John Joseph Peters

1900 Boston, Massachusetts 1982 Wellesley, MA



Continuation of tree (5th child of Ralph Waldo Peters/Martha J. Noble); all known surname descendants:

                9        John Joseph Peters  b: 12 March 1900  Boston, Suffolk, MA; d: 25 February 1982  Wellesley, Norfolk, MA

                                 + Edna Veronica Lanigan  b: 30 April 1898  New York City, NY; m: Abt. 1925; d: 11 December 1980  Wellesley, Norfolk, MA

                            10      John Joseph Peters  b: 1 July 1926  Dorchester, Suffolk, MA; d: 23 October 2005  Wellesley, Norfolk, MA

                                        +Patricia Colvin    m: 1951; d: Aft. October 2005

                            10      Mary Elizabeth Peters  b: 14 September 1927  Boston, Suffolk, MA; d: 1 June 2011  Herndon, Fairfax, VA

                                        +Charles Edward Connor  b: 2 August 1917  Spencer, MA; m: 8 October 1965  Fredericksburg, VA [Edward Barnaby/Lillian J. Hoyt]; d: 5 September 1979  Arlington, Arlington, VA

                            10      Edna V. Peters  b: Abt. 1931

                                        + --- Cardellicchio



Notes for John Joseph Peters:


- 1930 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts:  John J. Peters 30, wife Edna V. 31, John J. 3 years 9 months, Mary E. 2 years 9 months, lodger Rosana A. McLaughlin 65.


- 1940 Wellesley, Norfolk, MA:  John J. Peters 40 engineer/hospital, wife Edna V. 41, John J. Jr. 13, Mary E. 12, Edna V. 8.

- 1950 Wellesley, Norfolk, MA:  John Joseph Peters 50 stationary engineer/iron foundry, wife Edna V. 51, John J. Jr. 23, Mary Elizabeth 22 waitress/restaurant, Edna V. 18 clerk/cleaners.

Obituary:  Boston Globe, Friday, 26 February 1982:  Peters - Of Wellesley, February 25, John J. Peters, beloved husband of the late Edna V. (Lanigan) Peters, mother of John J. Peters Jr. of Wellesley, Mary E. Connor, of Arlington, Va., Edna V. Cardellicchio, of Natick.  Also survived by 8 grandchildren, and 3 sisters in Dorchester.  Uncle of Thomas Kelly and Ralph Peters, both of Wellesley.  Funeral from the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St., (Rte. 18), Wellesley, Saturday at 8:15.  Funeral Mass in St. James Church at 9 a.m.  Relatives and friends kindly invited.  Visiting hours omitted.  Interment St. Marys Cemetery, Needham.


Notes for Edna Veronica Lanigan:

Obituary:  Boston Globe, Saturday, 13 December 1980:  Peters - Of Wellesley, Dec. 11, Edna V. (Lanigan) Peters, beloved wife of John J. Peters Sr., mother John J. Peters Jr. of Wellesley, Mary E. Connor of Arlington, VA, Edna V. Cardellicchio of Natick.  Also survived by eight grandchildren.  Funeral from the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St., Rt. 16, Wellesley, Monday at 9:15.  Funeral Mass in St. James Church at 10 a.m.  Relatives and friends kindly invited.  Visiting hours Sunday 3-5 only.  Interment St. Mary's Cemetery Needham.


Obituaries for the children:

