Olmstedville - Peter Hornbeck, Jan. 20, 1943- Dec. 26, 2020, died with his boots on, following a walk with his family in the woods behind his house. He was 77. The apparent cause was sudden cardiac arrest.
Born in Utica, NY and raised in Hamburg, NY Peter was the oldest of Edmund and Ruth (Davison) Hornbeck’s two children. Peter attended Hamburg schools and the University at Buffalo. He served in the Army during the Vietnam era. He married Ann in 1969, and they moved to the Adirondacks to work as teachers. Ann was an equal partner in Pete’s dreams. In 51 years of marriage, he never got over his luck of having won her hand.
Pete started building boats in the early 1970s under a tree in his backyard. Pete’s ultra-lightweight, durable canoes have given thousands of people access to still waters and meandering brooks.
Pete taught third and sixth grade during a 23-year career at Johnsburg Central School. He was creative, wrote his own spelling tests instead of taking one from a book. He bought Nordic ski equipment, so each of his students could learn to ski at recess.
Pete was a talented watercolorist and frequently drew portraits as gifts. Hundreds of parents treasure the portraits Pete drew of their children.
Pete supported many environmental organizations. He believed the Adirondacks’ wilderness was the secret to the economic success of its residents. Pete loaned molds and donated materials to Wells Central School teacher, Brian Richards, whose students built their own Hornbeck boat.
In 2018, Pete hired his son-in-law Josh Trombley to run Hornbeck Boats. He was deeply proud of his daughter, Leigh and his grandsons: Rushton and Devlin.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Protect the Adirondacks, which he helped found: P.O Box 48, North Creek, NY 12853.