Peter Anthony Richter
Peter Richter, 70, of Anchorage, passed away on Oct. 13, 2018, after being struck by a drunk driver while on a bicycle tour outside of Riga, Latvia.
Peter was born in Saranac Lake on Feb. 6, 1948, where he graduated from St. Pius X High School in 1966. He graduated from Stony Brook University in 1971, and later lived and traveled in Europe for several years, where he studied at the Goethe Institute, and worked in a German shipyard and at a Swiss ski area. While in Leadville, Colorado, he learned to fly, lived in an off-the-grid cabin, helped start a food co-op, and worked in the molybdenum mine and as a surveyor. Yearning for wilder places, he moved to Alaska in 1982, where he worked as a surveyor for the National Park Service. He earned a master’s degree in Pacific Rim studies from Alaska Pacific University in 1998. Peter finished his career with the Park Service’s Shared Beringia Heritage Program, where he worked with scientists, artists and native communities on both sides of the Bering Strait to fund research and cultural programs. The last 13 summers of his life he set net for salmon from his fish camp out of Pilot Point.
Peter lived a full and adventurous life, even into his last days. Growing up in the Adirondacks instilled in Peter a lifelong love of the mountains and wilderness. As a young man, he spent summers working as a boatman for Marjorie Merriweather Post at her Adirondack camp, Topridge. Over the years he climbed Denali, rafted the Grand Canyon, drove a Volkswagen across the Soviet Union, sailed around Svalbard and bike toured across Eastern Europe at age 69. In his last year of life he skied from Rainy Pass to Nikolai and hiked the Chilkoot Trail. This winter he planned to complete the Winter 46ers, winter ascents of the 46 Adirondack peaks taller than 4,000 feet.
Even with all these achievements, Peter was humble, hospitable and always happy to meet new people. His kindness and enthusiasm made him friends across Alaska, Russia, Europe and much of the world. Peter was a bush pilot, world traveler, mountaineer, commercial fisherman, mentor, gardener, pioneer, loving husband and a cornerstone for many communities of Alaskan adventurers, fishermen, pilots, pioneers, misfits and punks. He loved spending time at his cabin on Shell Lake — his “paradise” — and hosting folks for hot, 180-degree saunas and dinners during the cold winter months. His loss will be felt deeply by his family, friends and community.
Peter is survived by his loving spouse Matthew Lohrstorfer; his siblings Susan Gardiner of Portland, Oregon, Nancy Domas of Masthope, Pennsylvania, Jane Sandberg of Jericho, Vermont, and Robert Richter of Berne; and by five nephews and five nieces. He was predeceased by his parents, Dr. Donald Anthony Richter and Doris Joyce Richter; sister Linda Lewis; nephew Sean Gardiner; and niece Rachel Domas. A memorial to celebrate Peter’s life was held on Nov. 3 in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Alaska Aviation Museum.
There will be a memorial reception in Saranac Lake on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 3 to 5 p.m. at St. Luke’s Parish Hall, Main Street, Saranac Lake. All are welcome.