Memorial Celebration Planned for Peter Borgemeister

PeterB-325Peter Heyn Borgemeister, a leader in woodland and wetlands conservation, died Monday, March 17, 2014, in Wallingford, CT.

He was 93. Peter was born on Staten Island, NY in 1920 where he had an active childhood and graduated from Curtis High School with high honors. He also made friends with whom he remained close all his life. He attended Syracuse University, where he competed on the ski team and graduated Magna cum laude. In 1942 he joined the Navy and became skipper of the USS SC 640, a 110 foot submarine chaser. On discharge, he took positions selling building products with U.S. Gypsum, Masonite Corporation and later Georgia-Pacific.

In 1950 he married “Tiny” Porritt of Canton, CT. They lived in Granby, CT, where he made many more friends, and helped start the Granby Tennis Club. In 1961 they moved to Madison, CT where he co-founded the Madison Conservation Commission, the first private land trust in CT, for the purpose of preserving tidal wetlands.

While in Madison he married Nancy Woodward and left sales to become executive secretary of the newly formed Save the Wetlands Committee, where he spent the next three years getting the state Tidal Wetlands law enacted. A high point of those years was staging a public event to save a large tidal marsh from being filled to create a parking lot at Meigs Point in the Hammonasset State Park. This effort convinced the state to abandon these plans and create the Meigs Point Nature Preserve.

He then became executive vice president of the Connecticut Society of Architect (CSA), a chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and spent 17 satisfying years working with architects and architects-to-be. His chapter was noted for its pioneering education programs for architects and interns and was made an Honorary Member of the AIA on leaving office.

He and Nancy were enthusiastic sailors, cruising every summer in their Tartan 27. He also help found the Branford Land Trust, which acquired several large parcels of land, including Beacon Hill. They were happily married for 33 years.

In 2001 he and Harriet (“Jimmie”) White started their life together. They shared a love of grandchildren, reading, wildflowers, birding, travel, flower gardening, reunions with her Yale Nursing School friends, and the Branford Public Library, where he helped run the annual Book Sale. Harriet predeceased him in February. He was a lifelong birdwatcher, hiker and had the longest active membership in the New Haven Bird Club—49 years. We would like to thank his devoted group of hiking friends, who have been a source of great comfort.

Peter is survived his sister, Connie Reynolds, and his children, Peter Borgemeister, Alison Walck (husband Robert), and Alex Borgemeister (wife Lark); and grandchildren Peter and Robert Walck, and Kyle, Justin, and Amy Borgemeister. The family would like to thank the staff at Ashlar Village for their unfailing kindness and professionalism.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 13 from 3:30 to 5:30 at the Owengo Inn, 40 Linden Ave, Branford, CT.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Branford Land Trust, PO Box 254, Branford, CT 06405. The most fitting memorial of all, and the one he would probably most appreciate, would be to plant some flowers in or otherwise take care of a public space in honor of our community-spirited father, who had so many lifelong friends.



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Branford Land Trust
P.O. Box 254
Branford, CT 06405
(203) 483-5263


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