About 150 people, including family, friends and colleagues of Peter DeCoursey, gathered at the historic Christ Church and St. Michael’s in Germantown Saturday (Jan. 11) to remember Pete’s too brief life.
The Bishop Provisional of Pennsylvania, the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel 3rd , presided over a memorial service filled with hymns and prayer and recollections of a life well lived.
Pete’s sister, Ruth, delivered beautiful images of Pete’s vision of peace highlighted by play time spent with his children, Ellie and Ben. His father, Robert DeCoursey, relayed a story about a time when gubernatorial candidate Tom Ridge and Pete engaged in a lively, airborne discussion of Shakespearean sonnets while out on the campaign trail. Pete’s best friend, Mark Bernstein, recalled how Pete stunned the first grade class at Penn Charter by showing up on St. Patrick’s Day dressed in orange, when everyone else, of course, was wearing green.
Bernstein said Pete, at age six, had determined that as a descendant of Irish Protestants he should wear the color of “Ulster Protestants” rather than the color of Irish Catholics.
Among the dignitaries who attended the service were former Gov. Ed Rendell, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, former House Speakers Dennis O’Brien and Bob O’Donnell, U.S. Rep. Bob Borski, former state House Rep. Kathy Manderino, Senate Republican communications director Erik Arneson, Sen. Dominic Pileggi’s chief counsel, Kathy Eakin, House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton and his wife, Democratic strategist Mary Isenhour and Gov. Corbett’s communications director Lynn Lawson.
PLCA members – and past members – who attended included, Amy Worden, Angela Couloumbis, Kevin Zwick, Chris Comisac, Melissa Daniels, Steve Esack, Kate Giammarise, Karen Langley, Brad Bumsted, Diana Robinson, Corinna Wilson, Scott Detrow, Laura Olson, Tracie Mauriello, Tom Fitzgerald, Tony Romeo, John Micek, Mary Wilson and Chris Brennan. WHYY senior reporter and host Dave Davies, whose obituary of Pete (http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/off-mic/item/63529-pete-decoursey-one-of-a-kind) was included in the service program, also attended.