Nationally Renowned Bassett Doctor Dies
Theodore Peters Jr., Ph.D., 97, a World War II veteran and nationally known Bassett Hospital researcher, passed away peacefully in his sleep at Cooperstown Center on Thursday, March 19, 2020 according to AllOTSEGO.
He had previously stayed at the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home, after principally living with his family in the “haunted house” on River Street and later at 85 Lake St., both in Cooperstown.
Dr. Peters was well-known in the village, having served for decades as member and chair of the water and sewer board, which recently dedicated the new facility in his honor.
Moreover, on his own initiative, he was also active in protecting Lake Otsego, having started monitoring and analyzing the lake water in the early 1960s.
Dr. Peters was an accomplished musician, playing (trumpet) with the Rhythm Kids, a swing band, in high school and playing both the trumpet and the drums for sixty years with the Cooperstown Community Band. He loved playing tennis and squash, and he was an avid jogger (before it was cool), fly fisherman and outdoorsman who loved hiking and camping in the Adirondacks and across our nation.
Dr. Peters was born into a medical family in Chambersburg, Pa., on May 12, 1922.
His father was a country doctor, his mother ran the office and his sister, Elizabeth (Bebe) became a nurse.
After high school, he went to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, having majored in chemical engineering. He graduated summa cum laude in two and a half years due to World War II.
While at Lehigh, he met (1941) and then married Maggie (June, 1945), his wife of over 67 years.
While in graduate school at MIT, he was he was commissioned into the Navy, sent to radar school and then to submarine school, where he again graduated at the top of his class. He then reported aboard the submarine Cabezon, based in San Diego. He was especially proud of his country and his service during World War II and the Korean War, culminating in 26 years in the Navy. He retired as a commander in the mid-1970s.
In between his World War II and Korean War service, he completed his Ph.D. in medical biochemistry at Harvard University in 1950, working with his advisor, Dr. Christian Anfinsen. Dr. Anfinsen later won the Nobel Prize for Medicine as he was nominated by Dr. Peters for his work in synthesizing insulin.
Completing his doctorate in three years, Dr. Peters taught at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, which was his father’s alma mater.
In 1951, Dr. Peters was recalled into the Navy and served as flag communications officer to the Commander, Submarines Atlantic, a two-star admiral, in Groton, Connecticut.
Upon returning to civilian life, he taught at Harvard Medical School before being recruited to the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in 1955.
At Bassett, he conducted basic research. Dr. Peters specialized in the study of the structure and actions of serum albumin, a blood protein.
He retired in 1988, after several years as head of research. During these years, Dr. Peters presented at dozens of conferences, published over 100 journal articles and upon retiring as an Emeritus Scientist at Bassett, wrote his signature work, “All About Albumin.” This book has subsequently been adopted by medical school libraries throughout the world.
For more on this remarkable man's life, as well as funeral information, visit our publishing partner at AllOtsego.com