A Fitting End to an Outstanding Career at Noble Horizons

For over a quarter century, Peter Fitting has entertained, enchanted, humored, cajoled, fed and befriended countless members of the Noble Horizons community.  A beloved character throughout the Noble campus and beyond, Peter recently slipped into retirement, leaving in his wake a legacy of cheer, joy and gratitude for all that he gave during his 26-years.  While Peter’s primary work was in the kitchen, it was his jaunty spirit that had the greatest impact on hundreds of Noble Horizons residents, staff and families.

As a lifelong Litchfield County resident and self-described “ne’er-do-well,” Peter’s irresistible charm and droll wit, leavened with an uncanny proclivity for harmless mischief, endeared him to countless residents of the northwest corner, not to mention at 17 Cobble Road.  His comic touch was especially evident in his writing, which he shared generously, particularly on holidays which were almost always spent preparing bounteous feasts for Noble residents and their families.  In his 2019 Thanksgiving Odehe mused,

 

Turkey day has come and gone
The turkey just goes on and on
Turkey sandwiches
Turkey soup

It seems we’re in a
Turkey loop
And when you think we’ve
Seen the last
We’ll serve the dreaded
Turkey hash

Before Peter settled at Noble Horizons, he managed a variety of kitchens, restaurants, taverns, and inns. Once installed as Noble’s Assistant Director of Dietary, his impossibly big smile and ready, well-timed jokes won him friends quickly and easily. His wit and whimsy were particularly treasured by the residents, “I’ve been lucky enough to say that I enjoyed the people I worked for, especially the residents.” Peter managed the kitchen and dining room with alacrity, thanks in large measure to his infectious charisma, sincerity and thoughtfulness of others.

“I attribute my love for people to my youth spent working at the White Hart for John Harney, John was my mentor.” Peter was 23 years old when he began working for Mr. Harney at the White Hart.  While Peter had stints as a bartender at the Woodland, Egremont Inn and Stagecoach Tavern, as well as a cook at the Pond Restaurant, it was Mr. Harney’s legendary work ethic and caring attitude that inspired Peter to approach life in a similar fashion.  Endowed with a comparable sense of fun, the two used their gift for humor to overcome even the most challenging situations.

Eager to integrate his jocular side into his love for language, Peter returned to college while working at Noble Horizons and graduated with honors from the University of Hartford where he double majored in History and Professional and Technical Writing.  He recalls with a glint of wry irony, “So I graduated in December…shook hands with the President of the University, quite an honor. I showed up to work a few days later and the pot-washer hadn’t shown up so I washed pots all day… but that’s life, isn't it?”

Outside of his work at Noble Horizons, Peter has contributed much to the community that has been his home for most of his life.  He was an indefatigable volunteer with the Chamber of Commerce for six years, has served Salisbury Family Services for nearly 20 years and has worked with the Salisbury Rotary Club since 1988.   Peter also heeded the entreaties of his many fans and fulfilled a lifelong dream of publishing a collection of stories and poetry, called Flights of Fancy.“Everyone told me I should write a book, and have it published by the time you’re 60. Well I was 61 when I was published, so I got pretty close.” His experience with publishing his first collection of short stories and poetry may have had humble beginnings, but at Noble Horizons, Peter felt the impact he had on the residents’ lives firsthand at his very first reading, “I wrote the book primarily for my friends and family, but I ended up being convinced to host a reading here at Noble, and turned out to be a full house. That was such a big deal for me.”  Peter’s poetic heart couldn’t have been more evident when,a while back, two therapy birds that were beloved members of the Noble Horizons family passed away and he wrote a eulogy for the deceased birds.

 

She went through life without a name
But highly thought of just the same
Those old clichés are true, I guess
Blue birds do bring happiness

 

But she’s gone where bluebirds go
When they have had enough of show
And leave behind a lonely cage
I guess it’s time to turn the page

 

And though our blue bird will be missed
For a while we have been blessed
Now with a smile and gentle word
We say adieu to Miss Blue Bird

Since his retirement, Peter has taken on another full-time job, that of painting his house with a colleague from Noble.  When asked how it feels to be retired Peter quips, “Everyone asks me how is retirement? You know I don’t know yet, ask me next month when I’ve finished the outside of my house.” Though his jovial spirit is missed, Peter can still be found on campus, either enjoying weekly luncheons with the Rotary Club or faithfully participating in Noble’s free weekly balance class.   “I feel like I’m still part of Noble because I’m here each week… and I just feel like I have never left.”  Lucky for his loyal friends at Noble Horizons who look forward to many more years with the inimitable Peter Fitting!

 

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