Peter Lawlor: November 26, 1921 – August 2, 2021

Skier, outdoorsman, world traveler, writer, poet, fly fisherman, sailor, house painter, musician, father, brother, uncle, and grandfather Peter Lawlor “shipped out” on August 2nd, 2021.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand to Pat and Amy Lawlor, Peter moved to the United States in the 1940s to work as a ski instructor at Sun Valley, ID and Squaw Valley, CA. He, his wife Val, and their three children, Gretchen, Deborah, and Ian settled in Mill Valley, California in the 50s.

During his time in Marin County, Peter worked as a freelance writer for the Pacific Sun and also co-owned a Sausalito outdoor sports store called Battens and Boards.

Peter, Val, and their family lived in England, New Zealand, and Santa Fe, NM. He wrote a weekly article in the Santa Fe Reporter in the 1980s and 90s, and taught many skiers in Santa Fe and Taos to ski straight down the fall line.

After Val’s death in 2000, Peter moved to Whidbey Island, Washington, where his daughter Gretchen had been living with her family. He became a bit of a local celebrity on Whidbey, known for playing accordion/melodeon and harmonica on Saturday mornings at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, breaking out into song (usually sea shanties), racing annually as part of Langley’s Soup Box Derby (his last race at age 97!), and serving as unofficial poet laureate of Langley.

While living in Washington he also met the second love of his life, Roberta Brown. The two were together for nearly 20 years. Peter was known for his “distinguished” Kiwi accent, his penchant for dressing all in white (typically with an ascot) and his love of being in the spotlight.

Over his lifetime he wrote five books of poetry and was working on poems for his sixth book when he died.

Peter is survived by longtime girlfriend Roberta Brown, children Gretchen and Ian (Mary), grandchildren Jessica, Aubrey, Caitlin, and Morgana, great grandchild Luca, and extended family members in California. He also has many relatives in New Zealand including his sister Margaret Lawlor Bartlett and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family extends their gratitude to all those on Whidbey Island who helped make Peter’s early 100th birthday a success on July 25th. Peter’s family is still in the process of planning a memorial service, likely to be held in Marin County, California later in the fall.

For those wishing to pay their respects, Peter was buried in the green burial section of the Langley Woodman Cemetery.

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