Chronicle Fall Winter 2020 Cover

From the Peddie Chronicle.

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From the Peddie Chronicle Fall/Winter 2018 issue

Lisa Durkee

Chaplain and chair of the religion and philosophy department at Blair Academy

Lisa Durkee Blair

Lisa Durkee is the first cousin of Peddie Headmaster Ed Potter.

Family connection

Lisa is the first cousin of Peddie’s thirteenth headmaster, Ed Potter. Growing up Lisa spent time with her cousin “Eddie” during summers in Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Maine.

Ed Potter’s influence

Lisa recalled one Easter holiday she spent with Headmaster Potter when she was an undergrad at Wellesley.

Lisa: I remember Ed telling me that I’d be a great triple threat as a teacher, coach and dorm parent, especially because I was a high school and college athlete. When I interviewed at Blair in 2017, I thought of Ed the whole time. I called his brother, John, and said, “You’ll never guess where I had an interview.” … Ed and his brother were two strong models of my generation who really shaped who I became as an adult and educator.

On the loss of Ed Potter, who died suddenly in 1988 at the age of 45

Lisa: He was so dynamic — larger than life. He loved people, and his joy day-to-day was so authentic and infectious. To say he was a people person is a gross understatement. He connected to people and genuinely loved to hear their stories. He was always beaming. I can remember the last time I saw him at Vinalhaven and the smile on his face. … Our family was always very musical, and Ed could play the piano by ear. I have many fond memories of us all standing around the piano as he or his dad played, with everyone breaking into four-part harmony.

What it’s like as a Blair faculty member to have a Peddie connection

Lisa: It has been fun to come to Blair and find all of these connections to my family and Ed’s legacy at Peddie. When I was young, the only time I ever heard of Blair, despite growing up in New Jersey, was in the context of it being Peddie’s rival. … Going to Peddie Day last year made me wistful, and I asked a lot of people I met there, “Did you know him?”