Peter L. Runton ’53 died on August 22, 2023, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
(The following was provided by the Milton Times on September 1, 2023)
Peter Leslie Runton died on August 22, 2023. He was 92.
He was born on May 13, 1931, in Andover to Leslie Allen Runton, of Yorkshire, England, and Elfrieda Hatta Krause Runton of Neugersdorf, Germany. They had recently emigrated from Australia.
Growing up in Andover and Dracut, Peter experienced an “old-timey” rural existence. At the age of nine, he began to explore all the woods in the surrounding area, the start of a lifelong love of the outdoors including hiking, hunting, and fishing.
Peter also had a mechanical mind – the beginnings of the engineer – loving to take things apart and put them back together.
In an autobiography, he wrote: “As a young boy growing up, I think the learning process was punctuated by misbehavior, not good behavior. There were certainly sparse periods of good conduct on my behalf, but only because I was resting up to try some other calculated or not so well thought out escapade.”
In ninth grade, Peter started at Milton Academy, where he met Susie Jaques in the spring of 1946. They graduated in 1949.
Peter and Susie were married on June 14, 1952, in Milton, the summer before Peter’s senior year at Bowdoin College. He was in the ATO fraternity and had great friends who were all best men at his wedding.
During this time a draft for the Korean War was instituted and Peter joined the Navy Reserves so he could complete his degree. After graduation with a degree in physics, he went to Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. He worked at the Degaussing Station in Newport for the duration of his service.
After the Navy, Peter worked for Couch Ordnance as an engineer and designed relays for rockets and military aircraft. As the family now included three girls named Debbi, Nancy, and Pam, all born during their time in Newport, they moved to Milton where Susie’s parents, Ben and Ruth Jaques, still lived.
In 1966 Peter started Winchester Industries, manufacturing shockproof electrical equipment for the Navy. He sold the company in 1988.
Peter then became a commercial real estate appraiser, focusing on industrial real estate. In 1990, he started Runton Engineering manufacturing small quantity products, mostly analog solenoids. He sold this company in 2008 and finally retired at the age of 77.
Peter spent most weekends tramping through the Blue Hills and eventually knew the lay of the land without a map. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking, sailing, skeet shooting, and especially traveling. He volunteered at St Michael’s Church in Milton and enjoyed a busy social life that Susie orchestrated.
Peter was preceded in death by his parents; wife Suzanne Jaques Runton: sister Winnifred Runton Lyons; granddaughter Phoebe Runton Pile; and Linda Squires, his partner after Susie.
He is survived by his brother, Bourke Allen Runton of Tucson, AZ; daughters Debbi Runton MacLeod and son-in-law Robert Parson of Boulder, CO, Nancy Gail Runton of Alexandria, VA; and Pam Runton Howells and son-in-law Gus Howells of Hummelstown, PA; seven grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.