LFDA announces first Honorary Members
The Live Free or Die Alliance periodically recognizes individuals who have reached the pinnacle of citizenship through service to their New Hampshire neighbors and engagement with their communities and fellow citizens both within the state and beyond. These are our Honorary Members.
The individuals chosen are true Granite State icons. They have gone above and beyond in the devotion of their resources (whether of time, donations or ideas) to advance the values of our state and to promote freedom and giving for fellow Granite Staters. They have done this while maintaining the time-honored, down-to-earth virtue that distinguishes the people of the state.
Honorary Members are nominated by members of the LFDA community and selected on a nonpartisan basis. Selection is based on a set of criteria including, but not limited to: the significance of one’s contributions to his or her community, state and nation; longevity of service; and the effectiveness of one’s efforts to improve the well-being of fellow citizens within and beyond the borders of New Hampshire.
The Honorable William Treat (1918-2010)
Local judge, community banker and international diplomat Judge William Wardwell Treat of Stratham was renowned equally for his promotion of international human rights as for his reformation of probate law and court systems throughout New Hampshire and eventually the nation.
A native of Winterport, Maine, and graduate of the University of Maine and Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, William Wardwell Treat was appointed a judge of probate in New Hampshire in 1958 and served until his retirement in 1983. To improve the administration of probate law throughout the United States, he organized the National College of Probate Judges in 1968 and served as its first president. Headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., the college today has more than 600 members. A prolific writer on the jurisprudence, Judge Treat also served as chairman of the New Hampshire Judicial Council and was the first chairman of the Administrative Committee for District and Municipal Courts, authoring a study that resulted in the reorganization and consolidation of the local court system in New Hampshire.
Judge Treat was an unabashed lifelong Republican – calling himself a “progressive Republican” to characterize his philosophy. He served from 1954 to 1958 as chairman of the state Republican Party, repeatedly as a New Hampshire delegate to the Republican National Convention, and from 1956 to 1964 as secretary of the United States Electoral College. In the years following his retirement in 1983, Judge Treat was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and later President George H.W. Bush as a public delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, advocating for nearly a decade on behalf of minorities and victims of human-rights abuses, and working to establish international standards for fair trials and the right to habeas corpus, while he was posted in Geneva.
As a private businessman, Judge Treat was also the founder and chairman of the Seacoast-based Bank Meridian, providing traditional services like individual management and small business loans to members of the community. Judge Treat served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, was chairman of the Towle Manufacturing Co. of Newburyport, Mass., and was a governor of the American Independence Museum in Exeter. As a philanthropist, he established the Treat Foundation, a family trust devoted to numerous charitable causes.
The Honorable Walter Peterson (1922-2011)
Peterborough Budget Committee member, Navy veteran, educator and two-term governor of New Hampshire, Walter Rutherford Peterson, Jr., for more than a half-century served Granite Staters as a fiscal hawk and champion of education as a key to local students’ success. His death was announced June 2.
Born in Nashua, Governor Peterson received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1947 and also attended the College of William and Mary and the University of New Hampshire. His college years were interrupted by four years’ service as a U.S. Navy Reserve officer in the South Pacific. Following his return and graduation, Governor Peterson became a partner in The Petersons, Inc., a family real estate firm in Peterborough that remains in operation today. He was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives and served as majority leader and, later, speaker from 1965 to 1968.
In 1968, Governor Peterson was elected to the state’s highest office and focused his attention heavily on state revenues, which had become inadequate in the face of growth and widespread infrastructure costs. A business-profits tax was passed, and increased liquor sales helped produce a budget surplus during his administration. Governor Peterson was re-elected in 1970 and soon focused his efforts on a top-to-bottom reorganization of state government so that it operated more effectively at less cost.
Following his terms in the State House, Governor Peterson turned his attention to education, serving as president of Franklin Pierce College from 1975 to 1995. In 1996, he was named to the board of trustees of the University System of New Hampshire, serving in that capacity for more than a decade. In 2009, he was chosen as the first trustee emeritus for the Community College System of New Hampshire.
Civil-rights worker, public servant, educator and retired New Hampshire Charitable Foundation President and CEO Lew Feldstein was a lifelong advocate for civic engagement. For nearly a quarter century, he helped to redefine philanthropy in northern New England, providing the financial springboard for countless charitable nonprofits to flourish across the state.
A New York City native and graduate of Brown University, with an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts, Mr. Feldstein began his career as a journalist , later working with the civil-rights movement in Mississippi and, for seven years, in senior staff positions to New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay. Prior to arriving at the N.H. Charitable Foundation in 1986, Mr. Feldstein served as provost of the Antioch/New England Graduate School.
Mr. Feldstein helped the N.H. Charitable Foundation grow its assets from $25 million to nearly $400 million by the time of his retirement in 2010 – funds that each year provide the venture capital for hundreds of nonprofit organizations created to assist those in need. Mr. Feldstein has written and lectured widely on social capital, community building and charitable giving, and has served on numerous national boards of directors. With Robert Putnam of Harvard University, he co-founded the Saguaro Seminar, a program dedicated to facilitating civic engagement in America, and co-authored Better Together: Restoring the American Community (Simon & Schuster 2003). A notable fellow practitioner on the Saguaro Seminar with Mr. Feldstein was eventual U.S. President Barack Obama.
In 2008, Mr. Feldstein was selected as a NonProfit Times “Power and Influence Top 50” nonprofit executive, and has been twice named one of Business NH Magazine’s ten most influential people in New Hampshire. A recipient of seven honorary doctorates, Mr. Feldstein has also been honored with the City Year New Hampshire Lifetime of Service Award.