A. Peter Barranco, Jr.

October 2, 1937 - May 10, 2023

U.S. Veteran

Burial Date

Obituaries » A. Peter Barranco, Jr.

A. Peter Barranco, Jr.

MONTPELIER, VT – A. Peter Barranco, Jr., 85, a long-time resident of Montpelier, passed away on May 10, 2023, after a brief illness at Mayo Healthcare in Northfield where he had resided for the past several years. He was born on October 2, 1937, in New York City, to Augustine Peter Barranco, Sr. and Phyllis Mossner Barranco. Peter grew up in Garden City, NY, on Long Island and was the eldest of three boys. He was a 1955 graduate of the Saint Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and spent the summers of his youth in New England, the Adirondacks, and on the shores of Lake Champlain. These experiences greatly influenced his path as an adult to relocate to Vermont to raise his family, where he ultimately spent most of his life.

Peter started college at Middlebury, studying chemistry, in 1955 and graduated almost a decade later at Hofstra University with a BS in engineering. In between were a myriad of life experiences, fighting forest fires in Oregon, canning peas in Washington, picking apples in upstate New York and working as a mate on ships sailing up and down the east coast for what was then called the US Coast and Geodetic Survey. Following college he moved to Honolulu, HI with Sperry Rand Corp. working on torpedo fire control systems on submarines for the US Navy and where he met Barbara Jane LaChapelle, the love of his life. Peter and Jane were married in Honolulu in 1967, returned briefly to New York in 1970, before permanently relocating to Vermont later in 1970, first to Essex Junction, and then to Montpelier in 1973.  Peter worked as a civil engineer for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Dam Safety Program for much of his career, retiring in 2001.

Peter had many interests, but his great passion was history, and in particular, the maritime history of Lake Champlain.  As a teenager, he spent his summers working in Willsboro, NY, for Lorenzo F. Hagglund, a searcher and salvager who had raised the Revolutionary War gunboat Philadelphia from the lake in 1936. In addition to helping run the Philadelphia roadside museum (prior to its transfer to the Smithsonian), Peter worked with Hagglund on several lake projects, notably the location and recovery of The Vermont, the lake’s first steamship, launched in 1809.  He continued this work as a researcher and historian on his own as well as with the Lake Champlain Maritime Society and later, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, as both a historian and navigator for LCMM’s 1996-2002 Sonar Survey of Lake Champlain Shipwrecks that in 1997 rediscovered the Spitfire, a sister ship of the Philadelphia that was sunk in 1776.

He is survived by Jane, his wife of 56 years; his son David and wife Christie of West Windsor, NJ, their two sons Matthew and James; and his son John and husband Mateo of Quincy, MA.  Peter is also survived by his brother Stephen of Harrisonburg, VA. Peter was predeceased by both of his parents as well as his brother Michael.

Peter’s family is grateful for the outstanding care he received at Mayo over these past few years. There will be memorial service to celebrate his life on May 18th at Guare & Sons, 30 School Street in Montpelier. Refreshments to follow.

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