Mountainside Resident, WWII Veteran Dies at 88

W. Peter Metz Jr. met his wife, Ruth, while serving in Europe.

The following information was provided by Gray Funeral Homes:

W. Peter Metz Jr., 88, of Mountainside, NJ died peacefully on January 16, 2014 of a stroke. 

There will be a memorial service at the Community Presbyterian Church of Mountainside, N.J. on Saturday, January 25 at 11:00 AM. Arrangements by Gray Funeral Directors, Westfield.

He was the beloved husband of Ruth Miller Metz for 56 years, who predeceased him in December 2005. He was born September 21, 1925 in Newark, NJ, the son of the late W. Peter and Pauline Metz. Peter grew up in Nutley and after graduation from high school was drafted into the army in World War II, where he met Ruth while serving in Europe. After the war he attended Cornell University and the University of Tennessee where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering before moving back to New Jersey in 1950 to work for his father at Metz Refining Company and to start a family.

Peter grew Metz Refining from a small precious metal collecting/assaying business, employing 5 people, to become Metz Metallurgical Corporation, employing over 200 scientists, engineers, and skilled tradesmen by the time of his retirement and sale of the company in 1986, over 35 years later. During his tenure as owner and president, he invented, engineered, and commercialized numerous innovative products and techniques for fabricating precious metals into materials used by the electronic, chemical, photographic, medical, aerospace and defense industries, many of which remain in use today. Peter received numerous awards for his professional work, including a lifetime achievement award from the International Precious Metal Institute.

Beyond his success as a chemist, metallurgist, entrepreneur, and businessman, Peter's contributions to his community locally and beyond, in concert with Ruth, were prodigious. In particular, he had a passion for building. Peter was a founding member of the Community Presbyterian Church of Mountainside in 1954 and was a leader in the building of the present church. Peter also was on the Board of Education of the Mountainside schools for over 10 years and provided leadership that included the construction of the Beachwood elementary school. Peter served for over 25 years on the Board of the Children's Specialized Hospital, including as Chairman of the Board, and later as an honorary Board member. During his tenure, he was very active in the building of the current physical plant and in the merger of CSH with the NJ Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. He and Ruth also co-founded a chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Plainfield, NJ that bought property and built homes for over 25 years under their leadership. Peter was also a member of the board of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. 

Peter's philanthropy over many years has been extensive in the areas of arts, education, and humanitarian causes. He established a scholarship fund at the New Jersey Institute of Technology that has supported the education of over 25 engineering students who otherwise would not have been able to attend college. 

Peter leaves behind his second wife of five years, Louise Sydnor Metz. He also leaves two sons: W. Peter Metz, MD and his wife, Phyllis Pollack, MD of Worcester, MA; and Michael M. Metz and his wife, Denise G. Shekerjian of Charlotte, VT. He leaves four grandchildren: David Metz and his wife, Juliette Wallack, of Brooklyn NY; Sarah Metz of Washington DC; Matthew Metz and Luke Metz of Charlotte, VT. Our family's enduring memory of him was his fire to understand, to learn, and to embrace and engage with the world around him. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Honors College Fund of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which supports scholarships for engineering students. Please make the check to "The Foundation at NJIT" and note on the check that this is for the "ADHC Honors College in memory of Peter Metz". The mailing address is 323 Martin Luther King Blvd, Newark, NJ 07102. 


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