Peter G. Wharton, an award-winning broadcast and broadband engineer who dazzled his guests with his culinary skills, died of cancer Aug. 9 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Chesapeake Beach and Washington resident was 64.
Kevin M. Joyce, founder and president of TAG Video Systems where Mr. Wharton worked for the last five years, was both a colleague and friend for 13 years.
“Peter just had a relentless passion and energy and a huge brain and a lot of vision. He could see things that others couldn’t see and he’d work toward that vision,” Mr. Joyce said.
“He was a unique combination of technology, was an extremely good communicator when it came to talking to people, and had excellent business skills,” he said. “He loved what he did and never really worked a day in his life.”
Peter Gansevoort Wharton, son of John Gill Wharton Sr., a commercial real estate lawyer, and Susan Pendleton Wharton, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Chattolanee Hill in Baltimore County.
Early in his childhood, Mr. Wharton demonstrated an interest in electrical pursuits by assembling Radio Shack hobby kits at the kitchen table, operating shortwave and CB radios and upgrading home and car stereo systems.
While he was a student at the Gilman School, he assisted with PA communications at school and motor cross events.
After graduating in 1977, he began studying at George Washington University and joined the school’s radio station.
“Peter and I were best friends, and he was my brother from another mother, as they say,” said Scott Kushner, founder and executive producer of New York-based advertising agency MediaPlace.
“We met the first day of college and we worked on the school’s radio station together. We both had a love for the same stuff,” Mr. Kushner said. “I was involved with content and producing and he was on the engineering and tech side.”
Mr. Wharton earned a bachelor’s degree in 1981 from George Washington and began his broadcast career at ABC News in Washington, where he was a member of the White House press pool working on its Sunday morning news shows.
From 1995 to 2000, he worked as an engineer at Fox News in Washington.
ABC colleagues noted that Mr. Wharton “always had a smarter, better, tech-savvier way to get things done.” “He always had time to share a new idea or how things worked,” said family members.
“He grew up on the client side at ABC and Fox and always believed the show must go on. If he was on a remote, let’s say in Cuba, and something didn’t work, he had the mindset to figure it out and made it work,” Mr. Joyce said. “There were deadlines to meet and you couldn’t keep [the late news anchor] Peter Jennings waiting. He’d take the wires and just figure it out.”
After leaving Fox News, Mr. Wharton designed state-of-the-art monitoring, transmission, intake and storage systems at several industry-leading firms as a provider of technical services to broadcasters.
Since 2019, he had been chief cloud and strategy officer at TAG Video Systems, based in Israel.
“Peter was brilliant and the way his mind looked at the world and technology which was, ‘How can I do or make it better,’” Mr. Kushner said. “He’d always say, ‘That’s a good idea, but have you considered this?’ His brain was always challenging me to keep looking from the other side of the looking glass. It was awesome, how his mind worked.”
“The reason we got along so well was that I let him do what he wanted to do,” Mr. Joyce said. “He couldn’t work for anybody, and could dance circles around the new tech generation.”
Mr. Wharton’s work led to an Emmy Award for broadcasting excellence, according to a family-submitted biographical profile.
He held leadership roles with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.
Earlier this month, he was notified he would be receiving an award at the group’s upcoming convention.
Mr. Wharton was a volunteer with the Founder’s Society and a member of the board at Gilman.
In 1990, he met and fell in love with Grey Hautalumona, a public affairs officer at NASA, and after Maryland recognized same-sex unions, married in 2013.
Mr. Wharton designed and built their home in Chesapeake Beach in Calvert County, where they shared a mutual love of Jack Russell terriers and Basenjis.
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They also enjoyed gardening around their wooded property and fine dining.
Their home, which overlooked the Chesapeake Bay, featured an expansive kitchen where they entertained family and friends.
“He was a gourmet cook, I’m not,” Mr. Wharton’s husband said, with a laugh. “He liked cooking and eating everything.”
He said Mr. Wharton was unconventional in the sense that he did not rely upon recipes and had the ability to look at ingredients and prepare an appropriate dinner using them.
Mr. Wharton was a fan of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and dancing.
Plans for a celebration-of-life gathering are incomplete.
In addition to his husband, Mr. Wharton is survived by two brothers, John G. Wharton Jr. of California, St. Mary’s County, and Robert L. Wharton of Littleton, Colorado; two stepsiblings, Michael Starr of Waipahu, Hawaii, and Zoe Starr of Boca Raton, Florida; two nephews; and a niece.