney Funeral Home, 70 Main Street, Phelps.