Peter C. McGowan died on March 30 surrounded by family at the home of his sister Katie in Ocean Pines, Md., after being recently diagnosed with Prion Disease (CJD sporadic). He was 56.

Peter graduated from the Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island and received his bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College in Virginia. After college, he spent many years living and working in Colorado skiing in the winter and spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard enjoying all things water related. He and his friends coined their lifestyle back in those early days The Pro Leisure Tour, and according to his posse of adoring friends, he led this group on many spirited and wild adventures over the years.

Always having had an interest in photography, Peter went back to school to study it more formally and then embarked on a successful career in the mid 1990s as a freelance advertising and editorial sports, marine, yachting and outdoor action photographer. Known for having a good eye and being able to capture a unique point of view, Peter’s photos were always distinct and innovative. One friend described his work best: “The best sailors in the world were stoked to see him because they knew they were going to be in a funky, wavy, bubbly shot in a magazine.”

Sweet Pete, as he was often referred to by his large group of friends, was a larger-than-life personality in many circles. He was known far and wide as an enigmatic, persuasive, adventurous and oftentimes charmingly infuriating friend who liked to be known as the disruptor. Peter was never afraid to try new things and always wanted to bring others along for the ride. One of the unique things about Peter was his willingness and excitement to share his experiences and interests with those around him, especially the next generation. Many benefited from his ability to inspire them to love the ocean and other fun activities through his mentorship. He was fearless in his pursuit of his life’s passions, photography, a love of the outdoors on the water and above all else, his absolute adoration and pride in being Phoebe’s father.

Peter’s motto in life was to play more and work less and he was able to successfully blend the two together and always make life an adventure for himself and those fortunate enough to be around him.

He is survived by his parents Kathleen and Charles McGowan of Mattapoisett and Venice, Fla.; daughter Phoebe Sheehan of Loudonville, N.Y.; four sisters, Kathleen McGowan Emche of Ocean Pines, Md., Marya McGowan of Alexandria, Va.; Kerry McGowan McNulty of Duxbury, and Betsy McGowan Friedman of Barrington, R.I.; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and cousins.

A funeral mass will be held on June 22 at 11 a.m. at St Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett with a celebration of life to follow.

Donations can be made to: