Peter Jung Weil, a well-‐loved sculptor and Steuben community member, quietly passed away at his home in Steuben, Maine on May 30, 2019 at age 86. Peter will be missed by his beloved wife, Jane Weil, and a rich community of friends and family, including his older brother, Jesse L. Weil of Budapest, Hungary and Lexington, KY, and his nieces, Janna G. Weil of Lancaster, PA, and Alex Borns-‐Weil of Brookline, MA. He was predeceased by his younger brother, Martin E. Weil of Los Angeles.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on May 21, 1933, to Herbert L. and Esther ArnovitsWeil, Peter grew up in Fort Peck, Montana and graduated from Omaha Central High School in Nebraska. He earned a BA at Antioch College in Ohio in 1956 and an MS from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan in 1958. In 1959 he accepted a job in Washington, DC with the Pan American Union and traveled throughout South America conducting geographic research for several years. About this time, he started carving in wood and stone with mentors Bill Taylor and Sy Gresser. He then started using reclaimed metal to produce a myriad of fascinating, often humorous sculptures. Peter began a Doctoral program in Geography at John’s Hopkins in 1966, but in 1968 he decided making sculpture would be his career because, “I just found that being a sculptor was more fun than being a graduate student.”
In 1969 Peter met Jane Dumond, a former Peace Corps teacher, who sought him outafter learning that he taught sculpture to neighborhood kids and wanted to know more about his work with inner city youth. They soon became a couple and moved to Steuben in 1971, after falling in love with the area while visiting their friend, Bolek (John) Peplowski. They bought an abandoned house on two acres along Tunk Stream on Village Road and over time transformed it into a welcoming home and gallery and its surroundings into gracious and serene gardens interspersed with Peter’s intriguing sculptures.
Peter pursued a variety of themes in his sculpture reflecting his varied interests, including animals—both real and imagined, the human figure, and themes from mythology and literature. His work treats these subjects with humor, delight, and tender regard for human foibles. He continued to work in stone and wood, but shifted primarily to new and old steel, where he concentrated on his whimsical pieces until he retired in 2013. His work was shown in many group and individual exhibits, including at the Smithsonian and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC and the University of Maine in Orono. He was active in the downeast arts community for many years, encouraging other artists and craftspeople and helping to establish the Eastern Maine Craft Cooperative in Milbridge. He was the first carving teacher for teenager Jesse Salisbury, who later became a stone sculptor and spearheaded the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium. Peter and Jane were founding members and steadfast promoters of this public art project, which produced the Maine Sculpture Trail consisting of 34 major stone sculptures spread throughout communities in Eastern Maine.
A very active member of his local community, Peter helped establish the Petit Manan Ambulance Service and volunteered as a driver for many years. He also volunteered for the Steuben Fire Department, served as a town assessor and town moderator, and was a board member of the Henry D. Moore Parish House and Library. In his leisure time Peter was an avid tennis player and a life-‐long reader as well as the family chef.
Family and friends will remember Peter for his dedication to his wife Jane, and to friends and community, his broad knowledge and wide-‐ranging interests, his wry wit and wordplay, and his playful metal art. As he said recently, “I would like people to look at my work and be amused. Many of my sculptures are as much like toys as I could make them.”
A memorial service will be held on June 23rd at 3:00 at the H.D. Moore Library and Community Center. Memorial gifts may be made to the Petit Manan Ambulance Service in Steuben ME.