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Remembering Art Peck

By Grace Johansen
March 26, 2014

Art Peck was a unique individual. Much has been written about him since his death such a short time ago. Art left his mark on this community in many ways. He successfully expanded the market he bought on Main Street, Narrowsburg, NY to a new building on Kirk Road and later opened two more stores in nearby towns. He then found a way for Peck’s employees to own the business.

But Art left his mark in more ways than providing food for the stomach. He helped provide food for the soul, when he and his good wife, Beth, put in place a plan to pay for building our outstanding library. They not only paid for the building, but Art even chose the spot on which it should be built, and then he chose the architect who drew the plans. Leaving nothing undone, Art paid for the parking area to be paved and painted the parking slots himself. After the building was completed, Art was the one who came to the rescue when any maintenance problems arose.

I had just begun a plan for canvassing the area for pledges when Beth called to tell me she and Art had decided to pay for a new library building. We had opened the reading center in the store front where the toy store is now located and knew we would outgrow that space before long. Establishing our library was a grand community effort, but we might still be in a pledge drive if not for Art and Beth’s generous donation.

Art is also remembered for a wry sense of humor. How many of you, young and old, remember the scarecrow that he costumed himself in at Halloween and then grabbed your hand when you went to get the candy? But my favorite display of his humor was the “lighthouse” he built on the new island left near the flats by the hurricane in 2005. That brought a good laugh to many of us. Only Art would have thought to build that!

And I always had a good laugh when Art and Bud came to fix my clock. What a pair they were! Like the Keystone Cops, or Frick and Frack!

How fortunate we are to have this beautiful building to call our own in our little town of Narrowsburg. So to all you readers, when visiting our Tusten Cochecton Branch of Western Sullivan Public Library, remember to whisper a little “thank you” to Art and Beth Peck for the privilege.

[Grace Johansen resides near Beach Lake, PA and writes The River Reporter’s “Did You Know?” column, highlighting local history through photos of days gone by.]