Peter M Webster of York, Maine and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire passed away on March 18, 2020. He was four months shy of his 88th birthday.
Peter was born in Portland, Maine to Louise Verrill and the Rev Stephen Webster. Peter was especially fond of his maternal grandfather, attorney Harry M Verrill, who was senior partner at the Portland law practice, Verrill Dana, founded by his father Byron Decreny Verrill. Peter’s early childhood was particularly memorable for the time spent at the family’s summer residence on Sebago Lake, now the site of St Joseph’s College.
Peter attended Meadowbrook School in Weston MA, before completing his prep school education at St Mark’s School, Southborough, MA, where he excelled as sportsman and scholar. Peter was Class of '54 at Yale University and earned his bachelor’s degree in Russian History at the University of Texas (Austin).
After serving in the Marine Corps in Korea, he returned to Yale to receive a master’s degree in Education. On graduating, he joined the National Security Agency in Washington, DC, and from there went into the Foreign Service where he served for two years as liaison to the Turkish Ministry of Education in Ankara, Turkey.
However, Academia was his true calling. His first teaching appointment was at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA, where he was chairman of the History Department and coached hockey and soccer. He was Headmaster of Staten Island Academy in New York for eight years before taking the helm at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA in 1976.
Peter began his tenure at Tabor by revamping the administrative structure, introducing modern Admissions, College Counseling and Advancement operations. He worked diligently to improve the quality of academics and bring increased financial stability to the school. Though challenging at times, he oversaw a period of great change and accomplishment for Tabor. His successful implementation of the daunting task of reintroducing coeducation is arguably the most significant of his achievements. Peter described his more personal vision for Tabor simply as “an Athenian balance of Arts, Academics and Athletics.”
He retired to Portsmouth NH in 1988 and spent 27 years at 1 Webster Way before moving back to his birth state in 2015.
Loving husband to Natalie for over 60 years, he is survived by her, their daughter Pamela, (Nicholls), son Peter Jr, four grandchildren and brother John V. Webster of Camden, ME.
Copious note maker; voracious reader of history, whose capacity for retention was remarkable; master and commander of the English language, defender of Latin and champion of the orderly and the underdog, Peter’s well of qualities ran deep. He enriched many lives with his intelligence, compassion, empathy and understanding. Above all, he loved well and was well-loved.
‘Tis no small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends...’
(adapted from the Hymn of Empedocles by Matthew Arnold)
The family will gather at their beloved home on Lake Winnipesaukee this summer to remember him.
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