Peter Joel Vann
West Point, 1956
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Ken Lang on June 7, 2010:
Peter J. Vann
KERRVILLE - Peter Joel Vann died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, May 30, 2010, in Kerrville, Texas, after battling lung cancer.
Peter and his wife, Mary, enjoyed a long marriage of almost 54 years. Together they raised three sons and a daughter and have 12 grandchildren. His children grew up catching his rocket-armed football passes in their Indianapolis backyard. Peter loved yard work, gardening and tinkering at his workbench in the garage. He was an avid golfer who often met his West Point classmates (who called themselves "Crispians") around the country for golf outings. Peter enjoyed fishing, hunting and four-wheeling in Wyoming and Canada. He was an active member of his church, where he participated in the choir and gospel singers. Whenever he was needed by family or friends, Peter put into practice the Army motto "Duty, Honor and Country."
Peter was a proud member of the 1956 class of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He maintained long and rich relationships with many of his classmates. While at West Point, Peter played football under the coaching of Earl "The Colonel" Blake and Vince Lombardi. In 2007, Alfred Hoffman Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Spain, wrote: "Army was just coming back as a football team after being devastated by the dismissal of so many players because of academic honor violations. Into that atmosphere stepped Peter Vann into the position of quarterback. Not only did Peter rise to the challenge and perform athletic miracles under coach Earl Blake, his leadership actively transformed the team and gave it the confidence and capability that the sum total of its individual athletic skills could not have achieved." Peter held numerous Army football records, including most completions in a single season (174), most attempts in a single season (372), most TDs in a single season (24) and highest percentage completions in a single season (55.7). In addition, he set an NCAA record for most yards per completion (23.2), which held for many years. In December 1955, quarterback Peter Vann was on the cover of Sport magazine with the byline "As Vann Goes, So Goes The Army." In September of 2010, Peter will be inducted into the Hamburg, New York, high school Wall of Fame and the U.S. Military Academy, West Point Athletic Hall of Fame.
Peter was preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin and Ulisse; a brother, Richard; and sister, Nancy.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; his son, Tom (wife, Heidi and children, Whitney and Wesley); his daughter, Cathy (husband, Rick Liesenfeld and children, Zachary, Benjamin, Ethan, Caleb, Seth, Anna and Isaac); his son, Greg (children, Kate, Cody and Rachel) and his son, Chris (life partner Greg Leal).
A public memorial service will be held at the Kerrville First United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. on June 12. A reception will follow immediately at the church Fellowship Hall. At a later date, ashes will be interred at a private military service at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Kerrville First United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice.
The family invites you to send condolences at www.grimesfuneralchapels.com by selecting the "Send Condolences" link.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.
Published June 2, 2010