The eldest son of Filipino immigrants, Peter was born in 1930 in Oakdale, California and raised on a Filipino farm worker camp operated by his parents in nearby Livingston. After attending public schools, he spent four years with the U.S. Navy and saw duty in the Korean War. He married the former Terri Romero in 1953. Peter balanced raising a family with part-time work while attending college at San Jose State and UCLA, where he received a master’s degree in 1957. Later he attended Stanford University as a Public Affairs Fellow in 1969-70.
Despite not speaking English until the first grade and without the benefit of affirmative action programs (yet to be enacted), he went on to a successful career as a top level executive directing multi-million dollar health and human service programs in federal, state, and local government and in the private non-profit sector. He also served as a faculty member at the medical school of the University of Washington.
Specifically, he was formerly assistant secretary of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, director of the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, director of the King County (WA) Department of Human Resources, vice president of the United Way of King County, executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, assistant professor of Rehabilitation Medicine of the University of Washington, branch chief in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington, D.C.; and executive director of the Asian American Recovery Services in San Francisco.
He did not neglect his Filipino roots, and was active with numerous community organizations and boards including several terms as founding national vice-president of the Filipino American National Historical Society.
Peter credits whatever success he may have enjoyed in life to the hard work of his parents, the strong support from his wife, and the promise of a better future for his children and grandchildren.
Peter lost his wife Terri in 2009 after fifty-six happy years of marriage. Retired since 1995, Peter lives in Atwater, California. He spends most of his time listening to jazz, folowing the New York Yankees, doing yard work, solving crossword puzzles and being a loving father to his six children and doting grandfather to his fifteen grandchildren. He did find the time, however, to write his book,Growing Up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino American, published by the University of Washington Press in 2006. His latest book is Vanishing Filipino Americans: The Bridge Generation published by University Press of America in 2011.