May 15, 1932 – Feb. 28, 2020
Richard H. Peters, a retired teacher in Kenmore-Tonawanda schools and colonel in the Army Reserve, died Feb. 28 in his Town of Tonawanda home after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 87.
Born in Buffalo, he was raised by his grandparents and attended East Otto Union School. He graduated in 1950 from Seneca Vocational High School in Buffalo and earned varsity letters in baseball and cross-country.
He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1954 and later was certified in school administration and educational communication.
Mr. Peters taught for 38 years in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda schools, beginning with a year at the former Kenmore Junior High School. He then taught math, social studies and English at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, where he also was audio-visual administrator.
The media center he established at Franklin Middle School was named in his honor when he retired in 1992. He went on to be active as a leader in the Kenmore Retired Educators Association.
While he was in college and teaching, he also served for more than 42 years in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
He enlisted in the National Guard in 1950 to help pay for college, rose from private to master sergeant and was commissioned in the Army Reserve in 1954.
Continuing to serve with the National Guard in the 27th Armored Division until it was dissolved, he advanced to captain in 1960 and major in 1967. He commanded A Battery, 1st Battalion, 106th Field Artillery, and was aide-de-camp to the division’s commanding general.
With the Army Reserve, he was secretary and assistant commandant of the 1151st Army Reserve School at DeGlopper Reserve Center in the Town of Tonawanda from 1970 to 1977.
He was an honors graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and took management courses at the National Defense University. As a senior instructor, he taught advanced officer training at both institutions for nearly 10 years.
After he was promoted to colonel in 1976, he was assigned to the Pentagon as a general staff officer. He also was a volunteer teacher and course evaluator for the 1151st Army Reserve School for two years.
As a congressional liaison with the Pentagon, he helped secure passage of the Reserve Officer Personnel Management Act.
Retiring from the Army Reserve at age 60, he continued to serve for six more years in the Retiree Mobilization Program and was active for 20 years as a board member of the Military Officers Association of America and the Fort Drum Retiree Council. He also volunteered as a coordinator for the honor flights that took World War II veterans from Western New York to visit the war memorial in Washington, D.C.
A longtime resident of the Green Acres neighborhood in the Town of Tonawanda, he helped neighbors and family members as a handyman and was certified through the town’s Citizens Emergency Response Team.
He also took part in clinical trials for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease at the University of Rochester from 2001 to 2011.
He met his wife, the former Delores R. Pieroni, at SUNY Buffalo State and they were married in 1954.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, John T., a retired Army lieutenant colonel, and Gary A., a retired Navy commander; a daughter, Debra M. Palka, a college administrator; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Amigone Funeral Home, 2600 Sheridan Drive at Parker Boulevard, Town of Tonawanda.