Peter Gould Pocock

1924 - 2011, Santa Barbara

October 10, 1924 – September 22, 2011

Peter was born in Ontario, Canada, and, when he was six years old, his family moved to Detroit Michigan, where Peter grew up. He attended Northwestern High School in Detroit and then began studies at Wayne State University.

At the start of World War II, Peter entered the U. S. Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). He underwent basic training in Fargo, North Dakota, but was taken out of his unit and assigned to the recently created Office of Strategic Services (OSS) where he trained in cryptography in Washington DC and then was assigned to China. From 1943–1945, the OSS played a major role in training Kuomintang troops in China and Burma. Peter served with he OSS in China until the end of the war.

On leaving the service, Peter resumed studies at Wayne State. There he met Ruth Vivian Way. They married on December 20, 1947.

Peter transferred to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and earned the BA in Literature and the MA in Library Science. He also worked in a bookstore and built and sold a house in Ann Arbor.

Next, Peter and Ruth moved to Seattle WA. There, he served as a reference librarian at the University of Washington for four years. Following this period, they moved to Riverside CA where he helped to set up a reference library at the newly created university. He served there as a reference librarian but then moved on to the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL) in Corona and China Lake, CA. This was a move into technology and led to a reference librarian position at Motorola Corporation.

In 1958, he became the Technical Reference Librarian at General Electric’s Technical Military Planning Operation (TEMPO), a specialized “think tank” established by GE in Santa Barbara in 1957. In that capacity, Peter was involved in many of the studies undertaken by TEMPO and helped to establish TEMPO’s Washington DC office.

Upon retirement from TEMPO, Peter volunteered in a number of ways: he participated in Botanic Garden plant propagation programs, provided income tax assistance for seniors, installed “lifeline” (medical alert) units in seniors’ apartments, and, for many years, worked with the Santa Barbara Food Bank.

Over time, Peter also became an accomplished potter. He built a kiln in his back yard on Canon Drive and, for many years, his unique and utilitarian wares were for sale most Sundays the East Beach Art show.

Peter and Ruth also participated in many Elderhostel trips, including innumerable turns at their beloved Oregon Shakespeare Festivals in Ashland. Ruth continues to reside at the Valle Verde Retirement Community.

A memorial service for Peter will be held at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1525 Santa Barbara Street, on Saturday, October 29, at 2 PM.

Donations in remembrance of Peter may be made to

Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc.

2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100

Santa Barbara, CA 93103
805) 563-8820

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