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Obituary - John Gilbert Peterkin

John Gilbert Peterkin, 82, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, passed away Dec. 16, 2010. He was born on March 27, 1928 to the late Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Peterkin of Garden City and Westhampton. His family has been traced back to the Long Island area going back 300 years. He moved to Ponte Vedra Beach over 50 years ago where he has been an active member of Christ Episcopal Church of Ponte Vedra. He loved to travel and learn from other cultures. He traveled to over 34 countries and made three trips to China.

At the age of 10, John enrolled in the Kent School (CT) where his brother attended. After graduating from Kent he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in October of 1946. Four months later was involved in a battle with North China. Five months after that battle the CCO., 1st Bat., 5th Marines, 1st Division was attacked at midnight by 600 People’s Republic soldiers, killing five marines and wounding 15 others. John was the last American to be wounded in China, which disabled him for the rest of his life. John received numerous medals including citations from the Nationalist Republic and The Purple Heart.

John graduated from Syracuse University Business School and worked for Proctor, Gamble and Owens – Illinois Glass Co. and then went on to work for 25 years on Wall Street specializing in managing institutional sales. He was also involved with Young Republic events and was a former vice president of The Investment Association.

John founded Long Island’s Cedar Swamp Historical Society in 1976 and had a membership of 400 in the 1990s while living in “Glenhill,” a 1786 homestead. He attended 40 years of municipal meetings, was a New York Conservation and Environmental appointee for Long Island, a former police commissioner for Old Brookville’s five villages and was once asked by Democrats to run for State Senate.

An avid golfer since 1934, John was once a 3 handicap and shot his age at 81, but never had a hole-in-one. He played several times with Byron Nelson, becoming a close friend, exchanging letters for over 30 years. He was a member of The National Golf Links of America, Piping Rock Club of Cherry Valley, Ketchebonic Club of Westhampton and TPC Sawgrass of Ponte Vedra Beach. He played on over 24 of Scotland’s courses.

John was a collector with 18 of the best golf prints, dozens of hickory golf clubs over 100 years old, including Tom Morris’ putter, an original 1723 golf rules book, 40 trophies and very early American glass bottles and golden retriever prints.

John was predeceased by his siblings: Dewitt Peterkin, Mrs. John K. Gurney (Jane Peterkin) and Donald Scott Peterkin. He is survived by many nieces, nephews and scores of cousins on Long Island.

A wake was held on Dec. 27 at Follett & Werner, Westhampton Beach. A funeral service was held on Dec. 28 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Westhampton Beach. The Interment followed at the Westhampton Cemetery.

John also was also remembered at a memorial service on Jan. 4 at Christ Episcopal Church of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, with the Rev. Richard Westbury officiating.

A special thank you goes to the staff and nurses at both Vicar’s Landing and Beaches Baptist Medical Center for the exceptional care and kindness shown to John during the last few months.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ Episcopal Church, 400 San Juan Dr., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.

Visit our online tribute at Services under the direction and care of Quinn-Shalz, Jacksonville Beach, FL.