In Remembrance: Peter Carson Blake ’58 Died on December 7 2016

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Peter Carson Blake, a newspaperman who for nearly 40 years covered the state of Colorado for the Rocky Mountain News, died peacefully on December 7 at the Denver Hospice. He was 80 years old and succumbed to glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor, after a short illness.

Peter was born on July 5, 1936, in Hellerup, Denmark, to the Rev. Howard Carson Blake of St. Louis and Margaret Stewardson Blake of Philadelphia. In 1940 the family returned to the United States. Peter graduated from the South Kent School in Connecticut in 1954 and from Yale University in 1958, where he wrote for the Yale Daily News. He enlisted in the army, and was sent to the Monterey Language Institute to study Russian. He was then deployed to Hokkaido, Japan.

Upon demobilization in 1960 Peter chose to live in Colorado, as he had fallen in love with the West while still in high school. His grandmother had sent him to Wyoming to spend the summer working at a dude ranch in the Sunlight Basin, where the ethos of western life caught Peter’s imagination and shaped his future. Later in life Peter loved backpacking and skiing with his family, extensively exploring the American West and other untamed regions. 

While attending the University of Colorado Law School in 1962, Peter became a student of Austrian classical liberal economics and wrote a column for the New Conservative, a campus weekly libertarian venture where he met his bride to be, art director Sandy Caswell.  In 1964, Peter wrote briefly for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph. His passion for journalism took the couple to New York City where Peter and Sandy were married in 1965 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Peter wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

In 1968 the Blakes seized the opportunity to move back to Denver as Peter was hired at the Rocky Mountain News to be an investigative journalist specializing in Colorado politics. Peter was city editor at the Rocky Mountain News, a columnist and editorial writer until 2007. The recipient of numerous awards in journalism, he was inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame in 2006.  Peter continued to write political commentary until 2016 for Complete Colorado, a news site associated with the Independence Institute. Peter's reporting was noted for getting beyond the obvious. His penchant for fairness and accuracy earned the respect of his sources across the political spectrum. 

“I can’t think of anyone I admired more for sheer dedication to reporting a story thoroughly before going to print,” said former Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor Vincent Carroll. “As a columnist and editorial writer, he would never just pontificate off the top of his head. He gathered facts rather than assume what they were. He was always on the phone interviewing someone—often with a great deal of gusto—or transcribing interviews he’d recorded, or over at the Capitol attending hearings or buttonholing sources. He was the consummate professional.” 

“He was also fearless,” Carroll added. “He simply didn’t worry about who might be irritated or angered by his conclusions, even if it meant they wouldn’t talk to him again or would try to retaliate. He thought journalism was too important to cushion or shade the truth.”    

Besides journalism, Peter was passionate about baseball, tracking the game and playing as catcher in several Denver-area senior baseball leagues, most recently for the “Fossils.”  He competed out-of-state in numerous Over-70 World Series tournaments with the Men's Senior Baseball League.  He was a lifelong fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, rejoicing in their success.

Peter is survived by his wife, the Rev. Sandy Blake; his son John (Shannon) in Houston, son Dana (Haven) in Dallas, and grandchildren Alexandra, Connor, and Tabor Blake; his sister, Alice, in California; and nieces and nephews in Colorado, California, and Virginia.

 —Submitted by the family.

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