UW News

March 10, 2022

Gordon Stuart Peek, UW alumnus who donated Gerberding and Kane bells, dies at 96

Gordon Stuart Peek

Gordon Stuart PeekMark Stone/University of Washington

Gordon Stuart Peek, a University of Washington alumnus who donated the bells that sit on two sides of Red Square, died peacefully at his home on March 2, 2022. He was 96.

In 2008, the Gordon Stuart Peek Foundation donated the first set of change ringing bells on the West Coast, which were installed in the tower of Gerberding Hall. The set of eight bells, cast by Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the Netherlands, are hung for full-circle “change” ringing.

The change ringing bells will ring half-muffled around noon on Sunday in Peek’s memory.

carillon bells

The Gordon Stuart Peek Foundation Carillon atop Kane Hall.Mark Stone/University of Washington

In 2018, the foundation donated a carillon — 47 bells in total — that was installed on a ventilation shaft atop Kane Hall. The carillon was placed so the bells could be seen from afar.

“People enjoy them,” Peek told UW News in 2018. “It’s something new around here.”

Peek’s interest in bells began on the UW campus, when his grandfather would bring him to hear the Blethen chimes that resided in an old water tower near the Burke Museum from 1912 until 1949, when they were destroyed in a fire.

Peek told UW News four years ago of the unifying, uplifting sound that inspires all who hear the bells and hoped that his gifts would endure.

“I think this is something that can last a while,” he said.