Frank  Pardee III
Frank Pardee III

July 16, 1924 - February 5, 2018
Born in Hazelton, PA
Resided in Bristol, RI


Frank Pardee III died on February 5, 2017 at the age of 93.

Frank, called Peter by friends and family, was known for his ascerbic wit, wonderful/excruciating puns, and well-crafted doggerel for special occasions. He claimed to have come by these traits naturally, having been born in “Pun-sylvania.” Peter was an avid sailor, skier, ice skater, and tennis player. He was also a lifelong Bristolian, having spent summers there as a child and young adult, and having moved there permanently in 1964, ultimately moving into his parents’ home on the water near the Mount Hope Bridge, a bridge he helped to paint as a teenager - no safety harnesses, just hanging on with one hand and painting with the other. Another early job was as the first launch operator for the Bristol Yacht Club, with the launch at that time consisting of a rowboat.

Peter was born July 16, 1924 in Hazelton, PA to Frank Pardee, Jr. and Alice DeWolf Pardee. He was graduated from St. Paul’s School 1943. Shortly thereafter he enlisted in the army. He served seven months of combat duty in the infantry in the northern Appenines campaign in Italy in World War II. He wanted to volunteer for the 10th Mountain Division which had only a 10% survival rate because, he said, he “liked to ski.” He was not able to join, however, because he was felled by a case of hepatitis. After this, Peter managed to squeeze in singing with “50 Men and a Gal,” swimming with the Army swim team, teaching officers to sail, and after the atomic bomb had been dropped, teaching army personnel on his ship back to the U.S. the principles of the atomic bomb, much of which he had learned from science fiction magazines. All of these activities had the added benefit of saving him from K.P., mustering exercises and other army tedium.

After the war, Peter attended Princeton University where he was graduated in 1950 (in the War Class of 1947.) In 1949 he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, and in 1950 he sailed in the Newport-Bermuda Race.

On January 19, 1952 Peter married Gertrude Buffum Gray, with whom he recently celebrated 66 years of marriage. Peter and Gertie shared their love of Bristol and the outdoors with their four children. There were numerous family outings for hiking, skiing, sailing and ice skating. Ice skating expeditions included racing across the ice using hand-held skate-sails. The biggest sail had a frame built by his father and a sail sewn by his mother.

Peter had a 34-year career in quality control and technical writing, working at Federal Products, Ingersoll-Rand, Raytheon, and the U.S. Navy. He retired in 1986.

In retirement, Peter pursued a number of his lifelong interests. Together with his wife Gertie and Halsey Herreshoff, he redesigned a Herreshoff 28’ ketch into a sloop with a wishbone boom and a cabin suited for cruising. Peter and Gertie named the sloop Oriana (personification of womanly beauty and virtue in an old Spanish saga) and enjoyed many years of sailing in Narragansett Bay and along the Northeast coast.

Peter was a major supporter of the Bristol Art Museum and Linden Place where one could often find him working hard under the leadership of his wife. He also loved Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum where he and his relatives enjoyed many gatherings over the years. Peter, as a lifelong book lover, was a frequent visitor to the Bristol Public Library. He was an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a founding member (and its permanent secretary) of the South Bristol Yachting Association (SBYA), a small group of longtime Bristol friends.

Peter is survived by his wife Gertrude, his children Lee, Sandy, Sara and Alison Pardee, daughter-in-law Catherine Normand, son-in-law Peter Alfieri, and grandchildren James and Peter Gnocchi and Leah and Margo Darbe.

In lieu of flowers, donations to either the Bristol Public Library or Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum would be greatly appreciated.