From Ralph Schuetz – 3/30/2000
As current or former WGBH staffers I’m sure most of you will be saddened by the news that Peter Downey passed away over the weekend.
I don’t know when he began his career at WGBH, but Peter was there when I started with the station in 1968. He was my boss for my last several years with the station before I left to take a job with a PBS department called the Public Television Library, then located in Indiana but soon transferred to Washington. Peter thought I’d taken leave of my senses. But he followed me to Washington several years later and was actually my boss again for a few years down here somwhere along the road.
It was Peter who helped me through a mid-life crisis in the 80’s when I might really have lost my senses and left PBS to jump from the frying pan into the fire. I listened to his advice and I stayed, and I’ve never regretted it. Each of us had over 25 years at PBS, and 30-35 years between WGBH and PBS. The last time we talked, a few weeks ago, it was about the reunion, and how great it would be. I know Peter was looking forward to it. (I’m so sad I can’t be there because of the NAB Convention in Las Vegas.) We talked of life after PBS, a propsect not that far off for either of us.
As a fellow old-timer, Peter and I shared many of the same memories of PBS’s early years. As PBS has grown, our paths didn’t cross all that much any more, but I know that besides his obvious talents, his knowledge and sense of the history made him one of the most respected senior staffers at PBS. He was valued, and will be missed, immeasurably.