Obituary: David Stirling Peebles, 1947-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: David Stirling Peebles, 1947-2024

Montpelier man developed a retirement passion for travel with his soulmate and showed his love by preparing spectacular meals

Published June 11, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated June 11, 2024 at 11:30 a.m.

David Peebles - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • David Peebles

David Stirling Peebles, 77, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully and filled with love in the Palliative Care Suite at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vt., on May 20, 2024. This is not an obituary, because he didn’t want one; this is a (very) short story at the end of a long and rich life, for which he was exceedingly grateful.

David died in the arms of his soulmate, his everything, of 45 years, Giovanna Morselli Peebles, after an intense week in the hospital, where he was enveloped in the strongest love and care by Stirling Peebles, Skye Peebles and Cameron Peebles. David’s death was impossibly fast: He died 12 days after being diagnosed with an aggressive, untreatable metastatic cancer. He died with grace and bravery, fully present and wonderfully funny until his end.

David Peebles - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • David Peebles

David’s passion to travel came to him late, when he and Giovanna retired in 2014, but it quickly became his favorite hobby and occupation. In the decade after retirement, David and Giovanna spent several months each year in Italy or Greece or both and elsewhere. Giovanna’s native Italy became his adopted country. Part of his heart resided at our longtime family camp near Rangeley, Maine, where he fly-fished like a pro, hunted with Giovanna, made thousands of delicious meals on his small four-burner gas stove, made lovely birchbark art and painted brilliant wildlife art. David was the finest cook many of us have ever known. He showed his love for family and friends by preparing an infinite number of spectacular meals across the decades. In the full and joyful year prior to his death, David spent wonderful weeks with Giovanna, and sometimes other family, in Seville, Sicily, Venice (Italy), Southern California, Puerto Rico and his beloved Montréal. No doubt he was sick much of the past 12 months, but his strong body and lion heart gave few signals of it. David was the most alive person. He would remind everyone to embrace every minute of the time you have left on Earth because, he would often tell us, “None of us are getting out of this alive.”

We want to thank the extraordinary staff at Central Vermont Medical Center, who cared for David in his last week with the most remarkable compassion, kindness and love. Your care meant the world to all of us.

Per David’s wishes, there will be no services. If you wish to celebrate David, he would love for you to send a donation to Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library, the Vermont Historical Society in Barre or the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc, Maine. To send online condolences to his family and see photos of a joyful David, please visit

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