Pete P. Peters, an accomplished businessman and community benefactor, passed away March 13 at his Fresno area home. He was 94.
Dr. Peters and his brother Leon S. Peters were respected business leaders and philanthropists. Together they owned and operated Valley Foundry, which manufactured wine grape crushers and nautical equipment for the armed forces during World War II.
Dr. Peters belonged to a philanthropic family whose generous support of Fresno State is apparent throughout campus. The Leon S. and Pete P. Peters Educational Center in the Student Recreation Center and the Pete P. Peters Ellipse Balcony in the Madden Library were named in honor of Dr. Peters.
The family name also appears on the Leon S. Peters Building, Alice Peters Auditorium (named for Leon Peters’ wife), and the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery.
Fresno State conferred an honorary doctoral degree on Dr. Peters during the university’s 2009 commencement ceremony.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Pete Peters, a member of a family whose legacy is written large on our campus and elsewhere in Fresno,” said Fresno State President John D. Welty. “Dr. Peters was a man of integrity who didn’t seek the spotlight even as his generosity brightened thousands of lives.
“He supported our students through nursing, business and viticulture scholarships, as well as establishing an endowment in Armenian Studies,” added Welty. “His contribution to the entire cultural arts community is reflected in the exhibit space of our Henry Madden Library.”
Dr. Peters also supported the President’s Fund, Ag One Foundation, the library, the Bulldog Foundation, the Leon S. Peters Honors Scholars and the Business Associates Program.
The youngest son of Armenian immigrants, Dr. Peters longed to attend college. Instead, he and his brother dedicated themselves to growing the family business. Both were widely respected as an ethical businessmen and community benefactors.
Dr. Peters believed quality education and health care are integral components of a great community and his family was also a major donor to Fresno-based Community Regional Medical Center.
Other organizations touched by the Peters family generosity include the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, Valley Public Television, the San Joaquin College of Law and the Boys and Girls Club.
“I enjoyed getting to know Dr. Peters over the years. Above all, I believe Pete Peters was an example to all of ethical business entrepreneurship and of service to the entire community,” said Welty. “We will miss him.”
Pete P. Peters discussing why he supports Fresno State Video