Pete, almost 81, grew up in Denver, Colorado, and was encouraged by his high school teacher to pursue mathematics, at which he was determined to succeed. But he “didn’t do a lot of singing.”
He attended Dartmouth in New Hampshire, earning a bachelor of arts in math, and singing informally with friends while playing the ukulele. It was the early 1960’s and Dartmouth was all male and there were “all kinds of people who liked to play and sing.” Said Pete: “I was completely self-taught; music was just a hobby.”
Pete then attended a one-year graduate program at Harvard and received his master of arts in teaching. After graduate school, he taught high school math and coached gymnastics at an Evanston high school (to be closer to future wife, Janet Rabenstein, who was a year behind him in school and from Illinois), and then the couple returned to Dartmouth together where they had originally met on a blind date, and Pete worked in the admissions office. They had two sons.
“I got more into music when we returned to Dartmouth and spent a lot of time playing hootenannies,” said Pete. “I carried a little book of songs in which I kept adding new ones.”
After seven years, Pete and Jan moved to Walla Walla where Pete was the associate dean of admissions and coached diving. The family stayed in Walla Walla for nine years and added another son and an adopted daughter from Korea.
“I loved the small college feel and the location,” said Pete. “We were avid skiers, and we played bridge. But I have to say that I’m most proud of raising four children.”