In Memory

Peter Andrew Sistrom, 1955-2021

Peter Andrew Sistrom, age 66, husband, father, attorney, outdoorsman, of Park Slope Brooklyn, died September 10, 2021, in Dundas, Ontario, Canada. An avid marathoner, he died while running.

Peter was born on February 23, 1955 in Berkeley, California to William R. Sistrom and Dorothy E. Sistrom. He inherited his probing intellect, sardonic humor, and abiding social conscience and liberal politics from them. He lived in Paris, France; Far Rockaway, New York; and Cambridge, Massachusetts; before the family settled in Eugene, Oregon. He grew up there until college and his heart always remained in Oregon. He was a rock climber and mountaineer, the peak being scaling Mt. McKinley as a high school senior in 1973. He graduated from Harvard College in 1978 with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. He moved to Portland, Oregon and became a music reviewer and journalist and eventually editor of Willamette Week where he met his first wife Susan Orlean. They divorced in 1999. He then attended law school at Northeastern in Boston. After a federal judge clerkship, he entered private practice in New York City in 1987 with Paul, Wiess, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison, specializing in intellectual copyright law. He then entered government service in 1992, first at the state level working as Assistant Counsel to then-Governor Mario Cuomo, launching and running the New York State Capital Defender’s Office for a decade, and ascending to Assistant Attorney General in 2005. In 2008, he joined the Manhattan Transit Authority’s counsel’s office, becoming Deputy General Counsel in 2014.

Sistrom’s greatest achievement, however, was as a husband to Leanne Burney whom he married in 2001, and as a father to William Burney Sistrom, 20, currently a junior at the University of Toronto; Brant Burney Sistrom, 18, who recently started college to study engineering at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia; and Timbit the schnoodle. Peter is also survived by his older brother Christopher Sistrom and his wife Brenda, of Gainesville, Florida; Chris’s son and Peter’s namesake Peter. G. Sistrom of Eugene, Oregon; his younger sister Anne Erwin, husband Tom, their three children Kate, Bobby, Kerry and four grandchildren, of Portland, Oregon, and his younger brother Michael and his wife Mig, of Durham, North Carolina. Peter was a devoted uncle and looked forward to seeing the nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces and the rest of his American family in Oregon soon, as well as exploring old hiking and climbing haunts, the best local, off-the beaten track diner, and esoteric local landmarks. Peter is predeceased by his parents and aunt Kay Magee.

Peter was also fortunate to have gained a large and loving Canadian family through Leanne, especially her parents Ruth and Don Burney, of Dundas, Ontario and sisters Megan and Tricia. Ever the cultural sponge, Peter became an adopted Canadian and hockey enthusiast. Leanne, Peter, and the boys spent every August at the family cottage in Parry Sound, Georgian Bay.He would have continued to explore, learn, enjoy his family and friends and make them laugh or groan at his jokes, and recruit them for the next adventure, in retirement. We should all do the same in his memory.