Monday, May 8
Peter Tannenwald, a loyal member of the Cambridge Tennis Club for many years, died on Feb. 5 in San Diego, CA of a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been a resident of Cambridge for 46 years before relocating to San Diego in 1998 to join his long-time companion, Winifred Kreifeldt.
Peter was born in Germany in 1926 to Bruno Tannenwald and Alma Mendel Tannenwald. Escaping the Nazis, he emigrated with his family to Cuba in 1939 and then to San Francisco in 1940. Peter received his B.A. and Ph. D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley.
If you asked Peter what he did for a living, he might take the opportunity to pull your leg. He could impersonate a doctor, lawyer or architect quite convincingly. In fact, he worked from 1962 to 1986 at MITís Lincoln Lab, where he was associate head of the Labís solid state division. He was an expert in the spectroscopy of solid materials, and one of the first scientists to observe a phenomenon known as standing spin waves.
Besides tennis, music was Peterís great love. He played clarinet with the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra, and dedicated much time to their Young Artist Competition. He also played piano with local jazz groups. Those who heard him play at the Clubís Christmas party might have noticed that he was able not only to accompany caroling but also to play any jazz tune, from swing to bebop, that anyone could suggest.
Peter loved to play tennis. He was always ready to pick up a game of doubles on Sunday, and would trot out any day of the week if needed. He was a human backboard: he could hit the ball over and over and over until his opponent gave up in sheer frustration.
He was also a real contributor to the Club in his modest way. At every party, it was Peter who would give Joe sage advice on the doneness of the turkey, and Peter who would stay till the bitter end to make sure that the kitchen was cleaned up. His CTC friends will miss his wry sense of humor, his puckish smile, and his unassuming thoughtfulness.
Memorial services for Peter will be held at the MIT Chapel on Wednesday, May 10 at 2:30, with a reception to follow at the MIT Faculty Club.
Court conditions: Beyond exemplary.
Joe DeBassio, Webmaster.