HANCOCK – William Heller "Bill" Peake, who was born in 1926, in Binghamton, N.Y., passed away Sept. 19, 2011.
He had been a resident of Hancock since 1973, although he began spending summers there in 1962. Soon after birth he and his mother, Elizabeth, moved to China, where his father was working. He attended The Redcroft School there until age 7, when he was enrolled in Cathedral School, Shanghai. In 1938 at age 12, his parents took him to England to undergo eye surgery. Because of an accident, Bill had lost the sight in his right eye. In September 1939, his parents started the journey back to China, leaving Bill in Merseyside, England. He continued his education at The Birkenhead School – doing well in his first public examinations. His young life took another turn, when sadly, his mother was dying from breast cancer. He moved back to the U.S., where his parents had come to be close to family. He was sent to school in New York City at Horace Mann High School, where he was told that he was too advanced in his studies and was advised that he would be better served by enrolling in college. He, therefore, entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 16. At 19 he graduated with his Bachelor of Science in physics. Soon thereafter, in spring 1946, he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force, where he served one year. After his service, he matriculated at Columbia University, where he received his master’s degree in physics in 1951. He taught physics for two years at Penn State University and then took a teaching position at The Ohio State University, where he received his doctorate in physics in 1959. He eventually became a full professor of physics and electrical engineering. He was instrumental in the design and engineering of satellite antennae for NASA during that time. In 1973 Bill and his wife, Adeline, bought a home in Hancock. In 1980 he became professor and chair of the electrical engineering department at the University of Maine, Orono. He finally retired from teaching in 1997 as professor emeritus. Later in life, rowing became Bill’s passion. He was constantly "working the waves" on his beloved Taunton Bay.
He was widowed in 2006. He is survived by brother, Sam Peake and wife, Ruby; niece, Elizabeth; stepchildren, Sylvia Monteux, Gerard Monteux and wife, Beth, Robert Monteux and wife, Jennifer, and Stephanie Jahn and husband, Ernest; and cousin, Betty Forrester and husband, Dennis.
In lieu of flowers or cards, a contribution would be greatly appreciated to Friends of Taunton, attention: treasurer, P.O. Box 3, Hancock, ME 04640.