The Passing Of Willys Peck, Beloved Husband Of Betty
--Anne Veh
3 minute read
Apr 24, 2013


Our beloved Betty Peck and her daughter Anna shared the passing of Willys Peck, “the most perfect husband” and devoted father, on Tuesday, April 16. Willys passed gently and peacefully at home.

Many of us had the blessing to gather together for Salon in Betty and Willys’ magical garden amongst dear friends last May. Sitting next to Willys, I was touched by his gentle and deeply loving nature. Willys is always composing the most exquisite poems, for every birthday and special occasion, and always in celebration of his friends! He shared a poem he had written for Betty that beautiful Spring afternoon under the oak trees:

Toast to a Liberated Woman

To that womanhood without which
there is no manhood;
To that independence without which
there is no belonging;
To that love without which
there is no mystery;
May that mystery never be solved.

And to those of us who were able to share Betty’s presence at Wednesdays, where we sat “as attentive children” listening to her loving wisdom and rich storytelling will recall Betty’s fantastic story of replying to Willys’ telegram of “Have House will you Marry me?” with a resounding yes! Their marriage of more than 60 years is a testament to a deep, deep love that has been nurtured and tended to with tender care. It is a love that transcends the physical and can be experienced in their presence, their home and garden.

Below is a beautiful reflection written by their beloved friend Jackie.

Willys' passing is like the end of an era. He was born into a romantic setting of acres of orchards. A small town-friendly village main street hearing the rhythmic sound of his father's linotype and the musical whistle of steam locomotives. He learned Shakespeare in the local amphitheater and great literature from his mother who gave book reviews. The quality of life in this friendly village was rich, the economy of those Depression years was weak. But he grew in character by working at small jobs, ringing the bells of the Saratoga Federated Church early on Sunday mornings and delivering groceries from the village market to homes and orchards. This was the world that he knew and he could carry on in his home on Saratoga Avenue an oasis in the oak woods and Saratoga creek with his own amphitheater and steam train and a library full of books. His life was also in the office of the San Jose Mercury News. first in the old building in downtown San Jose, and then in the "new" building by the side of the highway. It is significant that this building, too, is going away and the office moved to another city. It is as if the Mercury News office died with him. "The clock stopped when the old man died." So we must rejoice that in his life span, his daily life could be carried on the same. Now we face a new life style, but Willys doesn't have to face it. He lived in the best of times.

May we all rejoice in the Celebration of Life and give gratitude for the gifts that Betty and Willys have bestowed to us all in living a Life of Gratitude! May our hearts overflow with love to hold Betty, Anna and their families at this tender time.

A memorial service is being held at the Saratoga Federated Church in Saratoga on Thursday, April 25 at 1:30pm. It was Willys wish that any donations would be directed to the Saratoga Historical Society, of which he was a devoted member and is loving referred to as the “Father of Saratoga.”

If you would like to write to Betty and Anna, you can send notes to or mail a letter to: 14275 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga, CA 95070.


Posted by Anne Veh on Apr 24, 2013

3 Past Reflections