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    • Death of a Legend – In Memorium Robert Peek

      The stories of Robert Peek’s “customer relations” are indeed legendary throughout the cruising community. Here is a man who loved his job and did not hesitate to share that love with boaters locking through Deep Creek Lock. Our thanks to Donna Stewart of Dismal Swamp Welcome Center for this notice and to Kim Russo of AGLCA for sharing Robert’s obituary.

       

      Our hearts are heavy, as we mourn the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Deep Creek Lockmaster Robert Peek. Please keep his beloved wife Jackie and family, friends and co-workers in your thoughts in this time of loss. No one will ever fill his shoes.

      Robert of Deep Creek Lock squeezed 18 boats in the lock yesterday – we were like sardines in a can. I found the whole thing quite hilarious! Arnold Parkinson

      Robert smiling.

      Robert getting ready to play his conch shell, for which he was famous. Phil and Karen Barbalace

       

      Robert Leslie Peek Obituary
      Sturtevant Funderal Home

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Penny Leary Smith -  October 5, 2020 - 5:39 pm

        I am sending this email to inform you Robert Peek who has been the lockmaster at the Deep Creek Locks in Deep Creek Va on the Dismal Swamp Canal died October 1, 2020.

        Robert was an icon with the boaters for years. His caring personality and dedication will always be remember. If you could info the boating community through your publication this would be greatly appreciated.

        I am Penny Leary Smith (retired) former Director of the Dismal Swamp Canal. Please feel free to contact me for any further information. Thanks.

        Penny

        Reply to Penny
      2. Bob Volkwein -  October 4, 2020 - 9:08 pm

        We first met Robert in 2013 as M/V Yinzer passed through his lock. As we departed the lock, he saw that our Homeport was Pearl Harbor, HI. He picked up one of his conchs and yelled “I bet you know what this is” as he blew it. In Hawaii, in bygone years, the blowing of a conch signaled the coming of royalty. Several years later we took two of our younger grandchildren (ages 8 & 10) on the Albemarle Sound loop and as we returned to the Chesapeake stopped for the night at the free dock located between the Great Bridge bridge and his lock. I told Robert via channel 13 that we were spending the night there and that I had two apprentice conch shell blowers onboard. He naturalling inviting us over for coffee and pastries the next morning. The children took our shells with them. He said that the “blow hole” was too big for the children lips so he picked up a couple of smaller shells and promptly made ones sized for them. We will always remember and cherish the moment.

        Bob Volkwein
        M/Y Yinzer, Mainship 390

        Reply to Bob
      3. Mike Camarata -  October 2, 2020 - 3:25 pm

        If you met Robert once, you were a friend. For life. We met, chatted with and were invited to breakfast several times. He was generous with his time, his knowledge and, of course, coffee and danish. Because of storms, dredging and lock repairs we were unable to take the Dismal for couple of years. We were looking forward to seeing Robert this year. Shocked and saddened by this news. It is a terrible loss for the entire boating/cruising community. Our best wishes and condolences to Jackie and his entire family.

        Mike and Carol
        Improbability

        Reply to Mike
      4. Donna Steward -  October 2, 2020 - 12:39 pm

        You all are in the boating world and know the giant shoes Robert Peek wore for our beloved Dismal Swamp Canal. He was lockmaster, host, grounds keeper, maintenance man, historian, ambassador, entertainer, and most importantly, genuinely caring of his boaters. Everyone was a friend, and he wins a trophy for Hospitality. Everyone knows Robert, and if you didn’t, you wanted to meet him.

        So you all know how devastated we are in sharing the news of his sudden death yesterday morning. I like to picture him laughing with God, having a cup of coffee and sweet breakfast treat, debating a few matters and having a good laugh while enjoying the heavenly companionship. I’m sure he has reeled in a few angels who could not stay away from the engaging conversations. Robert is just that way. He was a dear friend, and he will never be replaced.

        Please remember his beloved wife Jackie and their family in this time of shock and loss. Also his co-workers at US Facilities and the Norfolk District USACE. If you would like to send any form of condolences please send them to:

        Jackie Peek and Family

        c/o US Facilities, Inc.

        2509 Reservation Road

        Chesapeake, VA 23322-5217

        We have been assured they will be given to Robert’s family. Jackie has given me permission to tag her on our Facebook page, although we are working out those wrinkles. So anything you share from our page she will have knowledge of. Please feel free to tag us with comments. There are already thousands of people who have seen the post late yesterday afternoon.

        Our sympathy goes out to you, as well. We know Robert had many friends in the boating community who are feeling the loss, too. Please feel free to share this message with anyone you feel would care to know. On a personal note, I took this image of Robert when he was assisting with Paddle for the Border, and my husband, daughter and grandson are on the boat with him. His genuine laughter is just contagious, and his conch is front and center. One of my favorites.

        Donna

        Reply to Donna

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