Posted on: May 13, 2019
Dr. Edgar E. Peltz, nearly 91 years old, a lifelong Peninsula resident, died May 2, 2019, after a relatively short decline.
Born May 27, 1928, at Elizabeth Buxton Hospital in what later became part of Newport News, he was the younger of two sons to Anna and Nathan Peltz, co-founder of Peltz Bros. Ship Chandlers. The newborn had bright red hair, unlike that of his parents and brother. His mother was asked jokingly several times on the street, “Where did you steal that baby?” Dad could be at once combative and gracious. He wasted no time demonstrating this when he refused to study for his bar-mitzvah under his parents’ nominal orthodox rabbi, whom he did not like. His mother was determined that he complete this rite, so, by compromise, Dad agreed to prepare his bar-mitzvah under another rabbi, the leader of the original Rodef Sholem Temple, then in East End Newport News.
Dad attended the old John W. Daniel School and then Newport News High School, graduating in 1945. At the University of Virginia, his success as a long-distance runner prompted a stern reminder from his father not to neglect his pre-med studies. Dad heeded the warning and graduated in 1948; four years later, he earned his M.D. After performing his internship at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, he joined the Army, which sent him to Fort Bliss, Texas, and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He then completed his residency requirements at George Washington University Hospital (D.C.).
It was at that juncture that he permitted himself to turn his thoughts to matrimony, and, in particular, to the young New York woman seven years his junior, whom he first met at a party in Virginia years earlier when she was but sixteen. After a short courtship, Dad married Marilyn Lichtenstein of Jamaica, NY, at none other than the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan on June 29, 1958.
The marriage produced four children, and Dad’s medical practice of internal medicine produced much goodwill among many patients for over three decades. Opening his first office on West Avenue just blocks from his father’s Newport News business office, Dad in time served simultaneously on the staffs of Riverside Hospital, Mary Immaculate Hospital and the former Dixie Hospital in Hampton. During the 1960s, he also served as medical examiner for the City of Hampton. His medical training once came to the rescue of an unlikely patient: our family dog somehow got a meat bone stuck at the back of her jaw; Dad removed the bone with a pair of pliers, only to be repaid by a sudden bite by the frightened dog.
Dad adored and honored his parents, as they did him. Taking after his father, he was generally slow to anger, and never coarse in speech. Taking after his mother, he cherished the quiet life of reflection far above social achievement. He made the best of things after 42 years of marriage ended in a divorce he did not seek, and his late second wife, the former Irma Kate Zernes Perzekow, brought him consolation and companionship for over 15 years.
Edgar E. Peltz is mourned by his three sons, Richard of Hampton, Joseph of Delray Beach, Fla., and Michael of Atlanta, as well as his only daughter, Wendy R. Blount, her husband Bill and their son Nathan of Canton, Ga. Our mother, Marylyn Peltz survives him in Florida. Dad is also survived by his step-sons Ross and Jon Zernes, as well as his late wife’s step-daughter, Kelly Murphy and her husband Don, all of the Peninsula.
In his young days, Dad loved to travel to some of the places he contemplated on his many folded maps. He was a true conservative, never an angry reactionary. He loved the Wall Street Journal, old well-made studio-era movies, American history, long daily power walks, TV football and golf, flounder, duck, chocolate cake, Mary Jane candy and lately, Dunkin’ coffee. Although never a religious man, he avowed his Jewish heritage, history and a sympathy for modern Israel. Dad disliked overt confrontation, but he loved to argue on a high verbal plane (they say it once drove his old-fashioned grandfather out of the room on him). He was proud of his independent-minded children and his grandson, but not possibly as proud as we were of him. His influence on our lives will reverberate for years to come. The burial will be private, as per Dad’s wishes. Expressions of sympathy are encouraged toward your favorite charities.