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Peter Lederman

Peter Lederman

Peter B. Lederman, 88, Ph.D., P.E., of New Providence died June 9, 2020. Born in Weimar, Germany, in 1931, he lived briefly in Holland after his father lost his position with the German regional government because of enacted anti-Jewish laws. They moved back to Germany after a short time, and after living through Kristallnacht and the internment of his father in Buchenwald, he and his parents escaped, eventually settling in the United States.

After coming to the United States, he sold War Bonds at P.S. 99; became an Eagle Scout; and served in the Army during the Korean conflict, from 1953 to 1955. He then received a commission in the U.S. Navy reserves in the “Research Reserve” until 1975, retiring as a lieutenant commander.

He studied at University of Michigan and received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

Dr. Lederman worked for many companies, including Shell and Esso as a chemical engineer; as vice president for Research Cotrell; and as a vice president for Roy F. Weston, a large environmental engineering firm. His academic positions included being a lecturer at University of Michigan; an associate professor at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now New York University); director of the Center for Environmental Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology, retiring in 2000; and teaching environmental engineering in Bangkok. He worked at the EPA in its infancy as director of its Industrial Hazardous Waste Treatment Laboratory. He also headed the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the destruction of the U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons. He had published over 92 papers, co-authored several patents, and was a licensed Professional Engineer in at least 30 states.

He also was both a Kentucky Colonel and an Admiral in the Kentucky Navy. He was honored by the USEPA (Silver Medal for Superior Service), AICHE (Service to Society Award), University of Michigan, College of Engineering (Distinguished Alumni Award), the National Academies, and the Academy of Environmental Engineers.

Active in the Jewish, local, and professional communities, he served on the board of Temple Sinai of Summit from 1967 through 1983 and was president from 1979 to 1981; he only retired a few months ago as chair of its Audit Committee. He had been active in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers since his days as a student, serving in a variety of positions, including as a member of its board and chair of its foundation; he also helped develop programs for young engineers and women at the institute and at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Until his death, he served on the board of directors of the Science History Institute and the Science Advisory Board of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He also established the first recycling program in New Providence in the 1960s. In his last years he was the chair of the Old Guard of Summit’s “timely topics” Committee.

He is survived by his wife of over 62 years, Susan (Sturc); his son, Stuart of Madison; his daughter, Ellen (Thom LeFevre) of Zurich, Switzerland; and three granddaughters.

Arrangements were handled by Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel, Livingston.

Memorial contributions may be made to G. Brymer Williams Student Aid Fund-729748 (!/give/basket/fund/729748) or Temple Sinai Endowment Fund (

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