Peter M. Johngren

January 18, 1941 - January 4, 2014

HARTWICK – Peter Morgan Johngren died Saturday, Jan. 4, at his home surrounded by his family following a lengthy illness. He would have been 73 on Jan. 18.

Peter was born in Brockton, MA, in 1941, the first child of Alton Elof Johngren and Ruth Bonhotal Morgan. He attended Brockton public schools and graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1963. He graduated from Albany Medical College in 1967 and finished his psychiatric residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1971.

Peter served as a Major in the US Army Medical Corps at Madigan Army Medical Center in Ft. Lewis, WA from 1971 to 1973 during the Vietnam War. He was employed by M.I. Bassett Hospital beginning in July, 1973, and served as attending psychiatrist on the inpatient unit until 1997. He continued as a consulting psychiatrist until his full retirement in 2002.

While still in medical school Peter married Jane Ann Schaefer, whom he had met at Tufts in 1962, in Westport, CT. His two children, Emily Ruth Johngren Ward and Michael Peter Johngren, were born during his residency in Cleveland.

An amateur photographer since the eighth grade, when he began developing and printing his own black and white images, Peter experimented with color printing and enthusiastically embraced digital photography and printing with Photoshop from its beginnings. He studied photography with George Lepp, Gary Randorf, and Carl Heilman II, among others, and with the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and John Radigan’s Adirondack Photography Institute.

Peter’s nature photographs have been shown in exhibits at the Cooperstown Art Association, the Central New York Community Arts Council at The Stanley in Utica, The Smithy-Pioneer Gallery in Cooperstown, Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts (now CANO) in Oneonta, the Arts Guild of Old Forge (now View), Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, and the Yager Museum at Hartwick College. He also participated in arts festivals in Saratoga Springs and Inlet, NY. His image “In the Dawn’s Early Light” won the award for Best Adirondack Photograph in Old Forge in 2006.

In addition, Peter made a specialty of photographing the work of other artists, including folk painter Ed Johnson and sculptor Walter Dusenbery, among others, and worked extensively with Scottie Baker of Natura Productions for many years. With his wife Jane, a potter and writer, he formed Heatherspray Studio, and also enjoyed producing limited editions of books of his photographs.

One of the books documented his building of “Winslow,” a wooden sailboat reminiscent of the boats he had enjoyed in his youth on Cape Cod, a project he decided to take on to counter the negative effects of chemotherapy. He finished the boat in May, 2009, and was able to sail it occasionally on Fourth Lake in the Adirondacks for three summers.

An outdoor enthusiast since childhood, Peter enjoyed sailing, downhill skiing, hiking, backpacking and canoeing, but he was also a computer geek, stereo buff, movie aficionado, and a fan of all kinds of music, which he loved hearing in live performance and on his own sound system. He was an early fan of Justin Bieber and followed the young singer on Twitter using the handle “Senior Biebs.” He even received a shout-out from Justin after a newspaper article in Canada profiled Peter’s interest and its therapeutic impact on his illness.

Peter is survived by his wife and best friend, Jane, of 48 1/2 years; his children Emily Ward and her husband, Bob, and Michael Johngren and his wife Jeanne Muller Johngren; his granddaughter Maia; his brother Carl Alton Johngren; his nephew Dana Johngren and his wife Rachel and their children Bart, Erin and Brianna; his sister-in-law Susan B. Schaefer; and his niece Rebecca Schaefer Kohl and her husband Nate.

His family would like to express their gratitude to the entire staff of Bassett Healthcare Network’s Cancer Institute, especially Dr. Eric Bravin and Dr. Tim Campbell, and to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, especially Sharon Kinch-Mead and Anne Bishop, among others.

The family will be pleased to welcome friends to remember and celebrate Peter’s life by calling at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown on Sunday, January 12, 2014, from 3 to 6 p.m. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Peter’s memory may be made to the Friends of Bassett Healthcare Network, 1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.