SPHHS mourns loss of Peter Pellett, Professor Emeritus of Nutrition

May 24, 2018

Peter L. Pellett, 90, of Amherst, professor emeritus of nutrition whose work focused on relieving child malnutrition worldwide, died May 10.

Born April 14, 1928 in London, England, he was a child survivor of World War II. He later joined the British Armed Forces where he defused bombs. After his military service, he received his education at Borough Polytechnic in London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He did postdoctoral work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After several years of research in London, the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and at MIT, he joined UMass Amherst in 1971 and later became head of the nutrition department, retiring in 1999. He worked in a post-retirement position for an additional year.

The primary focus of his life’s work was combating infant and child malnutrition in developing countries and putting an end to world hunger. He was an active board member on the International Nutrition Foundation. Throughout his career he consulted regularly with the World Health Organization, United States Agency for International Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and The United Nations Children's Fund. During these consultancies, he frequently traveled to many developing countries leading humanitarian missions that focused on resolving the child malnutrition crisis.

He authored the second edition of “Food Composition, Tables for use in the Middle East” in 1970. He co-authored “Nutritional Evaluation of Protein Foods: Report of a Working Group Sponsored by the International Union of Nutritional Science and the United Nations” in 1983. Additionally, he has 67 other publications and 1,438 citations.

He was also an accomplished jazz pianist.

He is survived by his wife, Amira Pellett, and three children, Charles Pellett, Rupert Pellett and Zena Bauman.

A gathering to honor his life and achievements will be held on Sunday, June 3 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Dickinson Ballroom of the Lord Jeffery Inn, Amherst. Former colleagues, students, coworkers, friends and family are all welcome.

In lieu of any flowers or cards please consider donating to the Peter L. Pellett Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is awarded annually to a graduate student whose focus of study is related to food security and international nutrition. Donate online at https://tinyurl.com/pellettscholarship. You may send a check payable to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, memo line “Peter L. Pellett Scholarship,” and mail to Records and Gift Processing, Memorial Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 134 Hicks Way, Amherst 01003. You may also donate via phone at 866-450-8627.