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Andrew Peter Batson



Saturday, May 17, 2014
Norwich, Vt. — Andrew Peter Batson of Norwich died on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on Dec. 24, 1927, to Oscar V. Batson, MD and Eleanor H. (Neumann) Batson. The following summer, his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Peter attended Friends’ Select School and the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with Honors in Zoology.

In college, his long-term friendship with Anna Luise Ehrich blossomed into romance. They married on June 14, 1949. That fall, Peter began medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Peter was dyslexic, so Anna read his medical texts aloud to him. Peter received his MD in June 1953 and received his medical license in September 1954.

After his internship at Philadelphia General Hospital, Peter joined the US Air Force as a First Lieutenant. He served for 23 years, as Flight Surgeon, Ophthalmologist, Chief of Hospital Services, and Hospital Commander, becoming a Colonel in 1970. Almost half his Air Force career was on the Pacific rim in Alaska, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan. Anna and his sons, Eric and Jim, accompanied him at every post, except Vietnam.

As a Flight Surgeon Peter particularly loved “stick time” in the rear seat of a T-33 and “wheel time” in Gooney Birds (C-47s). The C-130 was his favorite for patient evacuation. Peter was fascinated by the challenges of aircraft and motor vehicle accident investigations. As a base surgeon he was always concerned with food service, water supply and sewage disposal, on and off base.

In the Air Force, Peter cared deeply about all he met - officer and enlisted, military and civilian. He often went the extra distance to help a student or enlisted medical personnel.

While stationed overseas, Peter enjoyed getting off-base. In Japan, he and Anna learned Japanese and travelled the country. In Taiwan his good relationships earned him Honorary Flight Surgeon with the Republic of China Air Force and Honorary Staff Member of their hospital in Taipei.

Peter was certified by The American Board of Ophthalmology in 1973. When he retired from the Air Force in August 1976, Peter and Anna moved to Norwich and opened an ophthalmology office in Lebanon. Over the next 22 years, Peter cared for thousands of people in the Upper Valley. He was supported in his practice by a caring and talented staff that included Anna as office manager.

Peter enjoyed the practice and teaching of medicine, especially ophthalmology. He taught technicians, nurses, physician assistants, interns and residents. Helping patients was his passion.

In Norwich, Peter joined the American Legion Post 8, often serving on the executive board, including time as Post Commander. He was still serving as Vice Commander when he died. He was passionate about installing flags along Main Street and at the veterans’ graves on Memorial Day.

In retirement, Peter enjoyed traveling the United States by car and watching the wildlife at his home, the Aerie.

Peter was predeceased by his brother James, his parents and granddaughter Jackie Jones.

He is survived by family he cherished, especially the love of his life and wife of almost 65 years, Anna. Other family members include their sons, Eric and James; his daughters-in-law, Lois and Elizabeth; his brother-in-law, William Ehrich; his six grandchildren, Joshua, Janeth, Micaela, Shoshana, Rhiannon and Ethan; a great-granddaughter, Mckenna Farnsworth; the husbands of his granddaughters; two foster children, Andy Grout and Anh-Dao Tran; plus cousins, nieces, nephews. Each of these people, and many others, are thankful for Peter’s love and influence in their lives.

Friends are invited to join the family to honor Peter’s life at the American Legion Hall in Norwich at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 19, 2014.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (www.vvmf.org).