We only recently learned the sad news that long-time IFAFA member Victor Peck had passed away in March of this year (2017). Many of you will remember Victor and his constant companion, Vic Gugliuzza, as “the Victors” who attended IFAFA conferences from the 1990s through 2009.
Before his retirement in 1992, Victor Peck worked for the Nazarene Publishing House in Kansas City, MO, for 23 years. He was head of the Dock, overseeing the inventory and shipments. After both Victors had retired, they turned to their passion for folk dancing, teaching Dutch and Italian folk dancing at local community centers for decades. They enjoyed collecting music (records, tapes, and CDs), sheet music, and dances.
“The Victors” both loved dance of all kinds, but especially international folk dance which they had done for over 40 years. They had a special interest in Schottisches from various countries. Victor P and Vic G participated (and sometimes founded) several groups in Kansas City, MO, involved with dance and culture. They were members of the International Folk Dancers of Kansas City, UNICO, the Ethnic Festival board, and Scuola Vita Nova (a charter school where all students were exposed to the cultures, languages, and arts of numerous countries).
Victor Peck was a wonderful correspondent, an expert in the — perhaps old-fashioned — art of letter-writing. Then in 2002, they bought a used computer for $100, and started taking computer classes in their 70s (Peck) and 80s (Gugliuzza). Victor thrilled to the development of computer programs and email (he sent me his first email letter in March 2003!) which allowed him to print multiple copies of his typed letters or send numerous emails at once to his many friends. And he did have MANY friends, including several IFAFA members, with whom he corresponded several times a year with his down-home, newsy letters about what he and Vic G. were up to.
Upon learning of Victor’s passing, I pulled out my 2-inch thick folder of letters I’ve received from him since the year 2000 after we had met at the Milwaukee conference in 1999. His letters contain a wealth of information about dances throughout Italy and Europe, learned though curiosity and research.
Aside from writing letters, Victor loved writing poetry and short stories. He was a published poet, with three poems in the Library of Congress. He was also writing a book that he planned to publish about things and events from his childhood. He occasionally sent me drafts of some of his poems and stories.
The following reading, Doors, is one that he sent to me in January of 2004, with the note: “This is a first draft of something that I might put into the book I am writing.” As you read it, I’m sure that you will realize, as I did, that this sums up the caring attitude that both “Victors” readily embraced. It is most appropriate to share it here.
— Jackie Capurro
by Victor Peck
I have often thought about what doors have been opened to me. Just which one would mean the most and would be the greatest. I’ve come to a conclusion after many years.
Sometimes this door has been hard to open and other times it has been easy. It depends who is opening the door from the other side for me. I might have been waiting unknowingly for the other person to open the door. That person might have opened it right away. When it is opened, it is a wonderful Blessing, because that person is opening that door to FRIENDSHIP and inviting me in to know them. If I am honest, sincere, compassionate and caring, they will be my friend for life. In opening that door for me, they are letting me enter into their Life. In doing this, I learn of their disappointments, doubts, and fears. I also learn of their joys, happiness, and laughter. With these things comes the learning of the talent that God has given these friends. All the time I am learning these things about them, they are learning the same about me. I get amazed at the talent of the friends that I have. Then I think how wonderful it is that God gave each friend a talent that I can learn something about, broadening my mind and my world. Oh yes! I am so Blessed with Friendships of so many people and what they have done for me and given to my Life. If you are one of my friends, I want to say God Bless You and Thanks for what I’ve gained from knowing you. If you’re not my friend, just open the door … I’ll be there.
Friends are the most important thing a person can have. May God Bless and take care of me and all my friends. Because I have grown to Love each one for who they are. Thanks for being my friend.