Arthur W. Peck, founder, with his wife, of Peck’s Markets, departed this earth on January 20, 2014 with loving family at his side. Born September 18, 1931 in Astoria, LI, NY, to Arthur W. Peck, Sr., and Margaret Friedel Peck, he lived in Damascus, PA, Beach Lake, PA and Phoenix, AZ before moving to Narrowsburg in 1963. He was married to his wife, the former Beth Rosencranse, for 62 years.
Surviving are two daughters, Alison Peck, Honesdale, PA, and Anita Peck Orsini and husband Rick, Fort Lauderdale, FL; a son, Wayne Peck, Milanville, PA; two sisters, Peggy Seiferling O’Neill, New Port Richey, FL, and Millicent Gresovic, Phoenix, AZ; a brother, Frank Peck, Honesdale; 10 loving grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Jason and Danielle Kean, Quinn and Cyrus, Jennifer and Sean Thompson, Alicia and Derin Kraack, Travis and Garrett, Ryanne and James Jennings and Desi, Brandon Orsini, Christopher and Stephanie Orsini, Katie Suib, Jon Michael Suib, Shayne Peck and Kellsie Peck.
A daughter, Arden Peck Kean, preceded him in death in December, 2011.
Art worked in Sid’s Market in Honesdale, before moving to Phoenix in 1957, where he was a manager with A. J. Bayless Markets, before purchasing Oellrich & Behling market on Main Street in Narrowsburg in 1963. A new market was constructed on Kirk Rd., Narrowsburg in 1975, and the business, now familiarly known as Peck’s Market, was moved to that location. Peck’s Market in Callicoon, NY, was added in 1973, in a former car dealership building. Peck’s Market, Livingston Manor, was built in 1976. In 1987 the three corporations were sold to Peck’s employees, utilizing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), one of the first such transactions in New York State. This transaction was noted in the July, 1988 issue of Bank Notes, a newsletter published by the National Cooperative Bank of Washington, DC, which financed the leveraged ESOP buyout. This unusual venture was also referred to in the Oct. 17, 1989 issue of Business Week, the May, 1990 issue of Family Business Magazine and in an Empire State Development newsletter in 1995.
The Pecks retained ownership of the properties, and during 1987 built four small storefronts at the Narrowsburg location (Peck’s Marketplace). First National Bank of Jeffersonville opened offices in the three locations in 1996. Five additional stores were added to the Marketplace in 1997. In 2006, Peck’s employees purchased the three properties, including the mini-mall. During the employees’ ownership the firm has added stores in Eldred and Jeffersonville.
During his retirement, Art pursued many interests. He built a kit car and restored several vintage autos; handcrafted numerous clocks and restored others for his collection. After heart surgery in 1995 he purchased plans and built his first wooden boat, going on to build or restore 23 others. Since then he built clocks for each of his grandchildren and crafted seven rocking chairs, several of which he designed. He was generous in sharing his skills with friends and community.
In 1990 he and his wife Beth built and gifted the Tusten-Cochecton Library building, following a wish list of the first trustees of this newly formed library, on land donated by the Town of Tusten. The library is now a part of Western Sullivan Public Library, which also encompasses libraries in Callicoon and Jeffersonville.
Memorial visitation will be at Rasmussen Funeral Home, Main Street, Narrowsburg, Saturday, February 1, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. In lieu of flowers, those who wish to do so may donate to Western Sullivan Public Library, 19 Center Street, Jeffersonville, NY 12748 or Tusten Volunteer Ambulance Service, PO Box 34, Narrowsburg, NY 12764.