Peter Simonson

BRUNSWICK – Peter Simonson, of Brunswick, formerly of Freeport, and Worcester, Mass., died at MidCoast Hospital on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, from complications of Parkinson’s Disease. Peter was born in Boston, on July 24, 1931, to Priscilla Loud and Albert E. Simonson. He graduated from Providence Country Day School in 1950, where he played the saxophone and formed a small jazz band. At Middlebury College, he was president of the flying club and served on the college ski patrol. Outside of school, he and two friends climbed Switzerland’s Matterhorn and followed the Haute Route, ending at Mont Blanc. He also drove across the country with his best friend and climbed Wyoming’s Grand Teton with the legendary climbing guide Glenn Exum. Those life-changing experiences gave him a love of mountains, hiking, and the outdoors, which he pursued most of his life.

In 1953, Peter enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and attained aircraft commander status flying C124 transport planes from Dover, Del., to Greenland and northern Europe. He was hired by Norton Company, Worcester, Mass., in 1959 and in 1966 he was sent to Norton Abrasives in Hertfordshire, England, as part of an American management team, living there for two memorable years. He married Christine Nyberg in 1967, at the Cathedral of the Pines, in Rindge, N.H. In 1970 they purchased oceanfront property in Freeport. He joked that while he loved the mountains, she loved the sea, and “she won.” 

Peter retired in 1981 after 23 years at Norton Company and moved to Maine to complete their house construction. He also worked on their classic wooden sailboats starting with a Herreshoff 16 Dark Harbor, and later a Hinckley Sou’wester 34. He and his wife, young daughter and their two dogs enjoyed summers spent cruising the beautiful Maine coast with the Down East Yacht Club. He was a founding member and treasurer of the one-time Midcoast Jazz Society and was a longtime member of the Maine Pines Racquet and Fitness Club (Brunswick) playing tennis. He was also a member of First Parish Church (Brunswick) and the Randolph Mountain Club (New Hampshire).

In 1996 Peter and Chris moved to Willow Grove, in Brunswick, where Peter was on the Board of Directors of the Homeowners Association and served as financial systems manager for many years. Outdoor adventures for Peter and Chris included hiking in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range, and they also took several transatlantic and Caribbean cruises, with a particularly memorable trip to South America and Antarctica.

Peter is survived by his wife of 56 years, Christine; their daughter, Marlisa; two sons, Eric and Neil; two daughters, Brenda and Kerstin; and grandchildren, Emily, Daniel, Sara Michelle, and Christopher, with whom Peter (and his grandmother) shared a birth date.

An outdoor service to celebrate Peter’s life will be held in the spring.

Contributions in his memory may be made to The Randolph Mountain Club, P.O. Box 279

Gorham, NH 03581.

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