Rev. J. Christopher Peiper, 47, Episcopalian rector


The Rev. John Christoper Peiper, a former chemistry instructor and Episcopal rector, died Wednesday of cancer in his Towson home. He was 47.

"Chris had a love for learning and a love for teaching," said his wife, the former Patricia Ross. "He enjoyed the outdoors and photography, building bikes and building computers and tooling around with his vintage Porsche. But his greatest joy was contributing in some way to people's personal growth."

Mr. Peiper was born in Carlisle, Pa., and was raised in New Cumberland, Pa., where he attended Redland High School. Later, he received a bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics and chemistry from Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.

He lived in California, Arizona and Alexandria, Va., before moving to Baltimore in 1991.

In 1982, he received a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. From 1983 to 1984 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Arizona State University in Tempe, and served as lay Episcopal chaplain there from 1984 to 1985. He then taught chemistry for a year at Northern Arizona University.

"One of the major things that drew him to the ministry was the webbing of the mystery between God and science," said his wife, whom he married in 1984.

In 1991, he received a master's degree in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary, and he was ordained a priest the next year in the Diocese of Maryland.

From 1991 to 1995, he served as an assistant rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson, and then was named rector of St. Christopher Episcopal Church in Linthicum Heights. For the past year, he had also been chaplain of St. Timothy's School in Stevenson.

He was a member of the Episcopal Diocesan Council and a board member of Pastoral Counseling Services of Maryland.

Mr. Peiper frequently played guitar and listened to classical and jazz music. He was also an Eagle Scout.

Services will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, St. Paul Street and University Parkway in Baltimore.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, John Samuel Peiper, and a daughter, Catherine Elizabeth Peiper, both of Towson; and a brother, Mark Peiper of New Cumberland, Pa.

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