Peter VanWinkle Young died September 25, 2019 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. He was born February 10, 1944 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Summit, New Jersey. He attended public schools and studied piano as a child. In 10th grade he transferred to Pingry School, where in chapel on his first day the organist, Carl Fudge, announced that permission slips were available for organ lessons. Peter was soon playing the daily chapel services himself.
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Peter graduated from MIT with a degree in Electrical Engineering. While there he practiced on the organ in Kresge Auditorium, and accompanied student services at First Congregational Church in Harvard Square. He met his future wife, Ellen Roberts, and they married June 4, 1966, a week before his graduation. Two sons came along soon after, Paul in 1968 and Jack in 1970.
He completed his education with an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and began a career with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority lasting 28 years in which he had numerous positions under a dozen different bosses. He put together an organ in his basement in 1968, but it got little use after he gained access to the organ at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church; he became summer substitute organist there for many years. As his name became known he served as a substitute in over 100 churches – often with a “stay with us through Easter” or “through Christmas” request.
Peter and Ellen moved to Las Cruces in 2004. Peter played at St. Andrews, St. James, First Presbyterian, the Catholic Cathedral and others as well as his home church, Peace Lutheran, until Parkinson’s Disease made it no longer possible. He served as Dean of the Las Cruces Chapter of the AGO for five years.
A Celebration of Peter’s Life will be held at Peace Lutheran Church on Saturday, October 19, at 2:00 p.m. Donations in his memory may be made to the Organ Fund at Peace Lutheran Church (1701 Missouri Ave., Las Cruces, NM, 88001) or to the Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of Southern New Mexico (Checks to PMD Alliance, memo: benefit of PDSGSNM, mail to: PDSGSNM Treasurer, 5072 Galina Drive, Las Cruces, NM 88012.)
Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home, 1410 E. Bowman Ave. Las Cruces, NM 88001. Please visit www.getzcares.com to sign the local online guest book.