Judge Edward Cullen Peck, Jr., aged 104, of Rogers Avenue passed away Friday, November 20, morning at Agawam Health Care. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 31, 1916, to Edward Cullen Peck, Sr., and Mary Frances Murphy Peck, he was educated in Holyoke, Springfield, and West Springfield public schools. His mother, known as Mae Frances, died in 1922, when he was five years old, and his father remarried in 1925 to Anne Fitzgerald, of Monson, Mass. He graduated from West Springfield High School in 1934. He attended Springfield Junior College in 1934-35, where he met his future bride, Ruth C. Mahoney, of Springfield, whom he courted through college and law school. In 1939, he graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass. In 1942, he graduated from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Mass. and Federal Bars as a practicing attorney. In the same year, he was Inducted into the U.S. Army Air Force and served honorably to November 1945. During a two-week leave early in his military service, he proposed marriage to Ruth, and they were wed on January 16, 1943, before he shipped out for 3 years of overseas service in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt, and India. In 1945, he and Ruth settled in West Springfield, where they raised six children while participating in many civic, social, and political activities and were communicants of St. Thomas the Apostle Church. He began practice of law full time in Springfield, Mass. from 1945 till June 1976, when he was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis to serve as Justice of Hampden County Housing Court. During his law practice and residing in West Springfield, he served as Library Trustee, Planning Board member, Chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, and in 2005, he and Ruth were named Democrats of the Year. He was appointed West Springfield Town Counsel in 1955 and served 21 years to 1976. He was also Founding Chairman of the Pioneer Valley Regional Planning Commission for 6 years, from its 1962 founding, and then its Treasurer for another 8 years, to 1975. He was appointed to the Mass. State Ballot Commission briefly in 1975. On appointment to the Housing Court, as the only Justice, he served continuously till compulsory retirement age of 70 years, from 1975 to 1985. Thereafter he served in the District Court Department continuously till January 1991, after which he fully retired, except for one period of service as a volunteer Assistant Clerk Magistrate in 2006 in the Westfield District Court. He maintained a continuing interest in civic, governmental, and social affairs for the betterment of society in general and in particular was sincerely interested in the continued success of the city of Springfield and especially in the improvement of its housing stock. He continued his public service into his 98th year, serving on Board of Registrars of Voters for West Springfield.
After fully retiring in 1991, Ed and Ruth purchased a summer home in the Rexhame Beach area of Marshfield, Mass., where the Peck children had, in earlier years, enjoyed many summer vacations in rented cottages along the various beaches of Marshfield. He and Ruth made many new and cherished friendships among their Rexhame Terrace neighbors and thoroughly enjoyed their frequent visits to Marshfield, with Ed still swimming in the cold ocean waters into his nineties, picking up beach litter on his daily walks, and enjoying fresh fish from the Brant Rock Fish Market. He was predeceased in 2007 by his wife, Ruth Mahoney Peck, and in 1988, by his sister and only sibling, Eleanor Frances Peck, who was a longtime principal of Springfield’s Arthur T. Talmadge School. He leaves four sons and two daughters -- Robert James Peck, Agawam; Matthew Edward Peck, West Springfield; Dr. Deborah Anne Peck, Somerville, Mass.; Mary Abigail Peck, Roslindale, Mass.; John Patrick Peck, Milford, Mass.; and Richard Anthony Peck, West Springfield -- whose spouses, partners, and close friends of the family include: Jill Lewin, Agawam; Anne Pratt, of Beacon, New York; Daria Mathis Peck, Thomaston, Maine; Carolyn Charette, West Springfield; Pamela Epler Peck, South Hadley; Emily Barkin, Oxford, Penn.; Lorraine Gray, Roslindale, Mass.; and Mary Jane Nalewajko Peck ,Milford, Mass. He also leaves six grandchildren: Tralice Peck Bracy and husband Robert Bracy, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; Jessie Borum Peck, Tenants Harbor, Maine; Christopher John Peck and wife Kim Haracz Peck, Springfield; Rosemary Frances Peck and husband Dr. Zongqi Xia, Pittsburgh, Penn.; Eleanor Catherine Pratt Peck and her husband Matthew Frey, Beacon, New York; Skylar Peck, Milford, Mass.; and Ryan DiLoreti and his wife Suzanne of Chelsea, Mass. -- and three great grandchildren: Taliesin Peck, Tenants Harbor, Maine; Wyatt Bracy, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; and Frances Frey, Beacon, New York. In addition to four surviving cousins, Father James O’Brien, S.J., of Weston, Mass.; Joseph Peck and his wife Kathryn, of Spring Hill, Florida; Janet Peck Belanger and her husband Rene of Holyoke; and Charles Peck of Northampton, he leaves eleven nieces and nephews, for whom he had great affection, who are the four surviving children of Ruth’s sister Ida Mahoney Bucher and Dr. William Bucher, losing one niece Melinda Bucher to cancer in 2017, and the seven children of Ruth’s brother Dr. John Peter Mahoney and Nona Rohan Mahoney, including his goddaughter, Elizabeth Mahoney of Martha’s Vineyard. The calling hours will be Monday, November 23, at 4-7 PM at the TOOMEY-O’BRIEN FUNERAL HOME, 1043 Westfield Street, West Springfield. Due to the Covid crisis, we ask that all attending the wake wear masks and maintain social distancing. Also, after your visitation with the family please exit directly to your vehicles. There will be a 10 AM Funeral Mass on Tuesday, November 24, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 47 Pine Street, West Springfield (note, parking lot is on Westfield Street, directly across from Toomey-O’Brien Funeral Home), followed by a burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 421 Tinkham Road, Springfield. In lieu of flowers, donations in Edward’s name may be made to the Ruth M. Peck Memorial Internship, West Springfield Public Library, 200 Park Street, West Springfield, MA 01089, 413-736-4561, www.wspl.org OR to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 60 Congress St., Floor 1; Springfield, MA 01104, 413-781-6045, www.pvpc.org, towards the establishment of an Edward C. Peck, Jr. Memorial Internship. For more information please visit www.toomeyobrien.com.
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