On October 18, long time Spring Creek Towers resident and respected community leader Solomon Peeples, 90, passed away after a brief illness.
Andrew Peeples says he wants others to know, “My father had a beautiful life and he often told me so.”
“I will always remember that my father was “a man” in every aspect of the word,” said Peeples whose memories include his dad being a genuine and honest person who remained true to his beliefs; had a heroic nature and worked hard, and was a loyal person that never complained.
“He was a quiet and stable presence in the community that provided leadership from behind the scenes and helped us to stay focus,” said Spring Creek Towers resident Jerry Killebrew, whose 30-year friendship with Peeples will not be forgotten. “Sol’s passing was a personal loss. He was like the big brother I never had. I’m glad I had the opportunity to know him.”
Peeples and his dearly beloved wife Joyce, who unexpectedly passed away in 2012, moved into Spring Creek Towers (Starrett City) in 1975. They were one of the first families to live in the newly developed residential community. As the population grew and community-oriented groups and organizations were formed, the Peeples became active in several of them.
Peeples was a Past President of the Starrett City Lions Club (1988-89) and remained a member-in-good standing until his passing. He also earned the Lions Club International distinction of being a Melvin Jones Fellow. He was President of the Spring Creek Community Corporation’s Board of Directors, and longtime member of the Starrett City Tenants Association (SCTA).
As a founding member and a Vice-President of the Penn-Fountain Landfill Committee, he was instrumental in having the once, government-declared toxic landfills on the south side of the Belt Parkway and within walking distance of Spring Creek Towers, cleaned and converted to national parkland that will open in the near future.
“Sol was a lot of fun to be around,” says Jean Holden a personal family friend, who often travelled with the Peeples and other Spring Creek Tower residents to places far and near. She described Peeples as being congenial with a generous spirit and the ability to publicly speak with a voice of authority.
Holden said Peeples was a great conversationalist. Killebrew agreed, “Everybody enjoyed talking with him because of his intellect. And he had a way of answering your question with a question, before giving you his answer, so that you would think about the matter being discussed.”
Peeples said his father grew up in Alabama during the country’s segregation period. He was keenly aware that there should be equal rights for all; a position he held his entire life. Peeples actively participated in civil rights efforts that sought to bring about social justice. And through those involvements, Peeples had an opportunity to know fellow Alabamian Coretta Scott King.
Peeples said his father enlisted in the Army Air Corp on December 7, 1941, the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and drew the United States into WWII. His son said he wanted to do his part to defend the country. A pilot in the war, Peeples trained alongside other Black men who became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Peeples, however, was sent to fight in the Philippines under General Douglas MacArthur.
After leaving the military, Peeples relocated to Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant to live, a neighborhood in which other family members had settled. He was known for his encyclopedic knowledge about the borough that he resided in for close to 70 years.
He was employed 30 years with the New York City Department of Health, where he worked his way up the ladder to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Health, Bureau Chief – Division of Pest Control.
Throughout his life, Peeples was an avid sports fan. In high school, he was an all-star Alabama basketball player.
Born December 16, 1923 in Jones, Alabama, Solomon Peeples is survived by his son Andrew and his wife Vanessa, Andrew’s children: Chloe, Vincent Andrew; son Vincent’s children: Vanessa, Evelyn and Deborah Joyce, great-grandchildren: Adavella, Kayla, Jayvon and Julian; and, first cousin Katherine Johnson of Brooklyn, NY.
Peeples was pre-deceased by his wife Joyce (2012) and son Vincent (1994), He was pre-deceased by his wife Joyce (2012) and son Vincent (1994).
Photo: courtesy of Peeples family
By: Agnes E. Green