By Kevin Dayhoff August 5, 2009
Dr. Arthur Howard Peck, 86, of Westminster, died Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009, at his home.
He was a community leader who wore many different hats in Carroll County.
Many folks will recall that he was the popular veterinarian who came to Westminster after he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1950.
He joined the veterinary medicine practice of Dr. Charles Kable in Westminster. After Kable retired, Peck maintained the practice until he retired and sold the practice in 1985.
He was born Sept. 23, 1922, in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was the oldest son of the late George Newberry and Lillian Howard Peck; who made a living farming and raising their own livestock, food and vegetables.
He was married to Barbara Cole Peck for 62 years.
Before he enlisted in the Army in 1942, he attended school in Barre, Massachusetts, the Wilbraham Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., and went on to Massachusetts State College before World War II interrupted his studies.
During World War II he served in the 100th (Century) Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel John M. King, 397th Infantry Regiment of the Seventh Army, commanded by Gen. Alexander Patch, in Europe.
He was seriously wounded on November 30, 1944, while fighting in harsh winter weather and rough terrain in eastern France.
The Seventh Army was advancing on the well-established fortifications of Vosges Mountain portion of the Maginot Line - near the Rhine River and the German border, just above Switzerland. His unit was up against Hitler’s own Wehrmacht's Army Group G in the “Vosges Mountain Campaign,” (October 1944--January 1945.)
The Vosges Campaign was on the southern periphery of the Battle of the Bulge, which began on December 16, 1944, and is studied to this day.
Gerhard Graser, a German combat veteran of the Vosges Campaign, and the author of “Zwischen Kattegat und Kaukasus,” 1961, the official German history of the German 198th Infantry Division; wrote:
“The fighting [in the Vosges] always consisted of small battles in the underbrush, man on man. The American infantrymen, accustomed to the protection of superior air power and artillery, and used to advancing behind tanks, suddenly found themselves robbed of their most important helpers. The persistent bad weather hindered their air force, and the terrain limited the mobility of their armor to a significant degree. Here the individual soldier mattered the most… both sides fought with unbelievable bitterness andseverity.”
Another debated, but relatively definitive account of the battle has been written by Keith E. Bonn, a West Point graduate who wrote, “When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign.”
For his part, Peck earned the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Combat Infantryman Award for skill and heroism while engaged in active ground combat. Peck received a medical discharge in June 1945.
Over his many years in professional veterinary practice in Carroll County, he served as state president of the Maryland State Veterinary Medical Association from 1973 until 1974 and president of the Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners from 1974 to 1984.
From June 17, 1988 until 1993, he served on the Board of Review of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, having been appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Maryland Senate.
He was also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Maryland Wildlife Administration, the Science Advisory Board, and the National Wildlife Health Foundation.
Aside from his many accomplishments in the field of veterinary medicine, he once served as President for the Carroll County PTA and was a life member of the Carroll County Farm Museum. He helped set up the display of Veterinary Surgeon's office at the museum in 1985.
He served on the Hashawha Environmental Center board; the Environmental Affairs Advisory Board, and a county solid waste disposal committee in the 1990s.
The Carroll County commissioners appointed him to the Carroll County Farm Museum Board of Governors in 1984 where he served as chairman from 1986 until 1989.
The commissioners appointed him to the county Industrial Development Authority (IDA) in 1989, where he served as chairman from 1994 until he retired from the IDA in 2008.
He was honored on February 5, 2009 by the commissioners with a proclamation which recognized his 19 years of leadership “advancing economic Development in the county,” according to the Carroll County office of public information.
The county, “in cooperation with the City of Westminster, named a street in the Westminster Technology Park after him. Arthur Peck Drive will serve as the gateway entrance into the park from Maryland Route 97.”
Peck also served on the Board of Trustees of the Raymond I. Richardson Foundation for 14 years and was president of that group from 1988 to 1992.
He was a member of the Westminster Rotary Club since 1952, served as president in 1958, and was elected a Paul Harris Fellow in 1988. He was honored, with his wife, as Outstanding Citizens of the Year in 2001.
Peck was active in his church, St. Paul's United Church of Christ, as deacon and elder, chairman of the Consistory, Building and Grounds and co-chairman and member of the Finance and Investment Committee.
He was a member and past president of the Forest and Stream Club in Keymar, which is one of the oldest conservation groups in the United States.
In 1979, he was instrumental in starting the Carroll County chapter of Ducks Unlimited, the nation's largest nonprofit wetlands conservation group, and served as a past chairman.
At the Carroll County chapter’s annual dinner at Pleasant Valley Fire Hall, in early 2002, Peck was recognized for his decades of outstanding volunteerism for Ducks Unlimited.
Surviving, in addition to his wife, are a sister, Joyce P. Riffenburg, of New York; daughters and sons-in-law Linda Bloedau, of North Carolina, Babs and Jerry Condon, of Westminster, and Sue and Chris O'Dell, of Colorado; grandchildren Katherine Bloedau, of North Carolina, A.J. and Gregory Condon, of Westminster, Erin and Kelley O'Dell, of Colorado; and a great-grandson, R. J. Haney, of North Carolina.
He was predeceased by a brother, Dr. Donald E. Peck. Friends may call from 2 to 5 and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Pritts Funeral Home, 412 Washington Road, Westminster.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Bond and Green Streets, Westminster, with the Rev. Marty Kuchma officiating.
Private interment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions, for a scholarship for a Carroll County student to attend veterinary school, may be sent to the Dr. Arthur H. Peck Scholarship Fund, c/o Community Foundation of Carroll County, 255 Clifton Blvd., Suite 203, Westminster, MD 21157.