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Peter B. Keyes

Published: 4/20/2020 8:03:40 AM
Modified: 4/20/2020 8:03:38 AM

HANOVER, NH — Peter Keyes, 81, died peacefully on April 3, 2020. Son of Louise McNeil and Francis Keyes, Peter grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut. He attended Groton School, graduated from Harvard University and received an M.A. in History from Wesleyan University. Teaching was his vocation and he started at Fenn School in Concord, MA. In the late 60’s he left to work for Common Cause as the People’s Lobbyist for Massachusetts. After several years, and eschewing attempts to convince him to run for political office, he returned to teaching. He was asked to initiate a Political Seminar course at Milton Academy where he also organized conferences in which local and national politicians, justice advocates and authors discussed current and past issues affecting the United States and the world. One of his major legacies was inspiring his students and others to think about and debate those topics. In addition, he acted as dorm parent, coached various sports and was head of the girls’ squash program for 20 years. He retired after 29 years.

Following retirement, he expanded his ephemera and second-hand book business, eventually opening a shop on the property of a family home in Newbury, Vermont. He also made time for his diverse interests, including travel, photography, gardening, cooking and attending lectures at Dartmouth College. Wishing to keep alive the memory of his grandmother, the author Frances Parkinson Keyes, he served on the Board of the Beauregard-Keyes House in New Orleans. He was also on the Board of Tenney Memorial Library.

Peter was a quiet, genuine, reflective man with passionate views. He was passionate about justice and equal opportunities for all, about the environment, about honesty in politics. He dedicated himself to every job he undertook. He will be missed by his five younger siblings: John Keyes, Portland, OR; David Keyes, Portland, ME; Virginia Keyes, London, England; Frances Keyes, Phoenix, AZ; Louise Moon, Hanover, NH; and his many nieces and nephews, and cousins.

A private gathering will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made in his name to Oxfam: or NRDC:

To view an online memorial and or leave a message of condolence, please visit,

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