J.R. Peters’ Founder Dies At 97

Bob_Peters2J.R. Peters announced that its founder, Robert (Bob) Peters has died. Here is how his family and coworkers honored him:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Robert (Bob) Peters, 97 years old, founder of the Robert B Peters Company. Our mentor, father and grandfather passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on July 18 in Allentown, Pa. He was a true floriculture chemist who designed and formulated the earliest Peters Fertilizer Products that still carry his name today.

Born October 12, 1917 in Hanover, Pennsylvania, he was the oldest of 6 brothers. He made his home in Allentown where he started his first business, Peters Horticultural Services, in his mother’s garage in 1947. Bob was happily married for over 50 years and has 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.

His passion for plant nutrition began in 1947 after he completed his service in the U.S. Armed Special Services during WWII. He received a degree in floriculture from SUNY Farmingdale and completed much of his research at Cornell University in the ’50s and ’60s with Dr. Ray Sheldrake.

He began his journey of crafting fertilizer by traveling the east coast visiting greenhouses and taking samples back to his home laboratory for analysis. He loved helping growers solve the problems they faced when growing plants; he is affectionately remembered driving his army jeep from hot house to hot house.

Peters’ vigorous sense of wonder about fertilizer had a wide range from the earliest days of growing roses hydroponically to later in life as an avid orchid collector.

He formulated many of the most popular water soluble blends that are still popular with growers today, including Peat-Lite Special and his patented Excel technologies. Bob joined his family at J.R. Peters Inc. making the Jack’s Fertilizer products for the last 25 years.

“My Dad was such an integral part of plant nutrition, he realized there was a need for high quality, water soluble fertilizer in the early 1950s. He spent his life designing products that address the nutritional problems that are seen most often during lab testing. It was so meaningful to have him by my side for all these years, he will be missed by us all,” said Jack Peters CEO of J.R. Peters Inc. “His legacy in the industry will be carried on through the growers that use his “True Blue” Solution to grow beautiful plants all over the world.”

Bob’s granddaughter, Dr. Cari Peters, follows in his path as the third generation Peters Family in Allentown. “I always hoped that I would get some time to work with my grandfather in our company’s lab. He truly was an inventor that possessed a passion and love for horticulture and the chemistry that makes the plant grow. I will always treasure the time we shared together getting our hands blue. I cherish these memories and look forward to continuing the high quality standard started by my grandfather many years ago.

A memorial service was held Friday, July 24 for family and friends. Condolences can be sent to the family through the JR Peters Facebook page.

To continue Bob’s passion for our local horticulture industry, memorial contributions may be made to the Penn State Extension Floriculture Program Endowment within the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, Office of Development, 240 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802.

To send your memorial contribution online to the Penn State Extension Floriculture Program Endowment, please follow this link.

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