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Mathematician rose to highest security levels as analyst for Pentagon

Deb Erdley
Dale Arthur Peters of Latrobe

Dale Peters was a soft-spoken, quiet man.

But to say the retired mathematician who rose to the highest security levels in the Pentagon as a government analyst was a man of few words would be a mistake, said his wife, Monte Schenk Peters.

“He loved to read. He loved ‘Jeopardy!’ and word puzzles, especially the New York Times crossword puzzles. He bought those books. He was very smart. He loved to play with words, and loved to put a twist on them. One morning when I woke up, he looked at me and said, ‘You have such pulchritude. I said, ‘What are you talking about now?’ He said, ‘Pulchritude, it means beauty.’ He loved to come up with these words,” Mrs. Peters recalled fondly.

Dale Arthur Peters of Latrobe died Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in hospice care at Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, of complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.

Mr. Peters was born July 27, 1938, in Pittsburgh, a son of William L.C. and Mary Margaret (Muenz) Peters.

Mr. Peters grew up in Beaver. A graduate of Penn State who did a year of graduate study at MIT, he spent three years in the Army, serving in Fort Belvoir, Va.; El Paso, Texas; and Anchorage, Alaska.

Mrs. Peters said she and her husband of 52 years met when he went to work for the Navy’s Department of Naval Ship Systems Command.

“He was hired by my office where I had worked since I got out of high school,” she said. “He was very patriotic. He said he wanted to work for the government to give something back.”

Their daughter, Wendy Peters Caivano of Aurora, Colo., said her dad was a regular at all of her sporting events, including swim meets and equestrian competitions. “He spent every Father’s Day in the dust and the sun at equestrian events,” she said.

“I think one of my fondest memories is my dad at the beach every year,” she said. “My childhood always included Nags Head beach trips that I just cherish. When he wasn’t working, he was a big little kid. He’d take his watch off and he played and he was silly.”

Although Mr. Peters didn’t enjoy traveling great distances, his daughter said he flew to Las Vegas, rented a car and drove five hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for her wedding.

“That was a huge thing for him to do to be there,” she said. “But he was there, and he walked me down the dirt path. As I reflect on his inner wisdom, there was a very deep serene wisdom in him that didn’t come out very much. He was the wise one in the family.”

The Peters family moved to Melbourne Beach, Fla., in 1993 when Mr. Peters retired and then on to Williamsburg, Va., before returning to Western Pennsylvania 14 years ago.

Although they had long lived in northern Virginia and Florida, Mrs. Peters said her husband remained a Western Pennsylvanian in his heart and loved to cheer for the Pirates, the Steelers and the Penguins.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Peters is survived by a son-in-law, Joe Caivano of Aurora, Colo.; his sister, Florence Carpenter of Freedom; his brothers, Glenn Peters of Menlo Park, Calif., and youngest brother Don Peters and his wife, Cathy, of Acme.

Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at John J. Lopatich Funeral Home Inc., 601 Weldon St., Latrobe, where services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Westmoreland County Food Bank, 100 Devonshire Drive, Delmont, PA 15626, or to one’s favorite charity.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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