Master Builder, Loving Restorer
Pete Hogden was the facilities manager of Grace Church and Grace Church School from 2002 until his unexpected passing last week at the age of 54. Pete came to Grace when he was the construction superintendent for the firm of Scorcia and Diana and was in charge of the major expansion of the school in 1993 with the building of the dining room and renovation of the library at the School’s 86 Fourth Avenue campus. Pete had a keen eye for interesting and beautiful architecture as well as loving communities. He worked with Scorcia on several other renovations including the conversion of the Loft Building at 80 Fourth Avenue into an income producing rental property that has contributed mightily to the health of the Church. Earlier in his career, Pete proudly served as Lead Quartermaster in the United States Navy.
In 2002, Pete began his life as the steward of the fabric of an aging and “grace filled” campus. The terms “deferred maintenance” and “Grace Church School” were synonymous, and Pete set his shoulder and spirit to the task of carrying 19th century landmark beauty into the 21st century. He began by sweeping away the poor practices that had plagued the facilities team due to lack of supervision. He understood that what he was taking on might take decades both to be done right and to acquire the funding. He also knew that it was not only about the beauty of the spaces but also about who was using it. During the week children had to be able to cavort joyfully through the spaces, and on weekends congregants had to enjoy them reverently. Above all it had to be safe.
Grace Church is a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated New York City Landmark. Here is what Pete accomplished to maintain and restore these important spaces: The spire, visible up Broadway as far as Wall St., was leaning and in danger of ultimate collapse; Pete fixed it. The roof was leaking; it leaks no more. The stained glass windows were in danger of falling out; they have been restored. The organ was collapsing on itself; a new chancel organ was commissioned, which also required a full renovation of the chancel. It brings soaring music to all who hear it. The high ceilings are now in the midst of renovation orchestrated by Pete.
Before Pete, Grace Church School educated 360 students in 35,000 square feet. It now has 743 students on two campuses in 140,000 square feet. The Fourth Avenue buildings have gone from rundown, soot-cloaked structures to shining landmarks with windows that evoke the 19th century but work for the 21st. New boilers, sidewalks, roofs, elevators and AC have all been built and installed. There is an underground gym that enhanced and revived the Church garden above, not to mention art rooms, science labs and classrooms. The Cooper Square campus functions because Pete was there to watch carefully that form and function were equally represented.
We live better at Grace because of Pete, but that is not the full measure of the man. He was a human being with a strong spirit. He understood the people on his team and cared for them. He was a strong hand when needed and a helping hand when required. His team knew that he stood for them and with them. Pete had a telltale barometer for how things were going at work: his hair. When things were going poorly Pete’s hair would stand up straight. Because of all of those “Pete Hair Days” the School and Church are better places – safer places to be and better places to work. Most important, we have lost an indomitable spirit whose love was palpable. He loved his family both immediate and extended. He loved all of the people of Grace Church and Grace Church School. He loved his work. St. Paul said, “The greatest of these is love.” Pete was the epitome of that love in its fullest sense. He will be missed, but whenever anyone looks left, right, up or down at Grace, he will be remembered.
There will be a memorial service for members of the Grace Church and Grace Church School communities on April 20 at 4 p.m. in Grace Church at 802 Broadway.
There will be a wake on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Viewing will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the Kresge Funeral Home
, 1763 Route 209, Brodheadsville, PA. The minister will speak at 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation be made to either The Go Project
or Sponsoring Team Norway (contact the family for details). You may send a card or note to the family at:
The Family of Peter Hogden
115 Ridge Court
Saylorsburg, PA 18353