John Joseph Peters:  Boston Globe, Sunday, 30 October 2005:  John Peters, character actor, master at changing dialects - Onstage behind the footlights, John Peters played many characters.  In life, he played two - actor and horticulturist.  For 60 years, Mr. Peters worked by day at Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton, an expert on everything that grows from the ground.  By night and on weekends, he tread the boards with area theater groups, playing roles from Shakespeare to Shaw and Moliere.  "If John had made acting his career, he would have made it big on Broadway," said Frank Dolan, who founded the equity Playhouse at Piccadilly Square in Newton Centre where Mr. Peters appeared in the 1970s.  "He was a born character actor with great comic timing.  He had a fantastic feeling for accents and could switch from one dialect to another in a matter of seconds."  Mr. Peters, a natural talent who never took acting lessons, died last Sunday at his Wellesley home from complications of diabetes.  He was 79.  He looked the part of a character actor, said Dolan, of Wakefield, R.I.  "John was craggy.  He had a New England fisherman face and gruff voice.  He was tall, angular, and skinny."  Mr. Peters was as accomplished a horticulturist and plant identification expert as he was an actor, said Wayne Mezitt, chairman of Weston Nurseries.  Mr. Peters started working with the nurseries as a young man and never left until he retired at 65.  He returned on a seasonal basis until 2002, Mezitt said, to answer gardeners' questions.  "John was a fount of information," Mezitt said, "and always answered questions in a humerous way."  John Joseph Peters Jr. was born in Dorchester to John and Edna (Lanigan) Peters.  He was raised in Wellesley and started acting in plays in junior high school, according to his wife, the former Patricia Colvin.  After graduation from Wellesley High School, he joined the Navy and served aboard a destroyer in the China Seas.  When he was discharged from the Navy, he went to a prep school and attended Harvard.  He and his future wife met at a T.S. Eliot lecture at Harvard and were married in 1951.  He bagan his acting career in earnest in the early 1950s.  "John was really well-rounded," his wife said.  "He loved to be entertaining.  He was so funny and used to do great imitations of famous people.  He was a master at picking up dialects and mannerisms.  He spoke Italian, French, and Spanish."  Mr. Peters's theatrical inclinations went far back.  Alison Garfield of Sudbury recalled that when she did shows for the Wellesley College radio station she recruited Mr. Peters for various parts.  Later on, she said, his Shakespearean roles with a variety of groups, among them the Brattle Theater Company in Cambridge, were memorable.  "One of his great parts," she said, "was as Owen Glendower, a Welsh chieftain in 'Henry IV.'  It's a very forceful and vigorous role."  Garfield also recalled Mr. Peters as the bishop in "St. Joan" and in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  Robert Brustein, founder of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, recalled Mr. Peters as "a lovely man, a very good actor, who generally played working-class characters very well.  He had kind of a gruff voice and was very good at playing rustics."  Anita Sangiolo of Dennis Port recalled acting with Mr. Peters at the Playhouse at Piccadilly Square in Moliere's Tartuffe."  "He played Tartuffe, the penurious old man, and was a terrific actor," she said.  "John could recite reams and reams of Shakespeare.  His favorite play was 'King Lear.'  He always hoped to play him someday."  In earlier days, Dolan said, Mr. Peters appeared in several off-Broadway shows, among them, "The Girl of the Golden West."  He also appeared - along with Dolan - in the Hollywood film "The Coming," which was made in Salem about the witch trials.  In the 1950s, he worked with the Group 20 Players of Wellesley Summer Theatre on the Green, and he was onstage in the Boston Arts Festival in 1964.  In New York, he appeared at the Phyllis Anderson Theatre, the Jan Hus Auditorium, and the Martinique Theatre in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible."  Although he had diabetes for 55 years, Mr. Peters never let his illness interfere with his work or his acting, his wife said.  On a visit to Mr. Peters 10 days before he died, Dolan found him "bearded and long-haired, looking a bit like King Lear" - the role he never got to play.  Besides his wife, Mr. Peters leaves two daughters, Linda Savakis and Laura; and a son, Christopher, all of Wellesley; and two sisters, Edna Cardellicchio of Natick and Mary Connor of Herndon, Va.  A memorial service is planned for a later date.


Mary Elizabeth Peters: Tombstone Inscription, National Memorial Park, Falls Church, Fairfax, VA:  together / forever / CONNOR / Charles E. / 1917 - 1979 / Mary E. / 1927 - 2011



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Items in RED have been verified against parish register entries. 

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Last updated:  29 June 2022.