Official Obituary of

Peter H. Rich

April 4, 2020

Peter Rich Obituary

Peter H. Rich PhD, of Colchester, died April 4, 2020 after an extended illness complicated by Covid-19. He was 80. 

Professor Emeritus at the University of Connecticut, Peter was born and raised in Wellfleet MA on Cape Cod, son of the late Earle G. and Florence R. Rich. He was the beloved husband of Mary C. Lavery for over 20 years. He is survived by his son Jonathan Rich and wife Sandy, grandsons Christopher and Steven, and one great grandson, all of Brookfield, MA., and a step-daughter Bethany Zahner of Norwich, CT. His feline companion, Zoe also survives him. His childhood on Cape Cod ultimately influenced his choice to pursue scientific research as a career, especially the study of freshwater lakes. He received his PhD at Michigan State University and embarked on a 35 year career of research and teaching of Limnology at UCONN. He was committed to his students and also the citizens of Connecticut, often advising individuals and towns about issues with their lakes. He served on the board of the CT. Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.  Peter loved nature. He was an avid fly fisherman, bird enthusiast, cyclist, hiker; he also loved wild flowers, animals, and steam trains. He had a wonderful sense of humor, amazing smile, and endearing manner despite a long illness. Special thanks go out to everyone who cared for Peter over the past years. He always appreciated your kindness, as I did. We couldn’t have traveled this journey alone. Because of the current public health crisis, there will be no service at this time. A celebration of Peter’s life will be held at a later date. Please bring your stories and anecdotes to share! In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Peter’s name to The Nature Conservancy, 55 Church Street, Floor 3, New Haven, CT 06510-3029. The Aurora McCarthy Funeral Home of Colchester has been entrusted with arrangements. To share memories and for updates about the service please visit

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The Nature Conservancy
55 Church Street, Floor 3, New Haven CT 06510-3029


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