Dr. Richard Maurice Peek, of Charlotte and beloved Minister of Music at Covenant Presbyterian Church for 47 and a half years, died Monday, November 28, 2005 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Born May 17, 1927 in Mason, Michigan, Dr. Peek was the son of Maurice Clayton Peek and Ruth Patricia Lasenby Peek. Following graduation in 1945 from the Mason schools, he attended classes at Michigan State University for two semesters, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After military service, he returned to Michigan State University, graduating in 1950. He then moved to New York City, where he attended the summer session of the Juilliard School of Music. That fall he began work on a master's degree at Union Seminary. While there, he was organist and choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Church, Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1957, Dr. Peek completed requirements for his Ph.D.
Dr. Peek and his wife Elizabeth "Betty" Lankford Peek came to Charlotte as a newly wed couple in 1952 and began their work at Covenant Church July 1, 1952. They had met at the School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary, New York City, where they had each earned a Master of Sacred Music degree. Covenant Church, established in 1947, was still under construction in 1952, and the Peeks were hired to establish and direct a ministry of music. In addition to regular worship services, his ministry included the Covenant Musical Series which featured local as well as visiting musicians, the annual Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols, Independence Day Carillon Recitals, and summer performances of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. A leader in the Presbyterian denomination, Dr. Peek served as a member of the Joint Committee on Worship for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in the United States and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. The joint committee produced The Worshipbook - Services and Hymns, published in 1972 and used by churches in the denomination for an entire generation. He was twice Dean of the Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and for four years he served as a faculty member of the Montreat Music Conference. He was the North Carolina State Chairman of the American Guild of Organists and their elected Regional Chairman for the Southeastern Region, and was elected twice to the National Council of the AGO.
As a composer, Dr. Peek wrote more than 300 pieces for organ, choir and instruments, including the "Chorale and Toccata" for orchestra, which was performed by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He received a number of awards from the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs for his compositions. He was the author of numerous articles for the American Guild of Organists Magazine, The American Organist, and The Diapason. His hobbies included collecting oriental rugs and gardening. He was a member of the Mint Museum and its Ceramic Circle.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, are two sons, Dr. Richard Maurice Peek, Jr., and wife, Dr. Julie Thomas Peek of Nashville, TN, and Charles Andrew Peek of Charlotte; and two grandchildren, Christopher Thomas Peek and Jennifer Lankford Peek.
A memorial service will be held 3:00 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 2005 at Covenant Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends immediately following in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Music Department at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 East Morehead St., Charlotte, NC 28204. Harry and Bryant Company is serving the family of Dr. Peek.
As published in Charlotte Observer, The (NC) - Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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