Born: March 6, 1940
Place of Birth: Worcester, MA
Death: February 5, 2011
Place of Death: E. Sandwich, MA
Occupation: Marine Fisheries Administrator
March 6, 1940 - February 5, 2011
Mr. Allen Eric Peterson, Jr. passed away peacefully, with his family beside him, on Saturday, February 5, 2011 following a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Peterson was born March 6, 1940 to Ruth and Allen Peterson Sr. of Worcester, Massachusetts. Allen grew up in Grafton, Massachusetts where he met the love of his life, Joan (Fischer), who predeceased him on December 29, 2007. Allen and Joan were high school sweethearts and were married for 46 years. Allen made no excuses that his life had been irrevocably changed with Joan’s passing and he was, ultimately, at peace with his terminal illness and embraced his mortality.
“Skip”, as he was called by family and close friends, is survived by his daughters Kristin Nugent and her husband Nigel of Fallbrook California, Kara Peterson of West Barnstable, and “adopted daughter” Sarah Dowling of West Barnstable. He also leaves behind brothers-in-law Jon Fischer and his wife Jessica of Cheshire, CT and Nick Fischer and his wife Susan of Long Island, NY. Skip also leaves behind two sisters, Carol Filer and Astrid Peterson, both of Central Massachusetts. All will certainly miss him, as will his many nieces and nephews and his cousin Shirley Davis, to whom he was especially close.
“Al”, as he was known by friends and colleagues, will be deeply missed by his many friends, especially Phil Coates, Al’s “brother” and friend for well over 40 years, and Buzzy DiCarlo, his long-time friend and hunting buddy. Al will also be remembered fondly by the many friends with whom he shared his hobbies and interests which included shooting sports, hunting, bird watching, book and artwork collecting, and of course, fishing.
Allen was proud of his professional accomplishments and received much recognition in his 34 years of public service. After receiving his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Peterson began with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries as a field biologist in Sandwich. He was promoted to Assistant Director and ultimately Director in 1976. Allen served successfully as Director until 1979 when he became a Regional Director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a division of the National Marine Fisheries Service. As Regional Director, Allen was instrumental in ushering in the new federal Fisheries Management and Conservation Act, which created a new management regime for the Nation’s fisheries. After serving successfully as Regional Director, Allen was tapped to serve as Science and Research Director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. He served in that role, and also served as Senior Policy Advisor for International Relations with the United States Department of Commerce, until his retirement in 1997.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed Allen as a United States Commissioner to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), an international treaty organization responsible for the conservation and management of Atlantic salmon. He served as the President of NASCO for many years and was very proud of his accomplishments in leading NASCO’s efforts to develop a scientific basis for managing and allocating salmon resources among nations.
Allen was the recipient of several honors, including the United States Department of Commerce Silver and Bronze Medals, as well as numerous awards from professional and private organizations for his achievements and contributions to public service and fisheries conservation and management. In addition, Allen was a contributing author and editor of many articles published in various scientific journals.
Allen’s personal and professional accomplishments were many, and his generosity, spirit, and passion will live on through his daughters, family, and friends. Donations in Allen’s name may be made to the McCarthy Care Center in Sandwich, where his sense of humor and good nature will be remembered by the caring staff to whom his family is eternally grateful.
A gathering of friends and family will be held on Sunday, February 13th from 2:00 to 6:00 pm at the Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home, 154 Route 6A Sandwich, MA, 02563. An event to celebrate Allen’s life will take place in the summer.