Thursday, August 17, 2000

Obituary: David Peet excelled at creative endeavors

St. Xavier grad worked to develop art abilities

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A lot of things came naturally to David Harrison Peet. The ability to draw people out and make them laugh. The ability to pick up his guitar and play along with anything he heard. The creative ability to channel his innate sensitivity for others into beautiful pieces of art.

        At his sister's wedding two weeks ago, the University of Cincinnati industrial design student persuaded his 6-year-old nephew to take his fingers out of his ears and hands away from his face. He then picked up his nephew, placed him on his shoulders, and carried him out to the dance floor. The two danced all night.

        Mr. Peet's body was found Monday in Winton Place. He had been shot.

        The 19-year-old Springfield Township resident would have been a sophomore in the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning at the University of Cincinnati.

        “He had a love of life and a happiness that really came through in his art,” said his aunt, Maureen Schomaker of Springfield Township. “He said he wanted to design art that made people happy. And that's really the way he was, always thinking of others, trying to make them feel better.”

        Mary Beth Ottke, his aunt and next-door neighbor, recalls a thoughtful child always drawing or making cards for people.

        At St. Xavier High School, Mr. Peet's many artistic abilities began to flourish.

        During his freshman year, he took guitar lessons and showed talent. According to his family, his teacher said he had perfect pitch.

        When the guitar lessons ended, Mr. Peet continued to learn on his own. He played along with the recordings of greats like Eric Clapton, and was even in a garage band.

        But Mr. Peet chose to forge a career in the other creative field where he showed potential — visual art.

        “He was always bringing his artwork over for us to look at,” said Emily Ottke of Springfield Township.

        The cousins lived next door to each other and were born three months apart.

        “It's more like I lost my best friend or brother,” said Miss Ottke.

        She said her cousin's car, a 1989 blue Honda Civic CRX, with its hand-painted door handles and yellow stripes along its body, was an example of his creativity.

        “He was always looking for ways to make things fun and beautiful.”

        Mr. Peet spent his first year at UC in the urban planning program but switched his major to industrial design for his sophomore year.

        “He could paint or draw anything, but he especially enjoyed working on three-dimensional art,” said Ms. Schomaker.

        “He liked working to bring forms to life. His energy was emulated in his sculptures.”

        A lover of good comedy and a regular at Go Bananas Comedy Club, Mr. Peet began working there in February.

        This came in handy when trying to cheer up friends.

        “He would memorize the comedian's jokes, and come back and retell them,” said Emily Ottke.

        The two were planning an outing to the comedy club with friends this Friday.

        “David's (maternal)grandmother died earlier this year, and he was pretty devastated,” said his cousin, Caroline Moore of Evergreen, Colo.

        Ms. Moore said Mr. Peet mourned for a few days and then decided “to live life to the fullest the way his grandmother would want it.”

        Ms. Moore said that's why no one has canceled plans to go to Go Bananas on Friday.

        “We could dwell on what happened, the loss,” Ms. Moore said. “But we'd rather celebrate his courage, his optimism, and his life. That's the way he would have wanted it.”

        Other survivors are his mother, Joyce Peet, and father, Larry Peet, both of Springfield Township; a brother, Stephen Peet of Springfield Township; two sisters, Anne Marie Peet of Springfield Township and Christa Peet Meyer of Harrison.

        Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. todayat St. Xavier High School, 600 North Bend Road, Finneytown.

        A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Xavier.

        Burial will follow in St. Mary Cemetery in St. Bernard.

        Memorials can be made to the David Harrison Peet Art Scholarship Fund, St. Xavier High School, 600 North Bend Road, Cincinnati 45224.


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